Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Dear Stupid Ass Questions: I was watching the stars arrive at the Golden Globes Awards and one of the announcers commented that a male star was wearing tight slacks. How the hell can they be tight and slack at the same time? There can be no such thing as “TIGHT SLACKS”.
TONY: Philosophically, you are right. That is, if you're looking at it in a purely oxymoronic way. Slacks, to some, are a way of life. Nietzsche referred to his slacks as his happy place. Evidenced by his quote, “All truly great thoughts are conceived by walking”. Do you think he would've thought this if he were wearing tight slacks? No.
Greek philosophers didn't wear pants. They wore togas or robes of some sort. Philosophers in general wear loose clothing. So, if I wear loose slacks does that make me a philosopher? Perhaps. I have a very low threshold when it comes to the tightness of my pants. I like my slacks to be ultra slack. Some people have a high threshold when it comes to tightness. I don't.
The real question, does everyone have their own definition of “slack”? Just like the meaning for many words in our vocabulary have changed over the years, so has the meaning for slacks. It's really a matter of semantics. Slacks are just a cool way of saying pants now.
Here's the reason for the confusion. Before there were “slacks” fellows wore “trousers”. Men donned them with pride, usually held up with a nice set of spiffy suspenders. They wore them to the hardware store; to the ballpark or for a stroll with their best gal. Trousers were made from cotton and came in three colors in those days, tan, black or gray. They were practical. They were pleated. They were baggy. They were indeed, slack. Under no circumstances was the rear end defined in them. Nobody had an ass in these things. But something happened. Its name, polyester.
All of a sudden it was cool to wear tight apparel. Men and women wore their pants the same and with pride. Instead of wearing them to the hardware store or ballgame, they wore them to the discotheque or to a funky wedding. They didn't stroll either, the cruised in them. The mere purpose for this lack for slack was to show off the tush or the package. This type of trouser were called slacks. Tight in the tuchus, slack only below the knee.
In reality, slacks were meant to be tight. Saying “tight slacks” is like saying “free gift” or “she's a little pregnant”, it's the same. It's what they were designed for. Just somewhere along the way the trouser turned into the slack. Sadly, the new fangled slack also ushered in the era of the camel toe. It's sad but true.