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The sagging economy & sagging pants
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Editor’s note: This column first appeared on Oct. 14, 2003.

Grandmother thought women wearing hair curlers in public was a sign of the end of civilization.

That was back in 1965, the apparent Age of Enlightenment in Public Manners when compared against the norm today.

Appearance was a matter of pride. Grandmother raised a family through the Depression on a ranch where even today it is still fairly desolate. Being poor or short on money was never an excuse for laziness or slothness.

Dressing neat was important even if you couldn’t afford fancy clothes.

Zoot suits may have been a bit peculiar to her but I doubt she raised a fuss about them. On the other hand, I’m not too sure that she could of handled the low hanging pants bit. I know I can’t.

Cracks should be seen on the sidewalk, not walking down the street. Underwear was meant to be just that — under wear.

I have a hard time believing guys who wear their pants halfway down to their knees are impressing girls. That obviously isn’t the reason they’re doing it. Apparently it is a matter of being “cool” and that’s not cool as in the sense of wanting to let the air in.

Some guys who buy pants where one leg is bigger than their hip will tell you they’re making a personalized statement. They’re showing their individualism. Sorry, guys. The only thing you’re showing is your underwear — and in some cases parts of the body where the sun shouldn’t shine. It’s lame to point out there are hundreds of thousands wearing their pants the same way so therefore it’s not showing individualism. On a planet with five billion people, personalized style is a state of mind and perception.

Some say it’s just a passing trend. This is one trend, however, that isn’t passing. It’s been around for about 12 years and some who practice the type of dress that comedians pretending to be town drunks on a 10-day binge once used to get a laugh are getting closer to 30 and still dragging.

So with this in mind, I’d like to make just a few observations:

•I really don’t have an overriding obsession against droopy pants. After all, to each their own

• It isn’t pleasant to see your underwear whether they are boxers or briefs.

• The world isn’t interested in knowing that you wear size 34 boxers so try to at least wear your underwear the right side out.

•The true hoods who wear real baggy pants should keep doings so. A month doesn’t go by that some law enforcement officer somewhere doesn’t nab a bad guy thanks to baggy pants tripping the guy up.

•You might want to watch how big you get the oversized belt that appears to be part of the individualized style statement. About three months ago I saw a young man in Stockton who actually got his belt caught in a car door after he shut it. On second thought, that was pretty funny so you may want to keep the oversized belts.

•Enjoy the skoosh more room in the back side while you can. Give nature, aging and inactivity (a lot of droopy pants people aren’t prone to exercise) and you’ll indeed be looking back at your crack era as the good old days.

•If you must have low-hanging pants, I least try to wear a T-shirt that covers your underwear.

• Don’t interpret the growing indifference most people now display in public towards droopy pants as meaning everyone thinks it’s a wonderful idea. By the same token if someone goes out of their way to make a rude remark to you, politely advise them to keep it to themselves regardless of what they may think.

•If, however, someone does walk up to you and notes that you are showing some backside you should take it as an attempt to preserve public decency and keep you out of jail.

•Which brings us to the most important part: Abandon droopy pants when it’s obvious you’re getting old. If you don’t, cops are likely to arrest you for indecent exposure. Society tolerates underwear and crack showing on young people but they don’t older folks. Instead, they call them perverts.

 And — most important of all — work to prove those critical of your droopy fashion that they are wrong to peg people by the way they dress by refusing to walk about in public swearing profusely, making obscene or gang-like gestures or acting a bit too cool to the point of swaggering James Dean-style arrogance.

Who knows? In 15 years from now your kids could be driving you over the edge wearing polyester suits.

This column is the opinion of executive editor, Dennis Wyatt, and does not necessarily represent the opinion of The Bulletin or Morris Newspaper Corp. of CA.  He can be contacted at or (209) 249-3519.