Saturday, February 04, 2006

seriously, I really want to know...

This is a plea to any and everyone who might read this; will someone please explain to me what the deal is with the prevalence of saggy jeans and butt cleavage? Seriously. Ask around. I want to know. The comment box is open.

We all know the look: over-sized pants belted way below the waist, several inches of boxer shorts hanging out (or, as I've noticed recently, both ass cheeks, albeit in boxers, hanging out), crotch located somewhere between the knees. And what about the recent trend in butt cleavage (not just a product of low-rise jeans) among young women? What gives?

I realize that fashion sense among youth is a beast unto itself, but these trends just don't make sense to me. The saggy jean look is not limited to inner-city youth, or youth of a particular ethnic group or income bracket. A cursory search on the web indicates many feel the look was adopted from prison, where men aren't allowed to wear belts, hence the sag. I'm not sure I buy this. Yeah, yeah, we live in a culture that glorifies violence, but whatever. It doesn't follow that kids across America would adopt a prison thug look because thugs are cool. (I get the "I'm tough" thing, but are thugs really cool? So cool that they don't look silly with their butts in the wind?)

Another popularly held theory (again, according to numerous sites & blogs) is that saggy jeans are the product of poor families who can't afford to buy new, well-fitting clothing for their kids. Instead over-sized garments are bought for kids to grow into, or older kids pass their hand-me-downs to younger siblings. Having been a welfare baby myself, I see more truth in this theory. I certainly wore more than my share of ill-fitting (not to mention ghastly, or worse, velour) garments. But does this explain why rich kids whose parents will purchase anything they like are intentionally opting to wear pants that let their butts hang out? (I just saw a rich kid in my Spanish class whose entire ass was sticking out above the belt that barely held his pants on.) Certainly, it's not for comfort. Oh, there may be breathing room for the family jewels, but what about having to walk quickly, or say, step onto and off a bus. It's entertaining to watch, sure, but it's not at all about comfort.

And what about these young girls in their low-slung jeans which hardly keep the goods from popping out when they sneeze. That's not about comfort. It's all fashion. And yes, we live in a culture that over-sexualizes girls at a very early age, and they are taught to proffer themselves and to value their physical characteristics above all else. (Yeah, yeah, things are changing... looked at any beer billboards lately? Or TV commercials? Or the average pop culture rag? They've even got new beauty campaigns targeting men, so that we can undermine their confidence in themselves and teach them to be insecure and inadequate too! Yep, things are changing, but I'm not sure I like where they are going.) But what I want to know is this: have none of these teenage girls ever heard the jokes about plumber's crack? When did butt cleavage become "sexy" instead of gross? If Al, your auto mechanic let's his ass crack hang out, there are snickers and eeeews, but teenage daughters everywhere think it's a fashion statement. Weird.

I am certain of one thing: the butt cleavage phenomenon is not a product of young girls unwittingly walking around with a little extra draft in back. No one, and I mean no one, tries on pants with more meticulousness and attention to fit than a teenage girl. (Bends over, looks at butt, turns, wiggles, sits, stands, struts, poses, ties shoe... how do these fit? Hey [insert best friend's name here], what do you think of these jeans?). So, I cannot accept that a teenage girl puts on a pair of low-rider jeans and then doesn't know that her butt is squeezing out the back when she sits down. It's statistically impossible. Teenage girls know what is going on with their clothing. It's a look that we've somehow accepted. Grown women do it too. And it's not because of the pop icons (think Spears, Aguillera, Shakira, Cameron Diaz, and whomever else) that are dressed in barely there or skin tight clothing, bellies and boobs on display, because their butts are NOT popping out all over. Either they've trained themselves to sit down properly in such jeans, or they just don't sit down in public, because I've yet to see butt cleavage snapped by the paparazzi.

Frankly, most women do not have the derrières most of us would even want to see sausaging its way out of their pants, jeweled thong or not. Same goes for the saggy bottom boys. I just don't have an explanation for that preference. Don't guys know that their butts look better in jeans that fit (not tight jeans, but one's that resemble at all their actual bodily dimensions)? For my part at least, I would prefer to go to lunch (or anywhere) without being visually assaulted by anal cleft, male or female, taut or flabby. I am baffled. Mystified even. So, what's the deal? Where has this come from and WHY, god, WHY is it considered fashionable? Seriously, I really want to know.

Monday, January 30, 2006

exchange number two

The sun is threatening
to burn away all that is
damp or heavy or tired.

It is dangerous to be
so naked and alone.
But we are never
alone. We act
in concert with spring
rising to melt
the cold sparrow

who records the to
and the from, all
our miscalculations—
crickets nearly crushed
underfoot, or a dream
washed neatly away,
but moving like water
trapped beneath ice.
And what is good?
The body needs the sun
and everything that burns.

Well, this is my second poem in this exchange and I'm tired of trying to suss out the source code required to align that last stanza with the rest. So, pretend it's in line with the other stanzas and therefore prettier. I give up.