Thursday, September 07, 2006

Much Ado About Pants

Originally uploaded by dangunderman.
Welcome back, dear B&E readers. By welcoming you back, of course, I welcome myself back from yet another trip that took me through heightened security.

Air travel is often the source of material (see Airplane, Airport, Top Gun, and Red Eye, among many others), and my flight back to New York from London offered a curious anecdote that caps off a couple of weeks of pants-prominence.

I'm seated next to a nervous flyer. She's sandwiched between me and a smelly man. Poor woman. About two hours into the flight, Nervous Flyer and Smelly Man both get up to use the toilet. When Nervous Flyer returns, figuring I was up anyway, I take care of business also. When I get back to my seat, Smelly Man still hasn't returned.

"This might sound a little strange," Nervous Flyer says to me, "but the man next to me took his pants off." I must be giving her a perplexed look. "I felt him shift and bounce, and then I saw his bare leg exposed from under the blanket." I still have nothing to say, so she adds, "And he went all the way to the back of the plane to use the bathroom and hasn't come back."

"He had his pants on when he went to the bathroom, right?"

I don't know why that seems relevant, and obviously I would've noticed if a pants-less man had gotten out of his seat. But I really don't know what else to say to her. And I'm still trying to figure out if she thinks he was keeping a bomb in his ass that he is now assembling in the lavatory, or if she is simply disgusted by the thought of Smelly Man masturbating in the back of the plane.

My lack of response is clearly disappointing to Nervous Flyer, and by this point, she's white-knuckling the arm rest. Nervousness can be contagious, of course, so now my mind is racing at all of the things Smelly Man could be doing in the bathroom. And I never would've expected that semi-public masturbation would be the best scenario.

Nervous Flyer finally says, "I'm telling someone. I don't know what I'm going to say, and they're going to think I'm crazy, but I'm telling someone something."

I let her out, but she's back immediately. "OK, he's just standing back there." I still don't know if she's worried about bombings or diddlings, but somehow seeing him standing in the galley eases her fear. And we watch X-Men 3.

Smelly Man returns to his seat ten minutes before landing. The missus thinks maybe he wet himself (she's still in Scotland, by the way). But the smell of Smelly Man was BO, not urine. So why he needed to take off his pants in our row, then stand in the galley for six hours will remain a mystery.

But as long as I'm on the subject of pants...

While visiting the missus' godparents, we played the consistently entertaining game of comparing dialects. In Great Britain, where they speak the Queen's English, pants means underpants. And trousers are pants. Bum means fanny, and fanny means female genitalia. So when the daughter of the family put on her best American accent (which wasn't terribly good) and asked, "Do these pants make my fanny look big?" much laughter was had by all.

"Pants" is clearly a comedy word in both versions of English. I once wrote a comedy sketch about a patient whose therapist didn't wear pants. The set-up was funny, sure, but somehow, repeating "pants" over and over and over just kept making the sketch funnier and funnier and funnier. That David Letterman's production company is called "Worldwide Pants" must prove something about "pants" being a funny word. Heh. Pants...

But even before the trip, pants were becoming a serious issue in my life. I've spent the past five years working from home. My attitude has often been, "Why put on pants when I don't have to?"

Well, as I've mentioned, I've been looking for work. In most work environments, pants are compulsory. Now that I've found and accepted a job, I will once again be a daily pants wearer. In some ways I feel I'm growing up. In other ways, putting on pants every day feels like a step backwards. I thought my pants-wearing days were behind me. I will once again be working for The Man, and The Man requires pants.

Fortunately, however, I can wear the pants of my choice. I don't need to wear The Man's pants. My Carhartt's are good enough. And actually, I'm not really working for The Man, as I will be the only man in the office. And besides, it's a place that works solely with the nonprofit sector. Still, I'll have to wear my nonprofit pants every day.

And this brings me to the final pants-relevant news of the day. While searching for my pants image to go along with my pants post, I made a startling and pleasant discovery...

No Pants Day is May 4, 2007. Yahtzee.

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At 9:09 AM , Anonymous binx said...

congratulations on the new job, you pantswearer, you!

At 10:52 PM , Blogger Ali said...

Okay, dude, many questions:

A) What were you doing in Scotland again? Weren't you just there, like, recently?

B) What's the job?

C) What the hell was no-pants-man DOING BACK THERE?

These are the questions that haunt me.


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