Do you have ants in your pants today? Fly by the seat of your pants? Have you recently spooked (or annoyed) someone’s pants or maybe been caught with your pants down? Oh good? “No”, you say. Well maybe you’re a liar liar, pants on fire!
What’s wrong with pants anyway? Why is any reference to pants a little more of a “zinger” than any other piece of clothing? I mean, would the talking square sponge that lives in a pineapple under the sea be even remotely the same if its name was Spongebob Squaresuitjacket? If I called you ‘smart socks’ or ‘fancy sweater’, that just wouldn’t be the same kick in the parka, would it?
Celebrities embrace pants. Legendary Late Night host David Letterman’s production company is Worldwide Pants. Popular actress Tina Fey’s autobiographical comedy book is called Bossypants. And who can forget the infamous song and dance number that Jennifer Lopez and Jimmy Fallon did on her TV show called Put on your tight pants? And they certainly did – giving millions of viewers some definite feelings about who looks good in tight pants and who doesn’t, if you understand my drift.
And who among us hasn’t referenced that tough guy down the street who hates your cat like Mr. Grumpypants? I know I have.
Well, we all put our pants on one leg at a time, as they say, so there’s no point putting twisted panties on top of an item of clothing. But – underwear – there’s now a piece of clothing that makes sweatpants look like cropped shorts.
Do you remember elementary school recess? “Hey, I’m going to hide under there!” (Pause for response.) Haha, I just made you say “underwear“!” Don’t growl, the excellent Canadian rock band Barenaked Ladies had the exact same words in one of their most popular songs. (Pinch me) so it’s not just me who’s typically juvenile. If I was a kid, I’d make special mention of this men’s recreational pastime called “Gauchee Pull,” right?
No, the whole subject of underwear really kicks things up a notch so to speak. It is a sensitive subject for some, a serious subject for others. ‘I Have No Respect’ guy Rodney Dangerfield said, “This morning when I put my underwear on, I heard the fruit of the trade guys laughing at me.” Woody Allen: “I don’t believe in the afterlife, even if I bring a change of underwear.” And if you want song lyrics, how about Bryan Adams: “I swear, I wanna be your underwear.” Eww, Bryan, just, eww.
But I suspect underwear has become much more relevant to all of us during the cursed lockdown. As cartoonist Gary (Doonesbury) Trudeau said, “I finally found a job I could do in my underwear.” (Now we can all relate. It’s called “Working from Home”.)
But all of this sensitive discussion of draping inner and outer garments down to the waist made me think of a rather baffling article I read in the mighty Attorney sometime ago. Disconcertingly, he said the Norwegian army had ordered its soldiers to turn in their underwear so that the next batch of recruits could wear them. I don’t know about you, but I don’t think I have that much faith in laundry detergent. Plus, the wrong pair of underwear can completely ruin your day.
Speaking of dirty laundry, former 1st Lady Michelle Obama once said, “Don’t judge. I used to buy underwear because I didn’t do my laundry.
And finally, if we ever find ourselves with our pants down, let’s not forget: you can tell a lot about a person from their underwear.
Harley Hay is an author and filmmaker from Red Deer. Send him a column idea at [email protected]