All right, folks. It’s question time.
Do you ever have one of those days where for some strange reason you can not get a rather inane query out of your head? Just to be clear, that’s not actually my question. Just one of those annoying rhetoricals that regardless of how you answer can not keep me from blabbering on.
The point is, I had one of those days today. And it was a question that has haunted me similarly on past such days. A question I do believe will continue to irk my brain until we do something about it.
Why, in the world, are we still calling the garment we place on our lower halves a “pair of pants?”
Not why we did originally. That makes sense to me. Pantaloons were made up of two unjoined legs. You wanted your whole lower half covered? You needed a pair of them. Great.
But why are we still doing it?
I’ve received varying answers over the years when I’ve railed at whoever would listen.
“It’s just what we’ve always called them.”
Hey, I love traditions as much as the next gal. Believe me. But it seems we didn’t care quite enough about it to keep calling them pantaloons. So if your argument is simply that we are slaves to custom, then you really shouldn’t be half-assing it. Tell me that you’re going out to pick up a new pair of denim pantaloons and I might put more stock in this statement.
“People are too used to it. It’ll never change.”
Humans not only created the original leg coverings, but then later on decided, “You know what? This whole two separate things held together by a belt is annoying. Let’s just add a piece on top and make it one thing. Maybe then I’ll stop misplacing that damn right pantaloon,” and made it happen. And then they went further and made these mystical objects in a wonderful variety of materials. Corduroy! Denim! Linen! Velour! Let’s make them really flared on the bottom! Nope, sick of that. Let’s make them so tight on the bottom that it’s hard to wear even ankle socks! How about a few regularly cut ones for the rest of us? We can make those too? Perfect!
Humans can do all that, along with a couple other things over the course of history, but we don’t have the get-up-and-go to alter the way we talk about something?
Of course, even this excuse is better than the one that I receive the vast majority of the time:
“Well, you’ve got two legs, don’t you?”
Let’s, for the sake of expediency, put aside the bizarre implications of this statement if we extend it out to why in all of hell we refer to our lower undergarment as a “pair of underwear.” Well, expediency and the fact that I’m not actually comfortable asking if any of you have more than one ass.
So, yes, I do have two legs. I also have two arms, which are often covered by sleeves. However, the garment the sleeves are attached to is called a shirt. Singular. I don’t get up in the morning and pull on my shirts. Well, I mean….I do if I’m layering, I guess. But you get what I’m saying.
Now, for the ladies reading, let us consider our upper undergarment. Yes, there are two cups, but when sewn together, they become a bra. Again singular, despite also being able to boast that it covers something of which I have more than one.
And for today’s final example of why this argument is the height of ridiculousness,* I offer you a picture of me this past Christmas:
Yes, envy and awe are the correct emotions with
which to view this photo.
This garment covers everything with the exception of my hands and head. Despite this, we refer to in the singular. Further, we are so enamored with the marvel of this singularity, we have built it right into the name.
And if we can do that for this article of clothing, taking into account all it covers, I do not ever again want to hear that they are called pants because I have two legs.
Now, I believe in us, as a people. Together, we can effect change. We can ensure that our great-grandchildren aren’t still having this conversation.
And we can start today.
Well, maybe tomorrow. It’s getting kind of late over here and I need to put on pajamas.
Procrastination is the enemy!
Forget pajamas. I’m going to put on a sweatpant!
That’s right, folks. I said it.
So, what are you doing to help the cause?
*Bold statement to make in light of this entire post, I know. But I’m sticking by it.