Thursday, January 6, 2011

War Declared on Baggy Pants!

During the holidays, a strange thing happened one day. We were all hanging out in the house in the middle of the day when a jeep Cherokee pulled into the drive and a young man got out. He was all decked out in hip hop garb with an unformed baseball cap all cocked sideways on his head and a hooded sweat jacket that was so large it barely covered his underpants spilling forth over top of his low slung jeans that hung suspended below the crest of his buttocks, seemingly by some magical force -- because it, surely, was not his hips.

This young man came to our door and rang the doorbell. My rather large son answered the door, and the young man proceeded to weave some story about how he was on his way to a nearby town (not the town we live in) and realized he was nearly out of gas. This was apparently coupled with a simultaneous realization that he had no money. He asked us if we might have some money or spare change we might be willing to part with so he could drive to a gas station and put enough gas in his vehicle to make it to this nearby town, which was not ours.

Red flags immediately started popping up all in my head.

For those of you that know me personally, my thought processes need no further explanation. But for others, I must tell you that I am retired military. I was not always the loving teddy bear I am today and my past is riddled with suspect activities and bar fights over booze or women, or boozed up women ... well, you get the jist. My training and past activities in and around our military special operations community provided a kind of insight where I make quick evaluations of people by their mannerisms, speech and body language. Sometimes I get the red flags.

Anyway, these paragraphs were just to set up the reasoning or explanation of my original thoughts. On the face of it, I felt sorry for the poor lad, and wanting to start looking through my house for spare change, really I did. But several things weren't right. First, his dress gave me caution. Yes, I know this might be considered profiling but, when your house, family, and livelihood are involved, I could not care less whether others might think ill of me for profiling. If a person makes the effort to dress like a stereotypical thug wannabe, I must assume, they are a thug wannabe. Second, the whole time he was explaining his situation, expounding on the woes he recently suffered, he'd left his car running. Third, the nearest gas station was no more than a mile up the road -- and it was open.

Needless to say, I politely told him that we did not have any money we could give him at the time and offered him the suggestion of going to the gas station to ask for money because there, he would find others already pumping gas and, more than likely funded for such a purchase. That night, I activated nearly all of the security features of my home (did I mention the military? yeah, I got me some security) and loaded my shotgun, just in case.

Was I wrong in assuming the worst in this person merely on their dress? Were my thoughts prejudicial? Probably so. For that I am sorry. But I would rather be sorry than robbed, or dead.

Seems this profiling has gone national. Cities throughout the nation have recently been attempting to approve ordinances forbidding the wearing of baggy pants. And, it seems, people on both sides of the issue are preparing for all-out war.

The wearing of baggy pants has been a fad for quite some time. Not only should the pants be baggy, but, in keeping with the fad, they must be magically suspended below the crest of one's buttocks showing some name brand boxers that can either be worn normally, or worn low like the pants, exposing one's crack. I don't know if it is some kind of one-up-manship or what, but the pants have gotten lower over time and crack exposure increased.

While my personal preference is to wear pants the old-fashioned way, I am impressed at how one gets their pants to hang as if suspended magical by thin air with nothing to hold them up. I am also torn on whether the incorporating of city ordinances infringes upon one's constitutional right to wear clothes as they see fit.

There is the argument that this style of clothing is a hip hop trend originating from those incarcerated in prison who have had their belts taken to keep them from hanging themselves. Others originate this fad from prison as well, but state that the reason for letting one's pants hang below their butts is more sexual, in purpose. Kind of like that fad of not long ago of wearing one's clothing backwards. With just a little research, one will find that most prisons issue clothing to inmates that incorporate ties or elastic to keep the pants suspended at a reasonable level around their waist. Unfortunately, many prisoners have chosen to wear even these garments in their own fashion.

No matter your belief on the origins of this fad, it seems to me that parents would not want their children emulating trends originating from prison. I don't know, am I wrong to think this way. My objection to this style of clothing wear falls more on utilitarian function, rather than style. I just don't understand how one can go about their daily business when at least one hand is constantly occupied holding up oversize pants.

I suppose this is nothing new. The youth of our nation have been finding ways to be different from all those old fogies as far back as history has been recorded.

Drawing from my own youth, I'm sure we all remember bell bottoms and wide collars.

Many of the heroes of those days perpetrated the look. Remember the Carpenters? They were all about the bell bottom and wide collar fad, and they were adults. I know my sister remembers the Carpenters. I think she actually sang with them in the Seattle Center back in the early seventies. I believe it was on their song "sing."

And here's someone you might recognize. He prescribed to the wide collar thing and he seems to have done alright for himself.

And, I suppose it could be worse. We could all be stuck in some perpetual vortex of history where we all wear parachute pants and "Miami Vice" shirts.

What are your thoughts on the "baggy pants" fad. Is it just a fad? is it reasonable? Or, is it just plain stupid.