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I don’t want to see your butt, but I’ll defend your right to show it

Submitted by on Sunday, 12 April 2009 No Comment
sagging_pantsHow low should  sagging pants go? It's the type of debate that always erupts when fashion trends butt into generational sensibilities.

I'll admit, rear views exposed in public bother me, whether it's a woman whose rump cleavage displays a thong or a man who missed the memo emphasizing the "under" part of "underwear."

I saw a guy in his early 20s at McDonald's last week whom I wanted to offer to buy a belt. He was with a toddler, so I assumed his jeans were four inches below his BVDs because he'd recently lost weight and couldn't afford new jeans.

And I have a friend who, back when the trend was new and we assumed it'd be over by now, quickly broke her teen's droopy-drawers habit by handing him two bags of groceries to carry as soon as she got home. He'd make it halfway up the drive before rushing red-faced into the house with his pants around his ankles.

It makes me wonder why the goths can't loan the saggers a few chains to help them keep everything in place. And keep everyone out of jail.

In Riviera Beach, Fla., a town of less than 30,000 just north of Palm Beach, 15 to 20 people have been arrested in less than a year for violating an ordinance that outlaws wearing pants that show skin or underwear in public.



"I am thankful to the people who came out and voted their conscience and defined what is indecent in our city," Mayor Thomas Masters told the Palm Beach Post after 72 percent of the town's voters got behind the plan in a March 2008 election.

Riviera Beach is not the only town to take a crack at the problem. In Flint, Mich., being caught with your pants partly down also is cause for arrest.

“Some people call it a fad,” Police Chief David Dicks told the Detroit Free Press. “But I believe it’s a national nuisance. It is indecent and thus it is indecent exposure, which has been on the books for years.”

Bet it's hard to get help with clogged toilets in either of those towns. Joe the Plumber easily could make more than enough to pay off his taxes if he's willing to relocate.

It makes me wonder, though, if anyone in charge in those cities has ever wrangled a toddler. The quickest way to encourage continued bad behavior, particular of the minor annoyance variety, is to harp on it.

Same with teens. The more my mom carped about worldly evils such as eye makeup, the more determined I was to blow a paycheck at the drug store the second I left for college.

In Riviera Beach, the law is facing a legal challenge on constitutional freedom of speech grounds. The Palm Beach Post reports that the city's case is sagging. A public defender in the case wrote a brief siting a U.S. Supreme Court decision that called the right to dress "perhaps a trivial form of personal liberty, but a liberty nonetheless.

He's right. And it seems that in most places in this country, the police have enough to worry about without turning into the fashion police as well.

Copyright 2009 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.

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