#938 Sweatpants aka track pants aka jogging pants

Hot to trot

Once upon a time, I used to work on a college newspaper. The paper was halfway-decent, with some really strong writers, editors, and layouters. And it turned into a really tight-knit group — probably the result of a lot of late nights spent together drunk on Country-Time Lemonade and laser printer fumes.

Now, when I first joined the paper I remember hearing the cool senior kids using some phrases my friends and I never used in high school. For instance, whenever you asked someone to do something that wasn’t their responsibility, they’d just reply “Not my pants!” and walk away. Since it was pretty hard to enforce serious accountability amongst a bunch of volunteer college slackers on Sunday night at 11:30pm, you’d usually just end up doing the job yourself — the unrevised article replaced by a recipe off the Internet, the Editor’s reply to a scathing letter replaced by a photocopy of a hippo.

One day I made the mistake of asking how the phrase “Not my pants!” originated. The story I heard was delivered third- or fourth-hand, but it is painful and scars me to this day. It went something like:

“Well, one night my roommate was sitting on the couch watching reruns on TV wearing a big pair of baggy sweatpants owned by my other roommate. It was really late, he was really tired, and the only thing keeping him up was the fact that he really had to go to the bathroom. Yeah, number two. So anyway, he’s sitting there, really not wanting to get up, and eventually, in a tired, fuzzy head-daze he just says to himself ‘Awwww, not my pants’, and proceeds to go to the bathroom right there… in the pants.”

Yes, folks, that’s the story. Believe me, I don’t like sharing it with you and I had some doubts about whether or not I should. But now that it’s out there, you all know a memory that I’m forced to live with for the rest of my life. I guess the moral of the story is never lend anyone your sweatpants. Because lady, those things are just so comfortable that whoever you lend them to might not get up to go to the bathroom. For real.

Yes, old, faithful sweatpants. So comfortable, yet so risky for wearing out of the house. Seriously, how many of you would pull off The Sweatpant Look next time you were going out to a movie or the grocery store? I bet not too many, despite the fact that sweatpants are God’s Gift To Legs and they’re just so simple and practical. I mean, for instance:

  • No need for a belt. You just toss ’em on and you’re good to go. Just think: if we all switched to sweatpants, we’d render the belt obsolete. No more belts! Gone, just like that, forever replaced by a superior technology: the elastic waistband.
  • Easy to turn into shorts. You just roll them right on up and you’re good. That’s right: Instant shpants. Now that’s flexibility. A side benefit is that they don’t look terrible, unlike rolled up suitpants or rolled up tight, white jeans.
  • Stretchiness. Have you ever heard someone say “I lost thirty pounds! I had to buy all new clothes!” I have, too. And have you ever heard someone say “There was a sale on Ben & Jerry’s last week and now none of my clothes fit me!” Me neither, but you know that’s going on, too. The point is that most clothes aren’t that stretchy, so if the size of you changes, so does the size of your clothes. And that usually means you have to go buy more. But guess what? You don’t need to buy new sweatpants! Yes, sweatpants are like the caring, understanding, stretchy friend in your closet. They’ll just wrap themselves around you comfortably, whatever size you are. Thanks, pal.
  • Warmth. Hey, when you’re walking around in your beltless shpants, it’s easy to overlook one of the key sweatpant features. That’s right, folks, I’m talking about warmth. I mean, there’s a reason they’re not called shiverpants.
  • Relatively cheap. What is up with the price of pants? You’d think we’re buying bald-eagle-head-encrusted cashmere-infused Kobe leather trousers judging by the price of some of these things. I mean, they’re pants! Keep them affordable, people. We don’t got cash. Have you taken a look at the economy lately? Everyone’s broke! That’s why it’s all about the sweatpants. A side benefit is that they rarely change color or style, so you can use them for years to come without worry. Remember, when it comes to sweatpants, gray is the new gray.

So let’s sit back and smile and slow smile, nod a slow nod, and clap a slow clap. Let’s raise our drinks, then clink them, then drink them. Yes, let’s give cheers to sweatpants. Let’s say thank you sweatpants, for everything you do, on behalf of the world’s hot, comfortable legs.


Photos from: here, here, and here