Why Old Men Wear High-Waisted Pants
Quick, think of an old man. Any old man. Your grandfather, maybe.
Now, what do you envision?
Are you picturing someone with gray hair, possibly hunched over, perhaps with a scowl on his face, and definitely with trousers hitched up to his nipples?
If you are, then congratulations, you know how to stereotype elderly people.
But is it really just a stereotype? Or might there actually be some truth behind it? I mean, we’ve all seen the stereotype in real life, right? It’s one of the easiest ways that young’ns can make fun of… um, oldies?
Whenever we see an elderly gentleman who fits the stereotype, we shake our heads, smirk, and think, “Check out that old fart. Look at his horrible fashion sense. Is he just too ignorant to get with the times?”
Well, I had an epiphany recently: Maybe it’s not a lack of fashion sense that dictates what these old men wear. Maybe they’re not too ignorant to get with the times. Maybe they just don’t want to get with the times.
I teach at a continuation high school, which, if you’re not familiar with the concept, is where they send kids who’ve been kicked out of school. As you can probably imagine, our population is… ahem, colorful. Druggies, gangstas, we got ’em all.
Now, in case you aren’t “up” with your gangsta wear (or is it “down? — I can never keep up with directions when it comes to urban lingo), OVERSIZE OVERSIZE OVERSIZE has been the fashion trend for years now. Huge t-shirts that go down to your knees … loose flannels … saggy jeans that hang halfway down your ass, sometimes to the point where the waist is just above your knees …. (Which only begs the question, how do you expect to run from the cops if your jeans are down to your knees?)
Anyway, a couple years ago, I decided it would be funny to dress as a student for Halloween. So, I borrowed some clothes from a buddy who happens to be about 50 pounds heavier and eight inches taller than me. Not surprisingly, his clothes fit me like a gangsta.
I also spiked back my hair, stuck two large adhesive gold stars to my ears as “bling,” and finished the outfit with high-top sneakers and a shoelace belt. Here I am, in all my ghetto glory:
I figured the kids would laugh at my obvious joke, or maybe even get slightly offended at my subtle dig at their style. I wasn’t expecting the actual reception I got, though: The kids loved the outfit.
“Whoa, I thought you were a student for a second!”
“Dude, you look ghetto, man!”
One of my female students even said to me, “Daaaaamn, Dr. Hong. You look dope. How come you don’t dress like that more often?”
Far be it for me to be unappreciative of a compliment from a 15-year-old girl, but my response was simple:
“Because I don’t want to.”
Given my students’ reception of my Halloween outfit, I’d like to believe I have a good grasp of their style. I can dress just like them if I want to.
Yet, I have exactly zero desire to embrace this style. I’d prefer my pants to go up to my waist, like a civilized person, thank you very much. Because that’s what professional fashion dictates nowadays.
And that’s when I had my epiphany: Old people are probably the exact same way. They’re probably thinking, “I’d prefer my pants to go up to my nipples, like a civilized person, thank you very much.”
Because that’s what professional fashion dictated back in the day.
And that’s why I will never again judge an old man for wearing high-waisted pants. May your nipples remain free of chafing, sir!
Dennis blogs here and runs a dating advice site here. He promises to keep his pants up if you follow him on Twitter.