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Low Hanging Fruit—Drooping Pants and the Young Men Who Think They’re Cool

Updated on July 02, 2010

Should Low Pants be Legally Banned?

Cute, eh?
Cute, eh?

Butt cheeks, dirty drawers, and you...

I have a distant relative in a distant prison. He’s been in and out of the place for all of his adult life and a few years of his childhood. Seems whenever he’s in, he cries foul. When he’s out, he always does something to break his probation and ends up in the slammer once again. Consciously or unconsciously, he seems to feel safer on the inside. But this article is not about my relative’s psychological challenges and continual run-ins with the law. He answered a question for me once that shed some light on an interesting fad currently popular among young men, particularly inner city young men, though becoming more and more established in the ‘burbs.

The question: What is cool about wearing your pants down so low that the belt is underneath your butt cheeks?

I’ve seen the young men actually having to hold the pants up to keep them from falling. They also have a way of walking with their legs stretched outward that seems to hold them up. Of course, their underwear, usually boxer shorts but not always, are in plain view.

Second questions: Do these young men think they’re sexy?

I put these questions to several young people I know, including a couple of kids who wear their pants that way. The answers were varied. The boys who didn’t do it thought it was just a gang thing and rather stupid-looking. The girls I asked, almost to a person, did not think it was sexy. The two boys I asked who actually wear their pants that low said, “It’s cool. It’s a look. Y’know, like Justin Bieber’s hair is a look.”

My relative in prison had a different answer. Seems in prison—and it may depend on which prison you’re in—the only ones who wear their pants low are either looking for a “daddy” to protect them or they already have a daddy and are telling other prisoners to stay away or there will be a price to pay.*

In other words, low hanging pants means that you are being sodomized or want to be sodomized by another prisoner. More often than not, it is a way to keep from being beaten or killed by other prisoners. Daddy is your protector.

(For those of you who do not know what “sodomized” means, it’s really quite simple: Someone is having anal intercourse with you and you are now their “bitch.”)

The fad started among young men who had been in prison and, having been released back into a frightening world, were once again looking for a “daddy.”

I wonder if the kids who wear their pants down low realize the real signal they are sending.

Some municipalities want to ban this little fad outright. What do you think?

A Side Glance: This afternoon, as I was boarding one of our local transit trains, I saw a police officer questioning a young man whose pants were hanging low. When the officer told the young man to place his hands behind his back, the pants fell down to his ankles. The officer made him pull them up, all the way, and told him to tighten his belt. If they fell again, he would be arrested on principle, the cop said, angrily. I didn’t think that was the best way for the officer to act, but the point is, when you’re in a tight situation, you really don’t want to get caught with your pants down.

*And a footnote: Since talking to my relative a while back, I have heard and read other interpretations of the low hanging pants phenomenon. But most have said that my relative's answer was about as spot on as it gets. 

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    • aguasilver profile image

      John Harper 6 years ago from Malaga, Spain

      Good subject, strange thing this butt hanging stuff, makes me glad that I grew up normal in the 60's wearing gold velvet embroidered 'loons'(trousers) so tight you could count my pubic hairs, tie dyed t shirts and a fur bolero jacket.... with bright yellow clogs.

      No wonder the kids are all screwed up!

      John

    • Lady Guinevere profile image

      Debra Allen 6 years ago from West By God

      I alwasy wondered what that all meant. I have seen girls do the samethings. The funny thought that hust went through my mind was something about homosexuality as in all these fanatics thinkng everyone who does this "sodomizing", like in that prison, is gay--on the contrary it seems. LOL LOL LOL

      I have clicked on yur New Thought Blog and will see what it is all about. Thanks Richard for this thought provoking article.

    • RichardSpeaks profile image
      Author

      Richard Kent Matthews 6 years ago from Portland, OR Metro Area

      In the 50s, they wanted to ban the bikini; in the 60s it was the mini-skirt; 70s saw angry protests against rock concerts; 80s brought letters to the government about MTV's videos.

      Worse, throughout American history, someone has always wanted to ban someone else who didn't play the game. That includes civil rights.

      No banning the butt cheeks. The fad will pass. Promise.

    • profile image

      sailorwannab 6 years ago

      Seattle grunge was big in the '80s and saggy trousers was hot in the '90s but they're over now. It's passe. The kids who still wear this fashion are making a statement: That they are stupid.

    • RichardSpeaks profile image
      Author

      Richard Kent Matthews 6 years ago from Portland, OR Metro Area

      Are you Black or White? That makes a difference in how you feel about the low pants as a statement.

    • Trinidad49 profile image

      Kenneth Kipkoech Cheruiyot 6 years ago from Kericho

      I also think the fad will pass away,but it's taking a long time

    • RichardSpeaks profile image
      Author

      Richard Kent Matthews 6 years ago from Portland, OR Metro Area

      Trinidad49: Sure, the fad will pass, but there may come a new one to take its place and you may wish the low pants were back in style!

      "Be careful what you wish for; you just might get it."

    • profile image

      Mrs.FireEater 6 years ago

      I can't for the life of me explain why rich suburban white boys would dress like this, except that perhaps their fathers don't care about them, either. But this is why inner city boys adopted - or rather, adapted to - this "style".

      Inner city, poor boys whose brothers/fathers had either left or gone to jail, or maybe just outgrew their pants, passed on those clothes to their young brothers and sons. More often than not, it was desertion and jail that left young poor boys with no other options for clothes than these hand me downs which were far too big for them. That is where the baggy style comes from. Calling it a style removes some of the stigma. And of course some of these boys are emulating their brothers/father's behavior and it becomes a Gang style.

    • RichardSpeaks profile image
      Author

      Richard Kent Matthews 6 years ago from Portland, OR Metro Area

      Mrs.FireEater: Thanks for the comments. I really don't know if any of what you've written is true, but it makes as much sense as anything else.

    • profile image

      Chris Miller 5 years ago

      These slobs with the falling-down pants are simply and deliberately trying to offend people, there's no question about it-- and the First Amendment doesn't protect such conduct OR speech.

      If you saw a little kid with his pants hanging down, you'd think that his parents were negligent, and that he must ride the "short-bus;" but when adult does it, you're POSITIVE.

    • RichardSpeaks profile image
      Author

      Richard Kent Matthews 5 years ago from Portland, OR Metro Area

      Chris Miller: I understand your indignation. And I agree that it appears socially incorrect at best. But making it a Constitutional issue seems a bit drastic, don't you think? The fad will eventually pass. I remember in the 60s when everyone wanted to make it a criminal offense for a man to wear his hair below his ears. What kind of message would it have sent if it had come down to a Constitutional battle?

    • Cassie Smith profile image

      Cassie Smith 5 years ago from U.S.

      I don't know that all boys do the droopy pants thing. It only seems to be the black and hispanics where I am.

    • RichardSpeaks profile image
      Author

      Richard Kent Matthews 5 years ago from Portland, OR Metro Area

      Here in Portland, Oregon, it's all kinds of guys of every stripe and persuasion. (Even a few girls have been doing it as well.) But it seems to be losing its 'flavor,' and not nearly as many younger people are following the fad. Perhaps within a couple of years it will disappear altogether. We can only hope...

    • profile image

      43 year old man 5 years ago

      I have seen trends come and go everyone has an opinion its like those that ride harleys and say they buy them because they are made in america then they drive a nissan just because they ride a harley don't make them a hells angel don't judge people the clothes don't make the man.PS the clothes did not send that boy to prison it was his choices.

    • profile image

      Blake Diamond 5 years ago

      im just want to say is y is people let their pants hang down that's just not necesarry and rude nobody wants to c that that's a hot mess people needs to sto acking like their better than everybody coz their not everybody in even that's what i think that's all i had to say about and that should be a law o letting ur pants hang down

    • RichardSpeaks profile image
      Author

      Richard Kent Matthews 5 years ago from Portland, OR Metro Area

      Thanks for sharing...

    • profile image

      Phil 5 years ago

      so yesterday i had a LOOOOONG discussion turned debate with one of my friends,which is the reason im reading this.im a black young adult by the way,and YES it originated in prison,90% of the people that are doin it don't realise.so are the white kids following lil wayne trends listenin to hip hop.some adopt it through watching friends or tv or thinking its cool.were as people like me,although influenced by and living a Hip-Hop life style,do NOT sag my pants or wear my pants below my butt cheeks because its "cool" or want a "daddy" or any "homosexual" reference there might be,NO,i sag my pants coz its jus more comfortable,laid back.when i go to work,my pants are right on my waist,as my friend said "as to not disrespect the general public,and send out the wrong image about ones self".BUT wen im at home...BAM they automatically sag,AND NOT BELOW MY ASS!just loose!baggy jeans that sag and timberland boots.so maybe i speak for 2/10 of the "stupid" people out there who do it,but as for the others FLAGGING their asses on the streets...big no!

    • profile image

      Chris 5 years ago

      Stop lying dude you whole ass was hanging out last night.. put that butt away!!

    • RichardSpeaks profile image
      Author

      Richard Kent Matthews 5 years ago from Portland, OR Metro Area

      All right, guys. Keep it nice. Phil, thanks for sharing your thoughts. Y'know, when I was in middle school, the high school kids wore their jeans low enough to get parents all upset. They would cut off the belt loops of their Levi's, fold over the edge (called 'decking'), pull the jeans down half way over the crack, roll up the cuffs, tuck a tight white tee shirt into the jeans, carry cigarettes rolled into the tee shirt sleeve, use really heavy hair goo to make their hair comb into a duck tail in the back, and a waterfall in the front. Too frickin cool! And the adults went crazy! Then, Elvis made it all OK. Today, those same kids are the ones bitching about your pants under the ass. Don't ya just love it!!! Also, they bitched about disco. And now the 80s kids are bitching about Lady GaGa!

    • profile image

      Elle 4 years ago

      I live in the burbs of No Cal.....they wear super skinny jeans and then sag them - can't figure thought out but would be easier to walk around in.

    • RichardSpeaks profile image
      Author

      Richard Kent Matthews 4 years ago from Portland, OR Metro Area

      Have to wonder... Do the girls like the look, or are the guys doing it for each other? Not clear...

    • profile image

      dodonel@cox.net 3 years ago

      GOOD for you! It's so silly.

    • RichardSpeaks profile image
      Author

      Richard Kent Matthews 3 years ago from Portland, OR Metro Area

      They have their reasons, I suppose. I used to wear an Afro in the 60s and 70s. And I'm white. Plus platform shoes. And I'm 6'4". We do things for reasons we often forget, even as we laugh at those who are doing silly things now. It will pass...eventually.

    • profile image

      Angel 2 years ago

      FAD? I recall noticing this 'fad' in the early 90's. As long as the ghetto but ri$h rappers keep wearing their clothes like this, so will the youth. I'm just glad my teen didn't pick this up. He's 19 now. He likes the hipster fad style. I'm fine with that.

    • profile image

      Richard Kent Matthews 2 years ago

      My older brother wore his pants this way in the 1940s. My younger brother wore them similarly in the late 1950s and early doo wop 60s. So, nothing new. As long as actual butt crack isn't showing, no big deal. To me, anyway. It will pass. It may take another 10 years...but it will pass.

      Thanks for responding.

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