Maybe it's the 65-year-old man with a head of hair so thick it can only be a wig worn over a weave topped by a toupee. Or perhaps it's the teenaged tart bellied up to the bar wearing little more than a bikini top and hot pants, her stomach protruding over her waistband in dreaded "muffin top" fashion. They're the dining deluded, the fashionably flustered, the people so poorly dressed you have to wonder if they have any mirrors at home.
There's one in every crowd, unless you're in Old City on a Saturday night, in which case they are the crowd.
Yes, you. You, middle-aged woman, with your inappropriately low-cut top, your cleavage tanned to a shade best described as Garfield, your bra more like some kind of NASA antigravity device than an article of clothing. You, trendy guy, with your artfully gelled spiky hair, your striped button-down shirt and your ear bling, thinking you're really dazzling the crowd at TGI Friday's. You, little lady, in your Lycra or polyester half shirt, hoping your jiggling cleavage will distract the bouncer from your mumbled, "I forgot my ID at home."
(Incidentally, this almost never works on a doorman, but feel free to try it at a place where the only obstacle between you and Jose Cuervo is a male bartender. After all, getting hot young things drunk is the main reason a lot of them are in this business.)
Come on, Philadelphia. Milan we ain't, but this is just absurd. You have to understand that when the staff--yes, those people you're paying to wait on you, the ones wearing hideously unflattering uniforms--are laughing at you, something must be off. Or mismatched. Or poorly cut. Or just ... wrong.
So maybe I spent a summer serving cocktails in a dress so precipitously short that a thong was out of the question. Who am I to judge others? Still, maybe a few dos and don'ts will come in handy.
Don't wear your 1989 skinny jeans out to a big dinner. They're as likely to burst at the seams as they are to look even remotely flattering.
If you insist on artificial hair, at the very least match it precisely to your natural hair color. Skunk toupees won't fool anyone, not even in the darkest corner of the bar.
Unless you're built like a pre-baby Heidi Klum, clothing that could double as swimwear is a big don't. Along the same lines, do dress for the weather. The only thing that makes wearing a sequined tank top with no jacket in January cool is your body temperature, and convulsive shivering just isn't attractive.
I know that, as a city, the most dolled up most of us get is green face paint and a matching jersey on game day. I know that, thanks to the pioneering efforts of hipsters everywhere, facial fuzz really is the new black. But let's band together, Philadelphia, and leave the bad rugs, the perma-tans and the spandex bodysuits at home.