Pants Keep You Safe

Life as Donloree is always an adventure and I would be remiss in not sharing my latest ‘Very Donloree-esque Fiasco‘ with you.

  • Consider it an early Christmas present.

I have yet to figure out why and how so many crazy things happen to me. It doesn’t usually bother me, after all, I am always up for trying something new, but there are moments when being unique, quirky and adventuresome can create slightly ridiculous situations . . .and I have no idea what to do other than laugh at myself and share the ridiculousness because we all need to laugh more often.

be bold


Small problem. Teeny problem.

Adventure finds me even when I am not looking for it which means I usually find myself at the mercy of the latest crazy event rather than leading the charge.

My work revolves around wearing cute dresses, suits and fabulous heels while sitting at boardroom tables and figuring out how to make strategic plans happen through people.

  • You betcha – I work and consult in Human Resources.

Recently I moved to a new industry, one I knew nothing about — structural steel fabrication. I knew things were going to be different when I received a hard hat and safety glasses along with my laptop during my first day in the office.

Do you know there is no such thing as steel toed high heels? Seems a bit odd to me; I mean, how is a woman supposed to coordinate her outfits and not look ridiculous while traipsing through construction sites? (*Read with sarcasm*)

Unluckily for me, ‘Ridiculous‘ seems to be my middle name.

My first construction site tour was quite the learning experience. I was feeling both competent and confident with my new steel toed boots over one arm and my hard hat, safety glasses and borrowed safety vest in the other. I was prepared to pop on my boots, throw my other gear on and walk around an innovative build in the heart of downtown Edmonton and learn more about the construction process.

Sitting around the boardroom table with my gear on while listening to the safety instructions for the tour, I was distracted by a comment thrown my direction from the woman running the event.

Woman running the eventI sure wish I had sweat pants for you.
DonloreeWhy? Do I look cold in my dress?
Woman running the eventNo, but if only I had pants for you.
DonloreeWhy do I need pants? Is this a dress-free zone?
Woman running the eventNo, but the construction site is. It is a safety requirement to wear pants.
DonloreeReally? I need pants to walk around in my steel toed boots? 
Woman running the eventYes. You have to wear pants or we can’t let you on the tour.
DonloreeSo I am not going on the tour because I am wearing a dress? Really? Pants are safer than a dress?

The “make sure you bring these things” email didn’t say anything about dresses being banned; I brought all the required CSA safety gear, in fact this was the debut of the brown and blue steel toed boots that are now part of my work wardrobe.

Woman running the eventI wish I had better news for you.

My brow crumpled and I went back to distractedly listening to the instructions on what to do in case of a fire or bomb scare while on the tour. Without warning, one of the men in a white hard hat jumped up from the table and ran out of the boardroom and came back just as I was affixing the decal which stated I was trained on the safety protocol for the site to my hard hat.

Here was a man used to solving problems — he found some pants.

  • Spare pants.

Not just any pants but his personal spare pants in case of a pants emergency on the job site, which brought me firmly into emergent status.

Twenty people looked at my expectantly as the jeans were offered to me along with a huge, satisfied grin.

What’s a woman to do?

Reaching out, I tentatively took the pair of jeans and wondered if the floor could swallow me whole.

Man with the pantsYou can put them on in the small boardroom down the hall, we will wait.
DonloreeSure? Ok. I will be quick …

There is nothing quite like huddling in the corner of a boardroom full of windows without blinds on the 20th floor of an office tower downtown while pulling on a strange man’s spare, emergent pants over your tights to make you feel vulnerable and ridiculous.

I am a 5’8″ tall woman; even so the owner of the spare pants and I were nowhere close to being the same size. The pants did not come with a belt and I wasn’t about to ask for one.

Grabbing a handful of waistband and dress, I hitched up the pants and took a deep breath as I exited the boardroom.

True to their word, everyone was in the hall expectantly waiting for me.

I found myself standing next to the man who came to my rescue, looking up I made a comment which only made things worse; something I am unfortunately very adept at doing.

Uh…thanks for the pants. I am Donloree. I feel like I should be properly introduced to you since I am wearing your pants and all.

The comments from the 19 other men in the hallway were less than appropriate after I learned his name was Tanner; I found myself wishing once again that the floor could swallow me whole. And I felt bad for Tanner’s wife as she was brought into the conversation without her permission.

Head held high and cheeks bright red, I walked forward while holding onto Tanner’s pants for dear life.

  • Do you have any idea how unsafe it is to wear pants 3 sizes too big under a dress and over tights while traipsing through a construction site?  

And hot?

Let me be crystal clear, not sexy hot, heat hot. I started to pour sweat as we learned about the custom staircase, the requirements to keep the existing trees as part of the build and how all the unique specifications were addressed throughout the design.

I hid in the back row and wiped the sweat off my brow during the group picture at the end of the tour, there was no need to have an official record of my latest moment of complete ridiculousness.

I wore pants to the next event I went to that was hosted by this group, even though it was a dinner. I suppose I am one of those people who just doesn’t like to have the same ridiculous adventure twice.

  • Consider this a Public Service Announcement for all women – bring pants everywhere you go, they keep you safe.

What woman doesn’t want to be safe?