Charita Goshay: No one's wearing the pants, and that's the problem
In Brooklyn, New York state Sen. Eric Adams has launched a campaign to stop the inexplicably stubborn fad of young men wearing their pants below the belt, so to speak.
Adams’ argument is that it reinforces negative stereotypes, particularly for young black men, and celebrates a culture born in the prison yard, where inmates aren’t permitted to wear belts.
Previous measures have been proposed, unsuccessfully, to make it illegal to wear your trousers so low that your underwear is exposed. Apart from the obvious constitutional arguments regarding personal freedom, such a law severely could impact the quality of life for thousands of plumbers, grandpas and refrigerator repairmen. It also would make it more difficult for cops to catch suspects dumb enough to commit crimes wearing pants in which they can’t run.
Experience shows us that time eventually takes care of bad fashion choices, but that doesn’t seem to be the case for saggy pants; they won’t go away.
I heard one young man argue that his saggy jeans are no different than the Afros and platform shoes we wore in the 1970s. He’s absolutely right, but here’s the thing: We looked ridiculous, too; we just didn’t know it.
When the black exploitation cheapo flick “Superfly” hit the screens in 1972, a lot of black men ran out and bought pastel, polyester floor-length coats and matching fedoras just like the film’s protagonist. Then they made the mistake of walking past a mirror.
Who knows how many women fell from platform shoes that even the bride of Frankenstein wouldn’t have been caught wearing?
From leisure suits to rainbow suspenders, we looked silly in the 1970s, and yes, our Afros may have been off-putting to the Old School. But the difference between then and now is, adults weren’t afraid of us. However tacky, we were going for “cool,” not “convict.”
Perhaps the reason some young men are walking around looking like toddlers and yard gnomes is because they fear adulthood. So many lack the presence of a man, so there’s really no way to figure it out. They’re turning to the popular culture, which distorts and exaggerates the meaning of manhood to a cartoonish degree.
Still, if you’re closing in on 30, or if you’re a dad who’s still rocking the saggy look, you might want to rethink it, because there’s nothing more embarrassing to a child than a father who thinks he’s still hip.
Saggy-pant parenthood is on par with bumping your minivan stereo, or street-racing in a car that has a “Baby On Board” window shade. Let it go, Daddy-O.
Charita Goshay writes for The Repository in Canton, Ohio. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.