If saggy pants fall in public and there’s no common sense to pick them up, does society even notice?
Moreover, if underwear were intended to be seen, wouldn’t we call it outerwear?
Is this particularly disgusting and undeniably perplexing fashion trend just a matter of a simple generational divide? Twenty years from now will these same quasi-flashers be busting a three piece sag? I have my doubts.
It is more probable that we could trace the root of this pandemic of baggy britches to those who first neglected the use of the belt – the parents. Somewhere along the line, Mom and Dad replaced the type of familial cowboy diplomacy that was used for so long for a more positive, Obama style, if-I-could-just-talk-to-them method of parenting. My rather unpopular stance is that young people always need a belt, if not one to hold up their shorts, then certainly to hold up their behavior. In most families corporal punishment has gone the way of the dodo bird, and following closely behind can be seen respect for authority. I’ll not be the first, nor should I be the last to say it, but kids have plenty of friends. What they really need are parents. They really need parents who love them enough to keep them in line.
I had a strict disciplinarian as a father. I didn’t always like it then, but I am very thankful now. He demanded the kind of reverence that led me as a young man to ask his permission about getting a tattoo. He asked why and where. I responded with a ridiculous, “Because I really want a tattoo…” and pointed to my left shoulder. Typical.
He replied by reassuring me that I would regret it one day, telling me that he wasn’t paying for it, and thanking me for respecting him enough to talk to him first. For the record, the day of regret came rather too soon than I ever anticipated.
From a very early age I was taught by all adults to say yes sir or ma’am and no sir or ma’am. If I neglected to do so in the presence of my father, I was sure to be picking myself up off the ground. It was a given.
In that day, not very long ago, there were many more societal “givens” than there are today. While there were expectations, they were neither unreasonable nor oppressive. Instead, they were normal, sensical, and purposeful. Eerily similar to belts, these expectations helped both father and son. These expectations of honesty, integrity, and courtesy warded off shame and public humiliation, simultaneously guarding society from being subjected to outward moral deviation.
When it turned from being encouraged to almost criminal to correct children alongside the Hamburger Helper, as barometric pressure drops so did the level of respect for one’s elders. In no certain order, Junior’s grades slipped, then went his pants, and now civility itself slides further and further south. Sadly, because we have criminalized the belt, all we have to look forward to seeing is civilization’s dirty boxer shorts.