Violations, Dress Code & Otherwise

 

I am the sort of employee who prepares for work each morning by suiting up in camouflage. I am not talking about the dusty, pixelated stuff you see in TV Afghanistan. No, my camo consists primarily of baggy, conservative suits that blend in with the government-issued paint colors of my office, paired with square-toed Mary Janes that give me the appearance of cankles. The costume essentially transforms me into a faceless, overweight toddler and, for a civilian woman working for the Department of Defense, accomplishes the important task of disguising the presence of my vagina.

That is why for me, the Pentagon’s lunchtime yoga class is the last place on earth I would ever want to be. The class is packed neatly at right angles with "high and tights," overactive pituitary glands, and tiny shorts known as “Ranger panties.” The students are less interested in increased flexibility or the ability to transcend the mind, and more focused on instructor Kimmee, with her molasses-covered Mississippi drawl, cascading caramel highlights, and balloon-sized breasts. Kimmee and her breasts are “special friends” of RADM Chuck “Groper” Tittsley in the Pentagon’s Office of Workforce Dominance. Rear Admiral Tittsley, essentially the military’s director of HR, strongly recommends all service members interested in promotion regularly take Kimmee’s class. And then “carry on, smartly.”

Similarly, I was voluntold to take Kimmee’s class by my boss, a barnacled former submariner, who is being considered for a transfer to California. CAPT J.P. Jones Kincaid, who recently traded in his whiskey neat for wheat grass cleanses when he started dating a free spirit named Crystal Rainbow last year, plans to teach a class on 21st Century American Military Strategy at Humboldt State while she rejoins the chia yogurt commune. With his promotion hearing tomorrow, and my desire to protect my desk from yet another encounter with Crystal Rainbow’s lotus flower ass tattoo, I go to class. 

I enter the yoga room early in hope that I can find a space safely in the back. Forgetting the military adage that if you are not five minutes early, you are 10 minutes late, I fill the last spot in the far corner of the back row. In the mirror I adjust the sleek lycra tank top and tights that are tucked safely underneath my older brother’s high school wrestling sweatsuit. I am quite pleased with myself – the sweats match almost perfectly with the rubber gym floor, exactly as I anticipated. Next to my reflection, I see my boss has wedged his mat snugly next to RADM Tittsley’s, as they and the rest of the class guffaw loudly, spit while speaking, and adjust their penises. Thankfully, no one notices Deerfield High’s newest lightweight in the corner.

Kimmee begins class with a syrupy Southern rendition of the chant of OM with her palms tucked deeply in her balloon cleavage. As my colleagues respond, I find myself charmed by the harmonious buzz of the voices around me. Perhaps I got it all wrong?

My newfound surprise for the apparent spiritual nature of my colleagues, coupled with the central heat roaring directly on my face from the vent above, makes my decision for double layers appear slightly gratuitous. You’re being silly. So in between poses, I slip out of my sweats and return to seated on my mat.

As I stretch forward in between my legs, which are opened to the far edges of my mat, I am unaware of Kimmee’s presence behind me until she squats and places her hands on my inner thighs. “See how she is spiraling her thighs outward,” Kimmee runs her manicured nails on either side of my groin. The class stops. “She can get so much deeper into this,” she explains as she mounts my back from behind placing both knees on my thighs, pushing my body forward. Her balloons are resting on each of my ears, but I can still hear the airman next to me adjusting himself in his Ranger panties. Someone coughs. A camera phone clicks.

My first amateur video debuts on the Pentagon’s server before I even return to my desk. The next afternoon, my boss and Crystal Rainbow receive orders to the West Coast and the following week, my promotion to replace him is announced. Who said the government is inefficient?

I have not returned to Kimmee’s class since. But I have traded in my Mary Janes for heels. Uncle Sam prefers it that way.