Sweatpants Nation Doesn’t Want to Meet You

A client asked me to do something horrifying yesterday. She asked me to “meet her.”

I’m sure she didn’t mean anything by it. I’d already told her I work from home.  But as she barreled on about how much she was looking forward to SEEING me and handing me origami puppets and making flashcards and whatnot, it became apparent my client didn’t really register that I work from home.

REALLY embarrassing for her. My face gets hot just thinking about it.

Proudly show the world you won’t be constrained by things like “meetings” and “waistlines.” Get them here.

Statistics suggest about 30 million people in the United States work from home, at least part time. That’s the entire population of Canada, give or take an Ax Man. Picture all of Canada sitting in front of desks they hacked out of pines themselves, swaddled in sweatpants and hockey sweatshirts.  That’s what we have scattered about America: A Sweatpants Nation.

Just because I am charming at a cocktail party, it doesn’t mean I want to get all fancied-up to have a ten minute conversation.  I’m not being rude or antisocial. I’m being practical. I want to save us both time. But much like an episode of Dateline, these phone conversations with clients start innocently enough, and then Keith Morrison’s leathery face lights up with amusement and you know things have gone horribly, horribly wrong.

“I’d like to get together with you…” says the client, usually for no other reason than they’ve been saying it for the last twenty years.

“Oh, I’m sure we can do this on the phone!”  I say, so perkily my head nearly bounces off my shoulders. Maybe that is my problem. Maybe if I didn’t sound SO dang charming they wouldn’t feel compelled to meet me in person. I should work on that.

“Yeaaaaah, buuuuut…” says the client. “I think if I acted out what I want using hand puppets I made myself out of tube socks, a hot glue gun and plastic googily-eyes, you’d have a better feel for what I need…”

That is when I know I’m sunk. This is not a client who will take no for an answer. No matter how hard I try to trick him into telling me everything on the phone, he’s going to insist we meet in person. More than likely, he will tell me everything on the phone, and then just repeat it in person. That’s my favorite.

It’s hard to believe this sort of behavior still goes on in this day and age. What with phones, email, texting, faxes, online meeting sites, file upload sites, Twitter, Facebook, that thing Justin Timberlake is doing, the United States Postal Service; why would any human being EVER have to be in the same room with another without wine, vibrating spa chairs or super sales involved?

Now, I’m faced with three options.

Love classical music but still a little bit of a hussy? Love to listen to Clair de lune while you’re sucking suggestively on a lollipop? Get them here.

Option one: the client meets me at my home, violating my sanctuary with unfamiliar perfumes and the echo of forced laughter. I’ll need to clean the house before she arrives; hide all the empty wine bottles, straighten my desk, find a landscaper to clear the rotting bodies of last spring’s annuals (so deceptively festive at the time), bathe the dog, groom the dog, teach the dog not to run full-speed through people’s legs ripping ACLs and MCLs like they’re over-boiled spaghetti, and get myself ready.

Preparation: 2-11 days. Meeting Time: 10 minutes.

Option two: I meet the client at their place of business or a coffee shop where I’ll spend half the meeting apologizing for how loud it is. This requires getting dressed and leaving the house.  I’ll need to put on clothes other than sweatpants. I’ll spend the next hour staring forlornly at Real Pants, with their judgmental, inflexible waistbands. The client might as well have stopped by and roundhouse kicked me in the heart. It would be less painful, except that the visit would require me to clean house.

Sadly, I’ve found any form of sweatpants will turn off prospective clients.  Even sweatpants with fun tush-messages like “Juicy,” though the one time I bought those I accidentally ended up with a pair written in a sarcastic font. People who work outside the home become insanely jealous when other people show up to a meeting in comfortable clothes. If you wear sweatpants to a meeting with someone who bought a suit at Men’s Warehouse on the ONE day a year they are not giving them away six for the price of one, forget it. Kiss that contract good-bye; he’s not “gunna like the way you look.”

Preparation: 5 hours. Meeting Time: 10 minutes.

Option three: I insist on doing everything remotely and lose the client to some go-getter who still gets dressed every day and probably belongs to a gym, too. Schmuck.

Preptime: 2 minutes. Meeting time: 0. 

Option three could be the reason my business took a bit of a hit last year.


I’m sure it’s just the economy.

First printed in Underwire Magazine.


Amy Vansant

9 Responses

  1. Laura R.

    What if you told them you are handicapped and it’s too difficult for you to leave the house? Then if they ask to come to your house, you tell them that you never meet with clients at home because it’s not a safe practice. It’s kind of like when people ask me if I want kids and I tell them I can’t have children. That way I don’t have to deal with the lectures and judgments about why I’m a horrible person for not wanting children. Plus, it makes them feel like a-holes for asking and it is amusing for me to see their faces.


    • Amy Vansant

      I have used a lot of different excuses over the years… colds, driving anxiety, family visiting,… the options are endless. The trick is to know when it will kill the deal or not…


  2. Scargosun

    I work in an office. I have to get dressed everyday. I hate you a little. 😉

    Seriously, this happens in the office too.
    Client: Oh, we could come into the office
    Me: That’s ok, we can just do it over the phone.
    Client: *donwheated* Oh we would really like to see .

    GA! Phone meeting 10 minutes, in person 1 hour SAME THINGS DISCUSSED!


    • Amy Vansant

      That’s the part that KILLS me. You end up with the same 10 minute conversation, and then you’re either staring at each other or they’d just make shit up to make it seem worth all the driving and dressing and whatnot. AAARG!!


  3. bluntdelivery

    ahhhh, the days of working at home. the endless sweatpants and questionable showering schedule.

    I miss it! and God forbid a client ever want to meet in person. Yuck!


    • Amy Vansant

      I can’t deny occasionally it will be the end of the day and I’ll be like “Wait… Did I get a shower today?”


  4. Nina Potts

    sometimes I don’t comment because I’m like, damn, there’s a ton of comments here, but woot look at me, I’m all here at the top. I also haven’t slept. I wish you many wonderful comments on all your posts.

    In hawaii everyone wears shorts and button up hawaiian shirts. I remember that from when I was a kid about 20 years ago. But that movie The Descendants just came out, and apparently its the same. Hawaii looks the same too.

    I have a pair of pj pants that were too long, I cut them into capris and have named them my comfy pants of comfyness. They are inappropriate for all occasions, and I wear them everywhere.


  5. Nina Potts

    Hawaii is fun if you’re not poor, and tan somewhat well. I have some stories I will have to eventually write about it.

    Alas, I do more talking about writing than actual writing. That and getting distracted by Buffy the Vampire Slayer.



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