Barry Saunders

August 24, 2014

Saunders: Hey, Selma residents, pull your britches up

Although some of you may think that attacking people who wear low-hanging pants seems like going after low-hanging fruit on the political scale, I think Selma Town Councilman William Overby deserves credit for trying.

Let’s hear it for Selma Town Councilman William Overby, the Mr. Blackwell of Johnston County.

The late Mr. Blackwell was renowned as the fashion arbiter of the upper class, and once a year he’d come out with a list of the worst- and best-dressed celebrities.

Councilman Overby’s effort to be the fashion arbiter in his town ended last week when he tabled a proposal that would ban men and women from slouching – they certainly aren’t walking – around with their pants hanging off their butts and their Fruit of the Looms visible to anyone unfortunate enough to be in the same area code as they.

Credit for trying

Although some of you may think that attacking people who wear low-hanging pants seems like going after low-hanging fruit on the political scale, I think Overby deserves credit for trying.

He told me last week that he was dropping the bill to ban sagging “after I talked to the town attorney and the mayor.” The ban would’ve probably been unenforceable and, according to Mayor Cheryl Oliver, determining if pants were hanging off someone’s waist, impractical.

“Where is a person’s waist?” Oliver asked in a previous N&O story. “We don’t want to get into it.”

Why not? Arming people with tape measures to ensure that pants were not hanging off their hips could have created scores of jobs in the town, and enforcing the ban wouldn’t be impossible, as Mayor Oliver presumes. You know how when the red-light camera catches you and the city sends you a nice little ticket in the mail with a picture of your automobile actually blowing through a traffic light?

Selma could do the same thing with sagging pants: On Aug.15 at 7:45 p.m., you were observed walking down the 200 block of McDowell Street with your drawers showing. Please pay $50 by Sept. 19 or the amount of the fine will double. And cut it out.

Who likes this?

Over the years that this antifashion trend has existed, I’ve heard from an unusual group that defends and actually encourages it: cops.

Years ago, when Atlanta’s City Council tried to implement such a ban, police officers protested. I’ve also talked to several Triangle officers who don’t want to see such a ban, either.

Why? Are they joining with the ACLU to protest the assault on civil liberties and free expression?

Heck no. Cops know it’s easier to apprehend fleeing suspects who are clutching their pants to prevent them from drooping to their ankles.

Many years ago, some in the gay community came down hard on your faithful correspondent for suggesting, as others have, that the style started in prison among male inmates advertising their availabilty for sexual liasons.

Whether that’s true or false is of no consequence: What is of consequence is that guys who walk around intentionally displaying their BVDs look like morons.

They’re not the only ones, though, and we should hope that some intrepid politician will some day introduce a bill banning other fashion faux pas.

For instance, can’t somebody propose a bill outlawing Crocs?

How about one banning skinny jeans on anyone who isn’t 18, a hipster and has a size 28-waist?

A ban on grown men who mistakenly think it gives them that Peter Pan, eternally young quality to wear baseball caps turned backward would be much appreciated by society. C’mon, dudes. Are we all 12 years old — or just want to be?

Banished to the same island for fashion misfits are the men who, under the same misconception that it bestows upon them an air of youthful insouciance, wear their shirt tails sticking out from under their sweaters on purpose, you know what I’m saying?

A ban on people who ask: “Know what I’m saying?”

And one on jerseys.

Don’t get too smug, there, ladies. Some of you commit fashion faux pas that the council or someone should take steps to ban, too.

Take leggings and yoga pants. Please. When it comes to yoga pants – all that needs to be said is “K.Y.B.” Know your body. You know whether or not you should be wearing them.

Or perhaps you don’t. That’s why we need laws.

The ubiquitous style creates a safety hazard when callipygian women saunter by in yoga pants and men end up running off the road or walking into fountains.

Steatopygous women create a different, although equally dangerous, situation.

Because of the questionable legality and impracticality involved, there appears no way to prevent slovenly slackers from traipsing around Selma, displaying underpants of questionable cleanliness.

If only there were a way to impress upon them the impression they’re giving everyone else.

Hmmm. I know: The town could hang mirrors throughout so they could see just how ridiculous they appear to others – because anyone who leaves home looking like some of these guys obviously has no looking glass at home.

If they did, they’d have never left.

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