Discrimination against the popped-of-collar

By Michael Ferrera

Think about some words you associate with Macalester. Here’s a sample of the ones I think of: smart, wonderful, cold, Minnesota, kilts, Terry Gorman, and acceptance. These seem like some pretty apt descriptions, don’t they? Perfect descriptions, one might even say. Well, if your list looks like mine, you might be horribly, horribly wrong. Why so disgustingly wrong?
Macalester would like to think that all types of people are welcome in its community, what with the fact that it eschews any sort of attention it receives as a result of college rankings. We don’t have any sort of elitism here, nor do we want to attract those East Coasters with their Burberry and Banana Republic. Can you imagine seeing a link on the Macalester homepage telling someone to check out Macalester’s rankings in some pseudo-important lists that will supposedly tell you what’s right for you? Well, I for one cannot. And besides, Macalester is need blind and therefore unconcerned with the incomes of its students.
However, I would like to bring to your attention a disheartening and disturbing form of discrimination that is rampant on the Macalester campus; discrimination against the popped-of-collar. Listen, I know how you’re feeling right now, and I know it doesn’t seem possible that anyone would want to discriminate against the popped-of-collar, but some bastards do.

Like any good college student, I was sitting in my room avoiding my essay entitled “U.S. Non-Proliferation Policy in South Asia: Why It Failed and What It Means for the Future,” when I decided to check out Facebook. After looking at numerous profiles of people I have never met and people I will never speak to, I came across a very disturbing group entitled “Unpop That Freaken’ [sic] Collar”, which had no less than 16 members, one of whom was a former floormate of mine. Shock and awe. At this college, no one group should be singled out and discriminated against, even if they are a small minority like the popped-of-collar.

So this is what I have decided: I will try to single-handedly end this discrimination, by standing tall with my popped brethren, despite their minority status within the community. I want to create a NAAPC if you will, the National Association for the Advancement of Popped Collars. Was it not John Stuart Mill who was terrified of the tyranny of the majority? Should we not be concerned that this underrepresented minority be protected? Should the MCSG President not have a liaison to Popped Collar relations? Seeing that despicable Facebook group has prompted me to pop my collar despite any heckling or collarism I might experience to show my support for the habitually cold-neckèd.

While popped, someone may walk up to me, with his shaggy curly hair, wearing ripped jeans, a t-shirt from a thrift store, and Birkenstocks (if it’s cold, Converse Chuck Taylors) and this gentleman may say to me, “Don’t be a conformist frat boy, put that collar down, fool.” Under normal circumstances I might agree with this man. If I were in fact a frat boy, I would probably look much like my frat brothers who are all wearing polo shirts which span the colors of the rainbow and all of them would be popped. Under those circumstances, a popped collar may very well scream conformity…or insecurity about one’s neck hair. However, as we have our discussion, 13 other men (no, boys) with shaggy hair, ripped jeans, thrift store t-shirts and Birkenstocks will walk by. As each does, I will point them out to my friend. Undoubtedly he will realize his error and apologize profusely to me for his tyranny.

And besides, it took me ten minutes to walk into the Gap, pick out a shirt I liked, try it on, and buy it. Thrifting is hard business. You have to go to numerous thrift stores and search through countless bins to find that one perfect shirt. It might be a local Little League team’s uniform, or a staff shirt from an awful job that you would never take. Then people will walk up to you and ask if you played for said Little League team, or if you actually had that awful job. You will say no. And they will laugh. Heartily. On the other hand, someone will walk up to me and comment me on my excellent fashion sense because it just so happens that that very Gap shirt I bought goes well with my complexion and “really brings out” my eyes. And as if that weren’t enough, the pop of my collar really accentuates my shoulders. In the end, I win.

So, Community Macalester, I implore you. End this discrimination against the popped-of-collar. They may actually be the only rebels left on the campus. I propose a campus-wide popped collar day on October 2nd. Show off your pride, and pop that collar.