Rising Floods

More and more, you see young, evidently fashionable men intentionally wearing long pants that expose not only ankle and sock, but even an expanse of the leg itself. In the vernacular of my youth, such pants were known as “floods,” and you could commit no greater fashion sin—or more readily expose yourself to ridicule—than wearing them. Can it really be that they are fashionable now?

I first learned about floods when I was about 10 years old or so, at the age when you first become dimly —and then pointedly—aware that there apparently is a prevailing approach to the world and if you vary from the acceptable norm you are exposing yourself to uncomfortable mockery. It was about the same time you realized that you might want to plead that your Dad stop giving you a buzz cut with the home barbershop kit he bought and let you go to a licensed professional so you could get a haircut that looked somewhat like what other guys had. But whenever the precise epiphany occurred, at some point the jeering comments and derisive laughter at the fact that your long pants weren’t quite long enough powerfully drove home the point that flood pants are an unforgivable fashion transgression. And ever since I’ve been acutely focused on making sure that any pants I’m wearing brush my shoe tops, if not (in the ‘70s) engulf my shoes altogether in monster bell bottoms.

But fashions change, obviously, and now it is abundantly clear that floods are not the anathema they once were. Maybe male ankle-displaying pant length will capture the culture and be seen everywhere—or maybe they will be as short-lived as past brief fads like Nehru jackets or Earth shoes. But even if floods become the norm, I think my indoctrination has been too strong and too ingrained. I’ll just keep my ankles to myself.

Popping A Button

Last night I had a very good Italian meal. Some fine ravioli for an appetizer, a veal entree, a little wine, and a cup of black coffee. In a nod to notions of physical fitness, I even skipped dessert and walked a number of blocks from the restaurant back to my hotel.

IMG_5923Yet, when I returned to my room, I popped a button on my trousers — and all illusions of trim physical fitness vanished.

Let’s face it. Popping a button on your pants is a tangible, irrefutable demonstration that you need to hit the gym, and hit it hard. It tells you that pants that fit properly once really don’t fit any longer.

The humble button will remain comfortably attached to its binding threads, happy to permanently serve its designated function of keeping items of apparel attached. Buttons become uncomfortable and call attention to themselves only when they are put under enormous tensile strain by expanding human girth. They feel their threads loosening with growing trepidation. The final snap and pop is a button’s last, desperate bid to get the pants wearer to pay attention to the truth about his personal circumstances.

Sigh. A button is telling me it’s time to think about a workout regimen.