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Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Do Your Pants Hang Low? The Question of Sagging.

WARNING: if discussions about underwear make you 
uncomfortable, STOP HERE!
I have long been opposed to pant sagging. Until a week ago.

I have a pair of pants I love. They're sort of like khakis, but they fit more like “skinny” pants and they ride relatively low.

And when said pants were combined with my much loved “I [Heart] Mexico” t-shirt, my black “Rico” briefs could be seen when I made certain body motions.

I was faced with a dilemma: I liked the shirt and I liked the pants, but neither could compensate for the longitudinal (a real word) deficiencies of the other.

While pondering my conundrum, I had an epiphany:

I'm a young black male, I can actually get away with showing a little bit of my ropa interior and I won't have to sacrifice either my chosen shirt or pants.

So I did, in fact, choose both and headed off to school. And I'd be lying if I said I didn't feel just the slightest bit liberated that day.

However, apart from personal satisfaction, was my fashion decision appropriate?

Some might cite the hygiene problems against me. In other words, I don't want to sit where you've sat if you sat there directly on your underwear.

Gross. Point taken.

However, this doesn't apply to me, because upon sitting, my pants assumed their proper function, carefully guarding my behind and calzones.

Another objection might focus on aesthetics or “I don't want to see your underwear!”

Again, point taken.

Then again, I may not want to see your particular shirt, headband, jacket, or hat but why should my optical preferences have veto power over what you wear?

Besides, this was not what I was doing:

It was much closer to this (but black on black), not even visible 100% of the time:

What about the “it sends the wrong message” objection.

This, I think, is dangerous territory.

As anyone who knows me knows (especially my sisters), I have plenty of opinions on how certain clothing choices can send certain messages, but I also understand it's not always clearly discernible where the line between acceptable and unacceptable is, especially when “lines” differ from person to person.

That's not to say there is no standard of modesty, rather when it comes to issues like seeing a couple inches of someone's unmentionables for a few brief (pardon the pun) moments, I'm inclined to put that in the “agree to disagree” style box.

In addition, some like to bring up the history of sagging pants, letting guys in prison know your, erm, “available”.

This doesn't bother me, however, because appropriation is a part of life and is a valuable for tool social and cultural advancement.

For example, some beloved Christian hymns were written to the tunes of bar songs and some pagan holidays were appropriated by Christians in order to make way for our own special days.

Sagging was once something, but now it's something different or, at least, something else entirely too.

Finally, one might ask why do it in the first place.

Well, initially, I did it for reasons of convenience and curiosity, which, upon further reflection, were pretty lame reasons, though there was another side to it.

When you see someone sagging their pants, you don't think wannabe preacher, four years doing competitive Bible memory, or, even, Christian at all.

But all of those things apply to me.

I enjoyed the prospect that just by letting a little underneath show, I might accomplish some small part in collapsing the stereotype of who sags and who doesn't.

Because even if you don't agree with sagging, you shouldn't form an opinion on someone based on how high or low they wear their pants.

So, will I sag again? Probably not (my mom was not to keen on it).

In spite of that, my one time sagging escapade had given me a fresh perspective on the issue.

What say you?

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