Home Columns A State of Mind State of Mind: Bad Moon Rising?*

State of Mind: Bad Moon Rising?*

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(*Apologies to Creedence Clearwater Revival)

OK, I think I’ve made a decision. I am going to refuse to wear pants for the duration of this pandemic. I have a number of reasons for this decision.

First of all, is wearing pants really effective? Am I really better off wearing pants? The evidence here is mixed. What do pants really do except cover my bare bottom? Well, okay, maybe sitting on a cold Naugahyde sofa or a vinyl car seat that’s been in the sun for two hours is easier if I’m wearing pants, but what else?

Second, the protocols for wearing pants are kind of fuzzy. What authority says I have to wear pants and why? And those protocols change for different cultures around the world and maybe even different parts of our own country; it might be okay to not wear pants here in Vermont, but it could be a different story in the second first republic, Texas. It’s very confusing.

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Third, there is the freedom issue. Just like everybody else, I was born without pants. It was my mother who slapped some pants on me without my consent. Now, as an adult, I can choose not to wear them. Plus, I have the right to not wear them. There is nothing in the Constitution that specifically says I have to wear pants, and my right to free expression is protected by the Bill of Rights.

I realize not wearing pants could make some people sick, but nausea is their problem, not mine, and most people recover from it. 

Fourth, I can’t catch a cold, the flu, or even the coronavirus from sitting on respiratory virus particles with bare skin. It’s an impossibility. And is a cold, flu, or COVID really that bad? Some people say no. Besides, that has nothing to do with my decision.

Fifth, wearing pants is uncomfortable and restrictive. This is especially true of blue jeans before they have been washed about 30 times. And some of my pants are very tight around the waist, making it hard to breathe. It’s much more comfortable to not wear them. Nobody likes to wear pants when working out.

Sixth, it’s discriminatory. In the U.S., guys are expected to wear pants, but women can wear pants OR skirts. Where’s the fairness in that? In other parts of the world guys wear other forms of dress instead of pants, and in some tropical places they hardly wear anything at all (the Yali men of New Guinea only wear a thin gourd called a koteka, which they  . . . nevermind!). 

Seventh, I’m not contagious for anything, so my not wearing pants is not a risk for other people, especially if I maintain social distancing. And, believe me, people will tend to remain socially distant if I’m not wearing pants. 

Eighth, it’s manly to risk going without pants. Do you remember the locker room in high school phys ed? Going around without pants in the locker room could invite a pop with a wet towel. Neil, the quarterback of our football team, once got popped pretty good, but he didn’t even flinch and said, “Never touched me!” as he walked away with a big red welt forming on his backside. That, in my book, was manly. 

Ninth, wearing pants has become politicized. Not so much the wearing of pants, but the type of pants you wear. My grandad wore OshKosh bib overalls every day except to church on Sundays. If that tells you something of where he came from, you’d be right. Nowadays, a lot of guys who wear chinos won’t talk to guys who wear Carhartt pants with a hammer loop and vice versa, and guys who wear Brooks Brothers suits won’t talk to either group. By not wearing pants at all I refuse to be part of that game. 

Last, wearing pants, in my estimation, hides some beautiful parts of my body. I won’t go on about that.

So guys, lose those pants and join me. I won’t be hard to spot. I’ll be the one not wearing pants. But I’m not stupid. I will be wearing a face mask. I hope you do the same.