Who wears the pants in this office? Not the women.

I usually avoid political news items, especially trivia, but when I saw an article proclaiming that the TV show “Fox and Friends” had a no-pants rule for its female hosts,  I couldn’t help remembering a job I had back in the late 1970s for a trade weekly for travel agents called Travel Trade.

It was conducted on a strictly gender-specific plan: The news department was made up completely of men and the features department of women, and we worked in completely separate rooms (and probably had very different salaries, although I have no idea what anyone else in that place made).

And although the offices were dusty and ill-kept, and although as features editors/writers we never actually met with anyone outside the company (almost all of our contacts were over the phone), it was an absolute rule that women had to wear skirts or dresses — pants were not allowed. As somebody who had helped change the “no pants” rule in my high school, I was a bit taken aback by this, but I needed a job and this was one in which I got to both edit and write, so I lived with it.

I still remember the day after I quit for another job. I walked in wearing jeans; when the head secretary (who must have known that I was leaving) saw me, she fairly bristled with indignation. It was like something out of a sitcom; I’m really sorry that smartphones with digital cameras had yet to be invented, because I would have loved to have had a photo of her.

So it’s fascinating that “Fox & Friends” had a policy that I thought was outmoded 35 years ago.


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