This post was intended to be the last of my resolutions posts, something of a collective resolution. But then two more jumped into the hopper. Click over for those in the coming days…
Given that I live in Oakland, I often see young men sporting pants around their thighs. I recently had the uncommon experience of watching a Justin Bieber video and arrived very late to what has become common knowledge, that sagging has become quite the trend. I realize that I’m not alone in my confusion of why boys would want to wear clothing in such a fashion as to render themselves unable to walk, much less take part in any productive activity. When I sit in my car watching our society’s future shuffle to keep up with the snails crossing the street, I wonder what the impact of such a gait pattern must be on their hip joints…and their backs…and their legs. This is what baffles me most about the current style, my profession seeps into every aspect of my life.
I was told that sagging had a practical beginning, in prison where inmates didn’t have belts to hold up their pants. Whatever the origins of this captivating trend, these young men aren’t going anywhere fast. Which reminds me of a point that I’m pretty sure Bill Bryson made in one of his books that I recently read, and that Ben Hewitt also made within the past few months: that in our current societal arrangement teenagers have become our designated specialists in nothing. Which begs the question, if you haven’t got anywhere to go, why not take your time getting nowhere? I find it a pity, all the potential that’s going into holding up pants and possibly causing lifelong physical ailments, rather than doing meaningful work.
I believe that we who are concerned about this fairly extreme fashion statement are being caught in something of a trap. We adults keep wringing our hands trying to convince these kids to pull their pants up, and they keep on doing what they do. I think that the important point of consideration is what might actually be going on with these youth who are catching our attention. I’d like to suggest that perhaps we shift our focus off the pants and back to the people wearing them as well as to ourselves. I’m pretty sure that will give us a fresh perspective on what is happening with these kids and give them some relief in fending off commentary that is tangential to the substantive content of their lives.
I am entertaining the idea, in truth it is based on someone else’s idea that I thought was a good one, that if we all start focusing a little bit more on the content of our dreams and the contributions the we all can make to the greater whole, we’ll be thinking more about the work that needs doing rather than a fleeting fashion trend. Maybe this annoying trend is offering us an opportunity to redirect our focus back onto each other rather than the clothes that we wear. Or we could keep it simple and look at the situation from a purely mechanical perspective, it’s a pretty sure bet that once these kids of ours have some purposeful work to get done, their pants will rise. Because it’s downright impossible to get anything done with your pants around your thighs.