Wednesday, July 1, 2009

One Man's Pants, Another Man's Pariah

Bizarro is brought to you today by Athletes in Love.

I've long been amazed by baggy pants fashion. When it first began (back in the early nineties?), I laughed and felt secure in my predictions that it would not last very long. Apparently, I'm no Nostradamus.

As open minded as I like to think I am, I cannot even pretend to understand it. First and foremost, it is uncomfortable to have one's pants falling down all the time. At the very least, you've got to constantly hold them up somehow or you'll trip over them, and god forbid you should have to take off running. It is the sole reason belts and suspenders were invented, for instance. So you could run away and have both hands free for waiving frantically in the air. I am reminded of a scene from a movie I saw once where an outhouse was set afire while a person was in mid-business. He burst out of the door at top speed but only made it a few feet before his chin hit the ground.

Apart from the inconvenience of having to monitor your pants falling off is the obvious ludicrousness of it being the "style" to show your underwear. What has for centuries been the cliche nightmare of people the night before a public speaking engagement, is suddenly the height of cool. When did this happen, exactly? Was I out of the country?

I've done a few cartoons over the years about this topic but I'm still not tired of it. Fifteen years after the trend began, guys are still hobbling around New York City like bowlegged penguins, trying to keep their gigantic pants from falling below their knees, so I'm still drawing cartoons about it. But just when I thought I'd seen the most absurd trend my cockamamie species could possibly concoct, I discovered a behavior even more ridiculous: the passing of laws against it. Apparently, some communities are actually fining and jailing people for a fashion. I won't argue that baggy pants and exposed underwear is an eyesore, but verboten by law? What part of the world do we live in again?

AUTHOR'S NOTE: I'm not saying I'm a big fan of really tight pants, either, just so you know.


Jeremy Pair said...

I have heard that the trend started in prison. It was a symbol to other inmates that you were "available" although I can't prove it. But seeing as how many gang memberish people glorify prison, it just may be true.

Yet Another Steve said...

I found a greeting card I like almost too much to send. It depicts two youngsters walking down the street with their pants perilously low and barely hanging on, as two old guys with belts up under their armpits and too much exposed ankle sneer about the "young fool whippersnappers" passing by.

Nowax said...

I've heard that it originated because punks who were arrested had their belts taken away by the police in lock-up. Thus, "prison chic" was born.

I don't get it either. I feel sorry for these guys when I see them. But then, I don't get "trendy" anything:

--Leg warmers

--Dumb shoes: jellies, flip-flops, uggs (which are ugly and I suspect depositories of stinky foot odor), Sex-in-the-City spike heels -- all moronic.

--hair-dos: mohawks, sleezac (or whatever that hair-do is called), "bed-hair look", beehives (coming back, mark my words) mullets

-- tattoos (wouldn't want to be a retirement home worker in the future who has to look at all those wrinkled tramp stamps that say things like "bodacious" as they give old people enemas--brrrr)

Why do people go along with these asinine trends? I

Catalina said...

I'm not sure which one is more perplexing - pants so loose you can't run or pants so tight you can't run. I'm predicting the next trend will be pants so long you can't escape whatever might be pursuing you, be it police or hipsters on fixed gears.

sheer.nothingness said...

Wow, I always knew that Louisianna and Florida were trying to turn us into a theocracy.

Incorporeal Bob said...

I knew I shouldn't click that link about "tight pants", but God help me I did.

Peter said...

A baggy-pants wearer once explained that it's to show that they have a big you-know-what, and it needs room to hang free...
But I still believe it's the boy's desperate answer to women's low cut jeans. "They look sexy showing off their undies, so why can't we too..."-kind of thing.

Anonymous said...

The trend started when "gangstas" that got arrested had to wear baggyprison suits.Now punks everywhere(including hip-hoppers) are wearing dumb things to be "cool" and "in" with that crowd.Ludicrous!!!

beth said...

Growing up in the seventies, we girls always checked out a guy's butt in Levi's or his legs on the basketball court, so I just don't get the attraction of the baggy look or the appeal of gigantic shorts that reveal 2 inches of ankle. But making it illegal? I work with teens all day long and have seen more boxers hanging out of jeans than I care to see and have said "pull your pants up" more than I care to say. When I get the usual lip I just tell the kid that his lack of intelligence is in direct relation to how low his pants hang. The girls like that one. But again, creating a law against teenaged self-expression?! That's a joke, right?

buckminster said...

The theory I read is another prison one: not enough variety in pants size in prison, forcing you to wear what they give you.

Rapaz said...

making it illegal? yeah man, unfortunatelly, a brain sickness claims for other one. some people like to follow rules uncomprehensible established. just as massive fashion, absurd laws and prejudice (right, mr. Jeremy Pair?).

great blog and cartoons, Dan! good to know it. from Brazil.. and a fan of Dahmer's:

RSJ said...

Not to be disagreeable with some of the other posters, but I heard somewhere years ago the 'baggy pants' trend grew out of the inner-city ghetto.

The early rappers were from poor families and it was common for Mom to buy clothes several sizes too large so that all of the kids in a large family could eventually wear them.

Instead of being ashamed of their ill-fitting duds, the rappers wore them as a badge of rebellious pride and, voila, it morphed into a uniform of 'hip' authenticity by the urban rap stars, and was later picked up by suburban mall rats.

Of course, your underwear will tend to show if your pants don't fit, so that just naturally became part of the uniform.

I agree with most of Nowax's objections to goofy modern 'fashion statements,' and I'd add to the list elephant bell-bottoms, where the pants snag on the backs of your shoes; these shorts that come down below the knee and resemble 'high-water mark' pants; and body-piercings, especially those in certain places. Kissing a woman with a stud in her lip, so to speak, is not fun.

I'm also old enough that I can appreciate the humor of a young guy trying to act tough on the street corner while desperately clutching at his descending baggy pants. Living in our Idiocracy has its benefits.