Friday, July 20, 2012

The Semantics of Wearing One's Pants Low

One of the fashion faux pases that are inflicted on moderns is the sight of young men (or older) wearing their pants low, so that there is an unseemly display of underwear.  Bilbo quite eloquently remarked on this dismal trend, along with other sartorial misdimeanors (  In response to the general unhappiness with low-hanging pants, several communities have enacted statutes against this nefarious practice.

To be sure, using codified law as a means of enforcing trouser uniformity has its problems as well also benefits such as on the moralistic or even esthetic dimensions.  There is the issue of free speech.  Is wearing pants low so that one's underwear is showing a form of free speech expression?  At the very least, can "I don't have a belt to wear" or "Don't you think my butt looks cute" constitute examples of free speech?

What would Thomas Jefferson think of this?  I would hope that he would not think very much or very long.  Pants being worn so low would not please a mind embued with the Age of Reason.

And then there is the possibility of sex discrimination.  A clever lawyer with cheek can argue that laws restricting low riding pants discriminate against guys; after all, only possibly in Salt Lake City would people show dismay over whale tail thong display or even buttocks décollété on the part of a nubile damsel! 

Furthermore, laws regarding pants being worn low might also serve as an unwarranted assault on the cherished perogative of plumbers.  We do not want to plumb the depths of a labor issue by passing laws like this, do we?  Surely there will be no wisecracks about this!

And what about the other extreme.  Shouldn't guys who wear their pants too high so as to show an unseemly sock display also be subject to official censure?  And wouldn't this be a form of discrimination against nerds?

But what is the message in wearing pants low so that the male undies are displayed?  I have found several subtexts:

1.  Boxers versus briefs.  This is a subtle distinction between the boxer-wearing extroverts and the brief-wearing introverts.

2.  Wearing one's sister's panties -- "I want to experience my anima, the softer side of myself, today.

3.  Wearing superhero briefs, like ones with Spiderman or Superman on them -- "I live in a fantasy world."

4.  Hello Kitty briefs -- "I don't mind you picking on me today."

5.  Political underwear -- "I am a Democrat or a Republican and I need to lighten up and diversify my interests."

6. Visible skid marks -- "I want a seat on the bus by myself."

7.  Holey underwear -- "I have a religious vocation."

8.  Underwear color-coordinated with pants -- It can mean either that the wearer has a fashion sense, or is the result of a happy accident of selection due to what underwear is left before washday.

9.  Wearing lowriders but no boxers or briefs.  "I feel cheeky today" or "I am an anarchist."

10.  Leopardskin patterned thong -- I have this fantasy of myself as a Las Vegas showgirl.  (Slightly more kinky if the wearer is a guy).

11.  And we should not forget certain individualistic messages:

a.  I have no wish to be gainfully employed or to attain public office.
b.  For my own reasons, I want to annoy my grandparents.
c.  I'm so daring, I'm wearing a thong (usually by females).
d.  I lost my belt, and I'm trusting fate that my pants won't go to the ground.
e.  I'm protesting something.  Perhaps it's the chilly tail breeze.


Grand Crapaud said...

It's nice to see a plumber going to a job!

The Bastard King of England said...

Holey underwear? Bad pun!

Nice ass, though.

Meredith said...

This sort of occurrence is almost never seen here in Geneseo. However, I found out once that I was showing more netherwise than I should. I got over it; but not the thirtyish matronesque look I cultivate as a divorcee1

Bilbo said...

Thanks for the shout! Just yesterday afternoon, I saw a young man slouching around the bus stop with his pants halfway down his backside, underwear well up on his waist, and pants legs pooling around his (untied) sneakers; he was also wearing a baseball cap sideways on his head and a wife-beater t-shirt. He seemed to think he was God's gift to mankind, but it was all I could do to keep from laughing at him.

Mike said...

Low riding females? I don't think I've seen that before. I hope this is a new trend.

Candice said...

Nice one mike! Until that new trend is rocked by a 400lb female.

Elvis Wearing a Bra on His Head said...

Nice satire on lowriders.

Nice hiney too.

Meredith said...

Personally, I think it's declasse to show buttcracks.