Am I alone?
Who else cringes when you hear an executive talk about “opening the kimono”?
I don’t know, maybe they think it’s cool to use a multicultural reference—the phrase obviously originates in Japan. Or maybe they just like thinking about a slender, submissive Geisha disrobing for her customer. I had always assumed it referred to samurai demonstrating that they were unarmed. But wherever it comes from, it should go back there. Quickly.
While the orators who use it may be thinking of beautiful, naked women, when hear the phrase I picture the speaker opening his kimono. And that is generally not a pretty picture. Really, the last thing I want to think about in a business context is a flabby, hairy, naked, middle-aged man. (Apologies to any of you reading this over breakfast.)
It should go without saying in this day and age—I just checked the calendar and yes, we really are still talking about casual sexism in 2016—that talking about or implying naked anyone in a business context is just plain inappropriate. Unless you work for Playboy—but even they’ve stopped publishing nude photos.
Let’s all agree: Keep the freaking kimono closed.