Dear America: Let It Go About Sagging Pants
Whether you're sitting in an independent coffee shop sipping a drink whose name has a Scrabble score in the triple digits, knocking back mass-produced beer in a dive club or merely taking time out of your soccer momming to head to the grocery store for Funyuns, there is apparently a universal experience that unites Americans across all social strata. What's this? A young man walks by and the waistline of his pants is precariously situated below his derriere, his brightly hued underwear majestically coloring the very air around him? My God, you thunk (Thug/punk? No? Fine, hooligan, then), have you no sense of decency? No self-respect?
Of course you didn't know it. It's not true.
And then you take a deep breath and form an all-caps cry of "PULL UP YOUR PANTS!" with utter certainty that the country, the President (No, really) and certainly Football Hero Jesus himself are firmly in agreement with you on the amount of disdain a person who sags deserves.
Well, one person isn't with you anymore. America? If you are still complaining about saggy pants, then you, my weirdly fixated and judgmental friends, are part of the problem. For every one of you who screams "PULL UP YOUR PANTS!" I am now going to scream "GET SOME BUSINESS AND START MINDING IT!"
Because, no joke, sagging pants are illegal in parts of America now. Are you hearing me, libertarians and ACLU members and regular old freedom-loving Americans? Sagging pants, a fashion, a mode of dress and a form of personal expression that hurts exactly no one, is against the law in places simply because it annoys some people. This isn't something we're foisting off on students in schools, by the way. We're talking about fully grown, taxpaying adult people being needlessly bothered by actual city governments over, and I can't stress this enough, pants.
I mean, I can walk (and have) through the largest mall in Houston with a tank top that said "Get the fuck away from me" and received a grand total of zero tasings or even polite requests to change my attire or leave. I could do that tomorrow in a mall full of kids and even hosting an active playground and no one will bat a single eye. If I shrug my jeans down a little, though? People will cross the hall to get away from me.
Last year Wildwood, New Jersey, voted unanimously to institute a ban on sagging pants and skirts that it deemed too short. In a move that is somehow related to tourist dollars, offenders who sag their pants, or in women's case, offend the fragile male gaze with too much thigh or cleavage showing, face $25 to $200 fines and 40 hours of community service.
Or how about up Fort Worth way, where sagging pants can get you banned from public transportation. You know, the buses that we freakin' pay for as citizens of a municipality? Joan Hunter, communications manager for the Fort Worth Transportation Authority, was quoted in that linked story as saying, "Riders don't want to see a person dressed like that on a public bus. Our customers think it's disrespectful."
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