How late is ‘fashionably late’ – the concept has always baffled me as someone who is always ‘unfashionably early’ for every meeting whether it be in the Boardroom at a school parents evening or even meeting up with a friend for coffee.
So who are these time fashionistas, and what is their mind set? Do they believe that to make a carefully planned late entrance like a Diva will give them kudos, are they so insecure that they feel lonely as the first to arrive, or are they so narcissistic they are only involved with their own agenda.
A working colleague told me he felt more in control when arriving late, as he walked into an atmosphere already charged with energy – and felt that any meeting had already been set up – affording him the buzz to take it to the next stage. He also said that it burnt calories being a bit of a fitness fanatic, as the exercise in hurrying to the meeting was a great workout! But I am still not encouraged to change the habit of a lifetime as feel the stress factor associated to lateness I could do without.
I was amazed to learn recently however, that the cool, former bad girl of Hollywood, Angelina Jolie always arrives early to every meeting, to prepare for what is ahead. This is how I have always operated, choosing to ignore the sarcasm from other colleagues who comment on my constant early bird status and try to diminish my dedication to the event.
The concept of timekeeping has even been written into songs and storylines. In the old Sinatra song ‘The Lady is a Tramp’ talks about a very cool lady who breaks all the rules but when it comes to theatre she ‘never comes late’. So punctuality isn’t always associated to the ordinary.
I remember a particularly unpleasant colleague of my ex-husband who told him that he loved to see the panic on the face of women he was dating when he turned up at least half an hour late. He came unstuck when one of his Tinder dates left before he arrived, and refused to see him after that. His plan had backfired as it was a second date of someone he really liked, but she obviously wouldn’t wear it the second time around.
Perhaps I am an old fashioned stickler for time keeping but the terminology ‘better late than never’ has never resonated with me, as when someone is late you can forgive them the first time if the excuse is really good, a sick relative, a bad traffic jam or accident on the Motorway, but when it occurs a second or third time I start to question their commitment to the meeting, whether it be social or professional.
You may accuse me of being ‘Timeist’ – perhaps we have invented a new word, but it is relevant to so many people and situations, and I feel that it has its place and should be regarded as such, after all where would we be without boundaries of time keeping whether it be mealtime, bedtime or party time. I rest my case!