I have always needed someone else to dress me.

From my earliest days, I was pretty much taken care of in the fashion department. First, my mother made most of my clothes, including my holiday dresses, my First Holy Communion outfit, and all the costumes I wore for Halloween and school pageants. Her skills were legendary, including the year she made my three brothers, my little sister, and me a living tableau of the American Revolution. It was 1976, the year of the Bicentennial, and she turned my three brothers into a raggedy band of colonial fighters, me into Betsy Ross, and my five-year-old sister into the Liberty Bell.

Sadly, in a move that would foreshadow other costume fails, the bell made out of papier-mache was so wide that it prevented my sister from going through doors, thereby frustrating the entire purpose of seeking candy from strangers.  If you can’t get within five feet of the neighbor, you go home with an empty bag.

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When I was old enough to go to school, I was immediately enrolled in a series of all-girl Catholic institutions where, suffice it to say, there was no room for sartorial creativity. You wore what the nuns decided you needed to wear, and you went to Whalen and Whalen uniform distributors on North 12th Street to order the frocks. They were all invariably navy, tweed, and itchy.

In my last year of high school, we were able to vote on our uniform, one of the few perks of being a senior. My class chose a lovely maroon and pink ensemble, which I still have hanging in a closet somewhere. And, to the delight of my mother and the horror of some old classmates, I wore that plaid kilt even decades after I graduated. This was not me attempting to be a Britney Spears-Lolita schoolgirl. Neither my weight nor my dance skills would have made me a threat to the ”Hit Me Baby One More Time” crowd.

The reason I reused my kilt was because I literally had no fashion sense and no ability to figure out what worked with my figure and my personality. To this day, I suffer from the “Catholic Girl School” syndrome, wherein I find something I like, usually black, and buy ten versions of it. That is because I never developed the ability to express my creativity through my clothing. I may be a 61-year-old professional, but inside I’m still the girl who got yelled at for having droopy knee socks.

I write this to explain that I empathize with those who aren’t stylish gems. I write this to show that I don’t judge someone based on the value of their clothing or the number of “name” brands they carry on their arms and hang from their ears. I am the last person in the world to criticize someone for being nerdy and unfashionable.

But I am also someone who respects herself enough not to appear in public in a slovenly manner. My clothing is always laundered, ironed, and my hair combed. I wear makeup because I look better with it. My shoes may sometimes have holes in the soles, but no one but yours truly knows it (especially when it rains). And I dress appropriately for the occasion. I don’t sport shorts at the office, I don’t show cleavage in the courtroom (as if), and I don’t ever, ever, ever wear jeans when I’m planning to meet clients. I have respect for myself and for other people.

None of us can say the same about the junior senator from Pennsylvania.

The fact that he didn’t even try to pull up his damn pants particularly repulses this former Catholic schoolgirl.

John Fetterman has a lot of flaws, and many of them are much more serious than the way he dresses, but the mere fact that he has so little respect and concern for his constituents that he parades around in cargo pants, oversized shirts, and unruly facial hair is a sign of absolute arrogance. And now, he has essentially forced his Senate colleagues to get rid of any semblance of a dress code.

The fact that John Fetterman, a man who has a Harvard degree and lots of money, mostly given to him by other people, doesn’t have the decency to put on a suit and a tie when he is representing the people of my Commonwealth, many of whom did not even vote for him, is reprehensible. It is a sign that he just doesn’t give a damn.

His supporters will say that this makes him “real” and that they love the fact that he doesn’t play the game. They think he’s a maverick, a working-class guy, and cool.

He is none of those things. He is, at best, lazy. At his worst, though, he is a person who thinks the rules do not apply to him, that civility is not in his job description, and that immaturity and a questionable sense of hygiene are entirely appropriate in the halls of Congress.

Some will say they would rather have a man like John Fetterman, who doesn’t pretend to be what he is not, instead of well-dressed demagogues like Matt Gaetz, who has apparently adopted “Exxon Valdez” as his hair care regimen. But while Gaetz has questionable politics, at least he has the decency to show respect for his office and the institutions of Congress by not showing up to work as some hulking, non-musical Beach Boy.

There are many reasons not to like John Fetterman. His politics, his disregard for the sanctity of human life, his wife, his slacker personality, and the fact that he basically lied his way into office by hiding his severe medical disability.

But the fact that he didn’t even try to pull up his damn pants particularly repulses this former Catholic schoolgirl. If only Sister Madeleine Marie were around to deal with him.

Christine Flowers is an attorney and lifelong Philadelphian. @flowerlady61

8 thoughts on “Christine Flowers: Fetterman doesn’t respect the Senate and he doesn’t respect you”

  1. Christine may have outdone herself with this one. Of all of the things happening in the Senate, she chooses the least interesting and certainly the least important thing to express her usual and now predictable fake outrage. What Tommy Tuberville is doing in holding up the military is exponentially more consequential. The pending possible government shutdown is a serious issue. But nope – Christine finds a way to write an op-ed about a minor thing in which, of course she spends more than half of the paragraphs writing about…. herself. It’s always about her and her Catholicism… And her saintly mother who could do nothing wrong… And more about the charming, never creepy, infallibility of being Catholic. Surprisingly, she didn’t throw in her usual drivel about some “saint” that she identifies with. The highlight of her hypocrisy? This line: “I am the last person in the world to criticize someone for being nerdy and unfashionable. Just take 30 seconds to scan her Twitter page. That’s all it will take to find her insulting someone for their looks / physical appearance when she has no counterpoint to a valid criticism. The best line? “I wear makeup, because I look better with it”. That may be true but it sure isn’t the way you use it. (The 80’s called and would like its eyeliner back.) Like most hate mongers who try to make a career kowtowing to non-thinking extremists, Christine has mastered the art of using juvenile insults. Likely because she knows her “followers” love it. She hated Fetterman before she knew a thing about him just because he has a “D” after his name. So first, it was about his stroke and her lying about his mental capabilities.” Now, she has moved onto his fashion and tells lies about his “hygiene.” This is how a repugnant person operates. An astute conservative would have plenty to criticize Fetterman about without resorting to childish insults. But not our Christine. In her mind, the conversation goes something like this: ‘He’s pro choice? Only an unshaven slob would feel that way.” And for the record, I disagree with the changing of the dress code for Senators. And that’s about how much time and language the topic deserves.

  2. Christine Flowers is very liberal about using the “F” bomb on social media. Is that what they taught her to say in Catholic school? If she won’t bother to conduct herself with decency in public why does she expect more of others?

  3. It’s another example of “politics as performance” (and let’s be real here……Team MAGA is inside a colossal “glass house” when it comes to throwing stones on this general topic). But let’s be real here….as long as this is a topic of conversation , it’s a “win” for Fetterman. The way he dresses is a part of his brand. It’s a brand that it no way squares with his personal biography, but nonetheless it’s his brand, and this ongoing conversation promotes it.

  4. Well I guess if you don’t mind having your Senator conducting the people’s business on the Senate floor while looking like he’s playing 2-on-2 half court basketball, then you probably voted for that crooked potted plant in the oval office and his equally embarrassing Vice.

  5. Trump and Hannity are responsible for Fetterman being PA’s Senator. Kathy Barnette could be there now. Remember when teh Dems and Shapiro poured money into the weakest Republican during the primaries? That is the same reason the Dems keep indicting Trump – Trump was faltering until he started to get indicted.
    In Pennsylvania people have been able to opt in to register to vote at the end of their ID registration or license renewal since 1993. Somehow this week Gov. Shapiro changed the policy, and now you need to actively opt out of registering to vote at PennDot. Questions: How many non-citizens with taxpayer identification have PA licenses? Will they automatically be registered to vote now?
    Pennsylvania has joined 23 mostly Democratic states that have implemented automatic voter registration — apparently Gov. Shapiro has the right to do that. I’m guessing that the results of the 2024 presidential election will take weeks to tabulate and the Democratic candidate somehow attains over 90 million votes.

    1. Stop. Kathy Barnette didn’t even know how long a Senate Term was. She was pushing election fraud conspiracy theories because she couldn’t understand why numbers changed between 11pm and 7am day after election. She has no business as a US Senator. She needs to spend a few years in the political world first. Nice lady, but not ready to be US Senator.

  6. fetterman is a discrace to the senate–bottom line an embarrasment to the state of pa– he can barely finish a sentence let alone conduct important business required as a senator– shame on Pa for voting him in office–we r patahtic —

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