It always used to be the phrase from my mothers generation to mine – she said, sounding ridiculously old all of a sudden just because she couldnt think of a better opening line – if, perhaps they thought you should have tried harder or done better, or perhaps behaved in some other way that suggested your socks were less than taut:
Pull your socks up, they would say.
And you would be able to go on your way knowing that next time you would perform better because your advisor had so succinctly pinpointed the problem (loose socks).
Its trousers, now.
And believe me, the phrase PULL YOUR TROUSERS UP is never far from my lips. It was never far when I lived on the shores of the English channel, and is even more often there now I live on edge of the Pacific ocean. I never say it, though, obviously. Because common wisdom says that people with their trousers halfway down their legs are either mad or very dangerous.
Or having a poo, I suppose.
But you dont meet many of them on the street. One hopes.
Its a modern Gangster look. As adopted by old school rap artists and their colleagues, by the truly tough at heart, and by those who really want people to think theyre tough. Even though theyre not. Really. At all.
The teenagers of Hassocks were well into it.
The trousers have to be pulled quite a way down the legs, the waistband (the term waist here used in the loosest possible sense: literally) nestling somewhere around the mid-thigh. Its called sagging. Never say I dont do research for my blog. I totally looked it up on wikipedia and EVERYTHING. The trousers top off half way up their thigh, but far above, their boxer shorts rise. All the way up to wear they should normally go. around the waist. Where trousers are.
Some say its representative of a certain toughness borne out of urban poverty (the We were so poor I had to wear my big brothers hand-me-downs and I had to learn to fend for myself effect. Though on reflection you could probably stick a motherfucker! on the end there for good measure, why not) – the other root source is said to be prison clothing, where they take away your belt just in case you hang yourself.
The funny thing is, the boys round here who follow the fashion – and there are many many many – wear belts. They wear belts, which sit around the top of their jeans, at mid thigh-level, not actually doing a job. Just being weight that serves only to pull their jeans further down, which, frankly, is fair enough, because theyre Being Worn WRONG. In order to counter this effect, many young men are forced to walk down the street – limping slightly (as they will, its apparently a sign that denotes having simply ginormous balls and a penis the size of a Viennetta, though its easily confused with skipping down the street because youre pretending youre Strawberry Shortcake in your head and singing the theme from Heidi but, you know, they try not to think about that reading too much) and also HOLDING UP THEIR TROUSERS WITH ONE HAND.
Im not sure if I can say this strongly enough: If youre having to hold your trousers up with your hand even though youre wearing a belt, you are officially Doing It Wrong.
I dont know if youre reading this, saggy-boys. This probably isnt your kind of blog; we don share much common ground – I spend a lot of time talking about cultural differences and social observations; you spend a lot of time HOLDING YOUR TROUSERS UP WITH ONE HAND.
Do you see what the difference is there? Im able to do stuff, because MY trousers are staying up without my direct intervention. Its like they were MADE to do that.
Of course, people are sometimes wary of these boys with their half-empty attitude to trousers. They feel that they are in some way scary, or threatening, that they are not only intending to demonstrate their toughness/criminality through their clothing, that they may lend action to this later on to demonstrably prove their toughness.
Now answer me this: What the fuck are they going to do to you?
Seriously. Their legs are half bound by heavy denim. What the hell can they POSSIBLY do to harm you or anyone else?
They might have a gun tucked in their waistband, I suppose. But then, by the time theyve bent all the way down there to get it, you could probably have kneed them in the face. Or at least run away shouting Hay-elp! HAY-ELP! like Penelope Pitstop.
What else? Yes, they could steal your handbag, perhaps.
But only with one hand, and then waddle off down the street at a slow to moderate pace, handbag under one arm, other hand gripping their useless knee-belt, while you phone the police. And, maybe, if you cant get through, phone the police in the next town, who might have to drive fifteen miles or so and then get stuck in a traffic jam and STILL pick him up before he gets to the next block, because the fuckwits got a belt around his knees and is running bent double because apparently he doesnt want them to fall down.
Thats another thing I dont quite get, here.
Apparently theyre forced to keep a hand constantly to the waist band so their trousers dont fall down. The boys waiting for a bus at the end of our street, all of them about fourteen or fifteen, with trouser-malfunctions and intense pride in that, pass the time waiting for the bus taking turns ganging up and pulling each others trousers down.
And oh the shame and the laughter and the humiliation when they do.
But. Um. Are your trousers not down already?
I can see your undercrackers. Is that not what people would usually be trying to protect?
Have we suddenly entered a new weird semi-Victorian age where the ankles are, once more, a truly sexual body part to be hidden at all costs? Or is it the knees?
Other than that, Im a bit stuck as to the threateningness of it – and it IS threatening, apparently, whole cities and states have banned it, see that Wikipedia article I tirelessly looked up (but cant be arsed to link to again, obv) for reference.
But I just cant feel threat. The only threat I feel is the threat of not being able to hold it in one day and just blurting out For the Love of CHRIST you look like an absolute TOOL! Just Pull Your TROUSERS UP! Is it that hard to comprehend how they work?
And then the look on the morons face will turn overcast and stormy, and I will suddenly sense he is going to run after me and commit shennanigans. And I will run away. And then stop and wait for him because hes trying to hold his trousers up at the same time, poor lamb, and its not going to be a fair race otherwise. And then I will run again. And then I will stop again. And then I will run again.
Until I get bored.
Either that or I could just make some leaflets about the mechanics of clothing and pass them out.
I do hope Im not being culturally insensitive, am I?
Because Ive encountered trouser-fucktards of all creeds and colours, and I think theyre ALL idiots, please trust me on that.
Theyre idiots, every one.
Are you reading, by some fluke? You, with half-mast kecks?
Then yes. Yes, I mean you.
Pull your damn trousers up.