Opinion Matters

With Gazette Opinion Editor Greg Peck

About those saggy pants

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Greg Peck
Monday, June 17, 2013

I realize everyone has their own taste in fashion. I wouldn’t consider wearing some flashy tattoo on bare arms. I would never wear shorts or sneakers to church.

My dad despises it when guys wear ball caps backward. I see nothing wrong with it, and in fact one of my stepsons wears his backward regularly.

To each his own, for the most part. However, I just don’t get the trend of saggy pants.

As an Associated Press story in The Gazette reported last week, wearing your pants too low in a New Jersey shore resort town is about to get expensive. Wildwood passed a law banning overly saggy pants. It will fine violators between $25 and $200. It prohibits pants that droop 3 inches below the waist and expose skin or underwear (Who’s going to measure that? I wonder.).

Mayor Ernest Troiano says many longtime visitors have complained about having to look at people’s rear ends “hanging out” while walking the boardwalk, the AP reported. The ban will only cover—pardon the pun—those on the boardwalk and takes effect July 3. Wildwood visitor Frank Krueger says he prefers a “family atmosphere.” His wife, Denise, called saggy pants “disgusting.”

Civil libertarians say the law likely will be overturned as unconstitutional if it’s challenged in court.

I thought of this story Saturday while at Janesville’s Palmer Park with my grandson, who was bouncing around CAMDEN Playground. A young man was taking photos of a little girl, toddler age, sitting in a swing. I can only assume he was the child’s father. The thing was, not only were his pants sagging, the back side was hanging completely below his buttocks, exposing his boxer underwear. At one point, he pulled up his pants, but his pockets looked full of whatever, and his pants shortly resumed their low-hanging position. Even if you follow this “fashion trend,” I don’t understand how anyone can be comfortable walking around with pants hanging that low.

In case you were wondering how this trend got started, it apparently began in prisons, though Snopes.com disputes that it was meant to signal homosexual availability between inmates. Instead, Snopes says inmates had ill-fitting garb and, for safety reasons, didn’t get belts that might have helped hold up their pants. Snopes also disputes the notion that gangs adopted the style to better conceal weapons. Snopes does suggest, however, that rap stars have helped spread the trend and that females sometimes wear saggy pants, as well (you might have noticed).

Greg Peck can be reached at (608) 755-8278 or gpeck@gazettextra.com. Or follow him on Twitter or Facebook

Last updated: 8:23 am Monday, July 29, 2013

Greg Peck can be reached at (608) 755-8278 or gpeck@gazettextra.com. Or follow him on Twitter or Facebook.

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