Dressed to Distract
By MAUREEN DOWD
It’s hard to feel sorry for a woman who frets about being too beautiful.
Ordinarily in life, extraordinary good looks are an advantage for men and women — and even babies. Not only do babies gaze longer at more comely adult faces, research tells us, but parents may gaze longer at more comely babies.
A research team at the University of Alberta conducted a study at a supermarket and observed that parents gave more attention and supervision to their pretty ducklings.
Aesthetic allure is evolutionary, after all. “Like lots of animals,” said Dr. Andrew Harrell, the team leader, “we tend to parcel out our resources on the basis of value.”
So it was unusual when a knockout in New York, Debrahlee Lorenzana, a 33-year-old single mother, filed suit against Citigroup, claiming that she was fired in August from the Citibank branch at the Chrysler Center for looking too sexy.
“Plaintiff was advised that as a result of the shape of her figure,” her lawsuit reads, “such clothes were purportedly `too distracting’ for her male colleagues and supervisors to bear.”
On Thursday night, as she prepared to appear on the Monday morning shows, Lorenzana recalled that her supervisors obsessed over what she was wearing, “saying things are too tight, you cannot wear turtlenecks. Well, guess what? When you say my pants are too tight when they’re not, then you must have been staring at me.
“The reality is, I’m a size 32 DD. I’m very skinny, and then I have curves. So, of course, on my body, the turtleneck is going to make it more noticeable. But I’m not showing cleavage. We wear jackets.”
She said a co-worker who shopped with her and bought the same styles and designer brands never got in trouble, and neither did some tellers who wore low-cut tops, snug pants and hot boots.
“I said, ‘You are discriminating to me, because of my body type,’ “ she said with a slight accent and a breathy voice. “This is genetic. What am I supposed to do?”
Citigroup didn’t return calls for comment on Friday. Lorenzana’s lawsuit says that her bosses told her that her female colleagues could wear what they liked because their “general unattractiveness rendered moot their sartorial choices.” Her well-tailored clothes, on the other hand, emphasized what her lawyer calls her “hourglass figure.”
(Fair or unfair? What do you think?)
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