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PAUL rOGER

Required Evening Attire

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This is the first cruise" Harmony of The Seas" out of 19 that I have been disappointed in the casualness of evening attire ion the Main Dining Room. My wife and I always dress for dinner whether it be Cruise Casual,  Casual or Formal nights.  We had a table for 6 since we like to meet new people, no shows for all 7 nights, just the 2 of us. It's surprised us as how people came to dinner dressed, everything from short, torn jeans, etc. I suppose people say I paid for this cruise and you can't tell me how to dress for dinner, I get that. Then go to the Windjammer. Here,s is a better idea for the cruise lines, as a seating option for dinner, say DRESS UP SECTION suggested evening attire. Set up a group of tables  away from the rest of the horde that will comply with the dress code for the night and let it be random seating, seating for 2 or take a table of 6 or eight and let your dinner partners be a surprise. Our last cruise with our extended family 16 was in 2016 on the  Brilliance of the Seas and it wasn't a problem following the suggested evening attire. Anyway I am old school and if people want to dress casual and sloppy, that's up to them. But give veteran cruisers a chance to have a dinner that reflects what cruising use to be like.

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I thought I had seen somewhere that Royal was reversing their decision of slacking off on the attire for the MDR and was going to be brining back the "old" rules.....it was something posted on CC about it but haven't seen anything since.

 

I am kinda on the fence about this one.....I understand that the MDR is a little classier area and traditionally people always dressed up for it. That being said, I am one of those people who hates wearing long pants and socks and shoes just to go eat a meal. That being said, I did comply anytime I was going to the MDR.

 

I think perhaps Royal is letting the MDR slide in all areas as they push and encourage you to pay for your meals by going to the specialty restaurants where people do still dress up and it is more an of event and a status thing to say your going to the  "X" for a special meal.

 

As for not showing up at the MDR...I think for the last 2 cruises I haven't made it once to the table for a meal...so whoever else was there may have been eating along for the cruise or a smaller group that expected.

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I'll simply say the fault lays with RC for not enforcing the rules more effectively.  Say what you will about people's fashion choices, at the end of the day, I think it's up to RC to set the tone for what is and what is not acceptable dress in the MDR.

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1 hour ago, PAUL rOGER said:

This is the first cruise" Harmony of The Seas" out of 19 that I have been disappointed in the casualness of evening attire ion the Main Dining Room. My wife and I always dress for dinner whether it be Cruise Casual,  Casual or Formal nights.  We had a table for 6 since we like to meet new people, no shows for all 7 nights, just the 2 of us. It's surprised us as how people came to dinner dressed, everything from short, torn jeans, etc. I suppose people say I paid for this cruise and you can't tell me how to dress for dinner, I get that. Then go to the Windjammer. Here,s is a better idea for the cruise lines, as a seating option for dinner, say DRESS UP SECTION suggested evening attire. Set up a group of tables  away from the rest of the horde that will comply with the dress code for the night and let it be random seating, seating for 2 or take a table of 6 or eight and let your dinner partners be a surprise. Our last cruise with our extended family 16 was in 2016 on the  Brilliance of the Seas and it wasn't a problem following the suggested evening attire. Anyway I am old school and if people want to dress casual and sloppy, that's up to them. But give veteran cruisers a chance to have a dinner that reflects what cruising use to be like.

Segregation wow, I guess you are old school. That’s not a cruise I would like to be a part of. 

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2 hours ago, PAUL rOGER said:

This is the first cruise" Harmony of The Seas" out of 19 that I have been disappointed in the casualness of evening attire ion the Main Dining Room. My wife and I always dress for dinner whether it be Cruise Casual,  Casual or Formal nights.  We had a table for 6 since we like to meet new people, no shows for all 7 nights, just the 2 of us. It's surprised us as how people came to dinner dressed, everything from short, torn jeans, etc. I suppose people say I paid for this cruise and you can't tell me how to dress for dinner, I get that. Then go to the Windjammer. Here,s is a better idea for the cruise lines, as a seating option for dinner, say DRESS UP SECTION suggested evening attire. Set up a group of tables  away from the rest of the horde that will comply with the dress code for the night and let it be random seating, seating for 2 or take a table of 6 or eight and let your dinner partners be a surprise. Our last cruise with our extended family 16 was in 2016 on the  Brilliance of the Seas and it wasn't a problem following the suggested evening attire. Anyway I am old school and if people want to dress casual and sloppy, that's up to them. But give veteran cruisers a chance to have a dinner that reflects what cruising use to be like.

I'm in NO way disagreeing with you as you are entited to your opinion, as i stated in a post yesterday it's RC that makes the rules not the guests and as you yourself mentioned it's a suggested dress code not compulsory , HOWEVER you must realise that times change, you wont get a cruise like you used to nowadays! the days of the Love Boat style cruise are gone,  not because of the passengers but because of RC. Cruising used to be about doing very little except sit outside in the sun and read, then get dressed up to the nines for evening meals.

RC and all other cruiselines have made cruising more open for less affluent families meaning it's not just the snobs who get to cruise now. This means familes with children , young couples on honeymoon or family groups who are celebrating a special occasion can experience visiting new places that previously were maybe outwith their budget,  Cruiseline companies have realised that their Love Boat style guest will in time vanish, so they have been opened up to a new breed of cruiser because it's a business and they need to make money. By doing this they have had to change how ships are to keep these new cruisers coming back,  that  means ships have had to change to accomadate these HORDES ( your words) , Waterslides, Broadway shows, ice rinks to name a few have been included to cater for these new cruisers ( who may be teachers, nurses or even doctors).  would you want all of these attractions introduced removed as well, to return to the good old days of cruising? 

We should never judge a book by it's cover, like wise we should never judge someone by how they dress

 

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Getting ready for our "test cruise" on MSC next month and it has had me thinking about this topic.

Their pre-cruise literature definitely stresses the dress code and I have found myself looking forward to dressing up a bit ... hoping they do enforce it but we shall see whether they do and whether it makes any difference to the cruise experience.

I recall dressing up and feeling like it was an event to go to dinner the first few cruises but a lot of the time we don't even bother anymore ... the MDR food isn't any different than the buffet, the service is about the same as the buffet and the dress code is the same so why not do the buffet if/when we are ready rather than the sit down dinner just to say we did.

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I was on Harmony in March and also thought it was the most casual cruise we've been on...especially the couple in a Phillies shirt and shorts on Formal nights. As this is the most expensive cruise we've ever taken, I was a bit surprised. I think it is the way RC labels the dress code. There were 2 formal nights and the other nights were labeled as "Casual". 

If you were off a ship and someone said the dress for dinner was "Casual" wouldn't you think it was nice shorts or jeans, polo shirt or button down shirt for men, etc. We routinely go to expensive restaurants where people dress like this on land so why wouldn't they on a cruise ship. Even RC doesn't suggest Smart Casual any nights so I can't blame the people for not dressing up to a smart casual look.  

To me, I think the way of the world is changing. As a society we have become more casual whether at work, church or on a cruise ship. Now do people take it too far...absolutely... take the baseball shirts on formal nights.

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18 minutes ago, melski94 said:

To me, I think the way of the world is changing

Living at the beach as we do, in a resort area, NOBODY dresses up to go to dinner. I think I"m usually the most dressed!  Beautiful restaurants and shorts and tank tops. Men don't even remove their baseball hats which drives me crazy!  I no longer can wear heels so a complete formal with gown is out for me but there should be respect for the dining venue.  On the other side of the coin, the way people dress is not going to make me have less of a great time, to each their own.

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I can understand where you are coming from with the dress code.  We haven't been on a cruise since our honeymoon (21 yrs ago!), so my memories from cruising are that you got dressed up for dinner.  Although that seems to have changed, I don't really mind or care much.  We are heading out on a cruise this summer and I will dress how I want to dress.  I am looking forward to getting a little dressier on some nights, if others don't, that's fine, what they do doesn't affect me or my experiences.  For me it's all about perspective and creating your own experiences.  

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I dress every day for work and frankly look forward to not having to on vacation.  My husband is a retired truck driver and would dress up only if absolutely compelled to do so.  That having been said,  we wear clean presentable clothes at all times.  He will wear a nice polo or button down shirt with a nice pair of jeans (hates dockers and won't wear them) and me, a nice pair of capris with an appropriate top.  That's as dressed up as we care to get on vacation.  I won't go to the MDR for formal night as we choose not to get dressed in what I feel is appropriate for that night.  BUT I will most certainly dress as stated in the MDR on other nights.  I don't feel I should be relegated to the Windjammer buffet because I don't get more dressed up than that.  Sorry but that's my opinion.

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28 minutes ago, Pooch said:

He will wear a nice polo or button down shirt with a nice pair of jeans (hates dockers and won't wear them) and me, a nice pair of capris with an appropriate top.  That's as dressed up as we care to get on vacation.

@Pooch, I don't think anyone here would claim that this is inappropriate for the MDR on the non-formal nights. Where most of us who have a complaint tend to draw the line is wearing shorts in the MDR, or a ripped t-shirt, or muscle shirt. I certainly think what you described is perfectly fine and better than I saw several wearing on the "smart casual" nights, where they tended much more to "casual".

32 minutes ago, Pooch said:

That having been said,  we wear clean presentable clothes at all times.

I think this is the key phrase, and where maybe most of us find ourselves getting riled up -- what exactly is "presentable"? I think it comes down to what you were taught and learned over the years; for me, that was to find out the decor of where you're eating dinner and you base your clothing decision off of that, plus the formality of whatever event is there. The MDR, in my view, is decorated and styled to look like a nice, semi-upscale restaurant. So I at least wear long pants and a button-down or polo shirt, as I feel like that's what's appropriate; more if I know the wait staff are themselves in suits and white gloves, but generally not less.

But not everyone feels that way, and if part of that "not everyone" is Royal themselves, so that they aren't going to enforce the expectations they outline in the Cruise Compass each night... well, I have to learn to suck it up, I guess.

I'll be the first to admit that I'm old-fashioned. Heck, when my older daughter had her first date with her boyfriend, the guy scored serious bonus points with me for coming to the door to pick her up and say hello / introduce himself to my wife and me, instead of just pulling into the driveway and texting her he was there so she could run out. She told him as much afterward, so of course he now comes to the door every time, but that first time without prompting was genuinely appreciated. I've let the claymore in the rack by the door dull a little bit since then. 😉

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On 4/26/2018 at 3:25 PM, melski94 said:

I was on Harmony in March and also thought it was the most casual cruise we've been on...especially the couple in a Phillies shirt and shorts on Formal nights. As this is the most expensive cruise we've ever taken, I was a bit surprised. I think it is the way RC labels the dress code. There were 2 formal nights and the other nights were labeled as "Casual". 

If you were off a ship and someone said the dress for dinner was "Casual" wouldn't you think it was nice shorts or jeans, polo shirt or button down shirt for men, etc. We routinely go to expensive restaurants where people dress like this on land so why wouldn't they on a cruise ship. Even RC doesn't suggest Smart Casual any nights so I can't blame the people for not dressing up to a smart casual look.  

To me, I think the way of the world is changing. As a society we have become more casual whether at work, church or on a cruise ship. Now do people take it too far...absolutely... take the baseball shirts on formal nights.

Your absolutely right. I've been in many formal restaurants where jeans and shorts are worn. Most of the power steak houses, where I have gone I see both the business dress and the dress down attire, and I have dressed both ways myself. It's really no big deal anymore. Look at how people use to dress when flying, it was a formal affair. No more. 

With the cruise ships having more entertainment activities, such as rock climbing, ice skating, etc. who wants to do a day of those activities, than go down and get all dressed up. Things do change..

 

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For me its not so much the casualness of the dress but the fact that the cruise lines seem to have joined into a vicious circle on ... oh so you guys don't want to get dressed up and "fancy" ... then we can cut back on the service level and food quality to match. So we seem to have spiraled down to the point that frankly the MDR feels not much different than Chili's (and I like Chili's but recognize what I am expecting and paying for when I got there).

When we started cruising it was an event to go to the MDR each night, we got dressed up, we spent the time, we had great experiences with the wait staff and enjoyed great food. Now its just head down in whatever you want to wear, the wait staff is stretched beyond breaking point and the food is nothing special.

I am sure the dress code and the service level and the food quality have nothing to do with each other (the first one driven by passenger choice, the other two by profit boosting) but I am curious whether the more "formal" approach at MSC is paired with a more traditional level of service and experience. If so, I look forward to it ... if i'm getting dressed up for Chili's though then the buffet will be calling !

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1 hour ago, jticarruthers said:

So we seem to have spiraled down to the point that frankly the MDR feels not much different than Chili's (and I like Chili's but recognize what I am expecting and paying for when I got there).

Full disclosure -- I've only been on one cruise so far, and that just a few weeks ago. But even so...

I don't get why I keep seeing this statement and others like it. My family and I all loved the food in the MDR, and in the course of our 8-night trip we each had maybe one item that we didn't care for / didn't like how it was prepared. Not at all equivalent to a Chili's (and God knows we've eaten there and similar establishments enough for me to judge) or any other casual dining restaurant we've frequented. The MDR was easily two notches better, if not more, and I wouldn't hesitate to say that we enjoyed good quality gourmet dining every night.

Maybe I got lucky with the ship I was on (Freedom, not a small ship by any measure but certainly no O or Q class)? Or maybe it was because I was in the later traditional dining slot instead of MTD, so the kitchen and staff weren't as crazed?

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I don't know but I am an avid Disney fan and go down there a couple of times a year.  And everyone complains about how the Dining Plan as been the ruination of food at WDW.  I get great food every time I go.  Have I had a bad meal?   Yes, but the vast majority of the meals have been delicious.  Maybe I'm just not that fussy?  Kinda sounds like the same thing here.  

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Food is really, really subjective.  And we have gone off track from original post lol...

That being said, I first set foot in the MDR of a RC ship in 2002 and, no doubt in my mind, there has been a definite decline in both the quality and variety of food in the MDR over the years.  Is it terrible?  No.  Has it changed for the better? Probably not.  Am I excited to go to the MDR like I use to be?  No.

Full disclosure too - the last time I set foot in the MDR was 2016.  One of the reasons we started booking suites is due to the decline in the MDR.  There is a distinct difference between MDR and Coastal Kitchen.  I'm not sure we can blame it on Oasis or Quantum class ships being too large etc.  When I read the live blogs and follow FB groups on RC dining, I still pay close attention to the MDR menu and pics.  It is not how it use to be on any ship.  But things change, times change.  Ultimately, if it works for you, that's great, then continue.  If not, then time to move on.  Same with the dress code or lack of one.

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6 hours ago, JLMoran said:

Full disclosure -- I've only been on one cruise so far, and that just a few weeks ago. But even so...

I don't get why I keep seeing this statement and others like it. My family and I all loved the food in the MDR, and in the course of our 8-night trip we each had maybe one item that we didn't care for / didn't like how it was prepared. Not at all equivalent to a Chili's (and God knows we've eaten there and similar establishments enough for me to judge) or any other casual dining restaurant we've frequented. The MDR was easily two notches better, if not more, and I wouldn't hesitate to say that we enjoyed good quality gourmet dining every night.

Maybe I got lucky with the ship I was on (Freedom, not a small ship by any measure but certainly no O or Q class)? Or maybe it was because I was in the later traditional dining slot instead of MTD, so the kitchen and staff weren't as crazed?

My cruise history only goes back 10 years so when I talk about "when I started cruising" we aren't talking in the days of the Titanic ;) , but when I think back to MDR 10 years ago it is night and day from today.

Recognizing that every ship is different, every cruise is different, even people on the same ship on the same cruise have different experiences, it's hard to make sweeping statements but it just "feels different".

Some ideas/thoughts on what I might be trying to capture ...

In our early cruises we would see the regular waiter and the assistant waiter throughout the meal ... one or the other was usually at the table AT ALL TIMES. IE if you had a problem there was one standing there waiting and instantly responding. Today it feels like they are running from table to table and your lucky to catch one as he flys by. Used to be the bread basket (my son is a bread fiend) came by 3-4 times while we were settling, ordering, waiting for food... now ... one pass at it with a limited selection. At one time, I never managed to empty my glass (be it water, iced tea or beer) ... somehow the damn thing would refill itself while I wasnt looking ... Now ... I bring a drink with me and count myself lucky if a refill is offered and even luckier if it arrives. Deal breaker - nope, but a different level of experience.

The head waiter came by and spent some time with us at every meal ... as in a few minutes of conversation every night ... nowadays I only see the headwaiter for the "if everything was great give us 10's speech". I remember one of my tablemates discussing for example the quadruple espresso that he was trying to order and the head waiter coming by the next night to joke about him not having a heart attack afterwards. Another time we spent the whole cruise talking about his experiences with providing for his family in India, etc.

Bar service - Early on it was not uncommon to have servers come around 2-3 times each night to check on beverages and offer fresh drinks if desired. I have literally gone whole cruises without being offered a drink in the MDR now. Last time out on Freedom the bar server typically got to us around the time desert was hitting the table ... so between myself, my brother and my uncle we just took all of the drink cards and hit the champagne bar on the promenade 2-3 times ourselves instead. End of the world - nope we got drinks, different level of experience - heck yes.

Was the service bad on any of my cruises - no absolutely not, but the service was a lot better on the earlier ones (regardless of ship size or cruise line) than it has been on the more recent ones. I honestly think that is more on the cruise lines across the board pushing "efficiency" and trying to maximize the tables served by each service person than anything else.

 

Food quality is really even harder to try and quantify. I would say cuts of meat not quite as good and a little smaller is really the only thing I could try and point at and say "there, see that its different". I am kind of an omnivore, eat it all and don't really know the difference though so maybe others have thoughts on that side. On the "others have experienced" hand I can share observations from my tablemates.

For example, early cruises .. any form of complaint resulted in an abject apology from the waiter, the offending dish being whisked away and a replacement appearing ASAP. Clearly recall tablemates complaining about a steak being either under or over done for example and the waiter racing away to replace it while the head waiter appeared to make sure everyone was OK and that we would all survive this debacle.

On one of my more recent cruises a tablemate had the misfortune to discover a hair in her meal, she politely called over a waiter and explained the situation ... the dish disappeared, no problem. A few minutes later the chef rolled up to the table along with the waiter to berate (not explain, berate) her that the dish she had sent back did not have a hair on it but was clearly a thread/root of some kind and should not have been sent back. No replacement dish, just an ass chewing for complaining.

Another recent cruise, tablemate ordered a steak well done. She's an odd one for sure but so be it. Steak comes out somewhere between raw and rare. She pokes at it for a couple of minutes while we wait for a waiter to reappear and check on us. Finally one does, she politely points out the steak isn't done right its supposed to be well done, he stands there flipping through his notes for a few moments and then asks her if shes sure she doesn't want it, that medium is really the best for a steak anyway, and its medium (not even close). She repeats the request for welldone ... he grudgingly takes the steak and disappears. Five minutes later he is back with the same steak, now cooked up to medium, but still nowhere close to welldone, drops that off and disappears again. Needless to say dinner did not go well.

Reflecting on what I just wrote, maybe that's really more service than food quality again.

Again from my personal perspective (leaving out observations of others) .. bad food experiences , nope. Less awesome food experiences, yep.

To wrap up ... clearly wearing shorts vs a suit and tie has absolutely nothing to do with any of this ... but it led me into a meandering thought process !

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Wow! @jticarruthers, that is a heck of a... not exactly a 180 from our experience on the exact same ship, but maybe a 120? Was your cruise before mine? Most of the items you mentioned were not at all the case for us, as best I'm recalling, so maybe they heard your feedback...

  • When not getting our food (or bringing extra surprise portions), our waiter was typically close by; now, this might well have been helped by the fact the drop-off station for food orders was not 6 feet from our assigned table, but still... He definitely was checking on us regularly and making sure we were happy with our orders, and the couple of times we had to send something back (like when my daughter made the mistake of ordering her prime rib medium rare), it was replaced very quickly and without fuss
  • Assistant waiter was refilling everyone's water glasses every time just one of us got to even slightly below half, and my wife (who was the only soda drinker from my family at dinner) was always asked before her glass was emptied if she would be wanting another one; our table-mate, who was always having soda, had a refill next to her not-quite-finished glass at least on later nights of the cruise, if not the early ones
  • I never drink more than one glass of wine with dinner, and keep it going the whole meal, so can't speak to alcoholic beverage refills; but my order was taken promptly every meal after the first time I asked for the wine list, and after the first two nights the MDR had extra staff on hand to deliver bar orders much more quickly (always before the appetizers were on the table)
  • The head waiter missed our table on night one, but apologized profusely for that fact on night two; after that he came by our table every night and spent just a minute or two asking us if we had a good day in port, if the meal was to our liking, and joking around with us a little
  • The bread tray was always present on our table after we sat down, as I remember our table-mates and my wife always enjoying the pumpkin seed rolls before dinner got underway; I don't recall that we ate so much from the tray that it was ever in danger of emptying, so can't speak to it being kept filled

As I said before, we were the 8 PM traditional dining slot; maybe it's a function of being in that, with waiters who are assigned a smaller number of tables, and a smaller general number of diners at that hour, that made our experience so much better.

 

OK, I'm done hijacking the poor OP's original thread topic! Let's get back to discussing the merits of Hawaiian shirts on formal night. 😁

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On 4/26/2018 at 10:49 AM, PAUL rOGER said:

This is the first cruise" Harmony of The Seas" out of 19 that I have been disappointed in the casualness of evening attire ion the Main Dining Room. My wife and I always dress for dinner whether it be Cruise Casual,  Casual or Formal nights.  We had a table for 6 since we like to meet new people, no shows for all 7 nights, just the 2 of us. It's surprised us as how people came to dinner dressed, everything from short, torn jeans, etc. I suppose people say I paid for this cruise and you can't tell me how to dress for dinner, I get that. Then go to the Windjammer. Here,s is a better idea for the cruise lines, as a seating option for dinner, say DRESS UP SECTION suggested evening attire. Set up a group of tables  away from the rest of the horde that will comply with the dress code for the night and let it be random seating, seating for 2 or take a table of 6 or eight and let your dinner partners be a surprise. Our last cruise with our extended family 16 was in 2016 on the  Brilliance of the Seas and it wasn't a problem following the suggested evening attire. Anyway I am old school and if people want to dress casual and sloppy, that's up to them. But give veteran cruisers a chance to have a dinner that reflects what cruising use to be like.

 

A man or woman after my own heart.  @PAUL rOGER  I got flamed last week for suggesting that the MDR and particularly Formal Night should be just that,  formal or damned near close with slacks and a nice shirt.  No short, jorts or sandals allowed. Well, some guy didn't like that when I suggested that those who choose to dress a little less formally go to Windjammer.  Well, being old skool , BUT certainly NOT old, I believe as you do that there should be some sense of class and decorum.  Those showing up in the MDR  in that condition simply have no class and really should be at the corner bar spending their paycheck.  Just my thoughts!! Nomex suit donned!!

6

 

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1 hour ago, jticarruthers said:

 

To wrap up ... clearly wearing shorts vs a suit and tie has absolutely nothing to do with any of this ... but it led me into a meandering thought process !

It very well may since if YOU don't care, why should they??  As they say, certain things flow down hill....................

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