CAS junior Patricia Lehman attended an intermediate Italian class on Monday wearing baggy, light gray sweatpants. They bore the name of her hometown, Lawndale, in large, chunky letters running down the left leg. This was unusual for Lehman, who normally polishes off her outfits with a piece of accent jewelry and matching manicured nails.
“I was really tired and a bit sick, so I just decided to stay in the pants I slept in,” Lehman said. “They’re pretty ugly.”
Usually, students who don’t dress stylishly for class are glared at or shunned. A baggy t-shirt just screams, “Please don’t talk to me. I’m not worthy of your conversation.”
It is a well-known fact that only students with a bare minimum of edgy business casual are accepted by their classmates. Dressing down any more reflects poorly on NYU as an institution.
When Lehman entered class, however, she was surprised to receive no negative attention.
“Everyone basically just kept doing what they were doing,” Lehman said. “No one paid attention to my pants. My friend treated me the same as she normally does. It was pretty unexpected.”
A classmate of Lehman, CAS sophomore Ricardo Smith, barely recalls the event.
“It felt just like a normal class,” Smith said. “I saw Patricia’s pants, but I didn’t care about them. I figured that she probably didn’t feel well and might have struggled to make it to class. I hope she’s feeling better.”
Lehman took a three-hour nap after class, and woke up still feeling groggy. She drank some tea, but its calming effects were mediated by the stress of assignments she had to do while she wasn’t feeling well.
“I feel a bit overwhelmed, but I’m glad I wore comfortable pants to class,” Lehman said. “Being sick is uncomfortable enough as it is. I am so happy my classmates were so understanding about the pants. They’re so forgiving, but I won’t push my luck. I’ll reserve the comfy pants for days when I feel especially awful.”
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