Sunday, August 2, 2009

Abercrombie owns your butt. Congratulations.

Published August 2, 2009
St. George Spectrum & Daily News

The idea for today’s column comes from my dear sister-in-law, Mary, who suggested it over a month ago and has been waiting patiently to see her idea in print ever since. Thanks, Mary. I think chocolate is in order. You’re getting me some, right?

The topic Mary would like me to discuss today involves a fashion trend she finds annoying and, at times, disturbing. I’m talking about the practice of printing words across the rear ends of sweat pants and shorts.

You’ve seen them. Sometimes, they’re sparkly. Sometimes, they’re provocative. But they’re always eye catching, and “in your face,” drawing the eye to the derriere as if to say, “Hey, everyone! I speak from my butt! You should listen!” Never mind that when that area of the body usually speaks, it’s something nobody wants to hear.

There are more than a few problems with this cheeky (heh) fashion trend. Even if we ignore the blatant, “Look at my butt!” energy of it, I think most can conclude it’s just not a good idea.

Take, for instance, the provocative words that crop up on pants and shorts. I’ve seen more than a few bottoms emblazoned with a sparkly “SEXY” or a glittery “HOTTIE.” I do the same thing every time I see it. I take my eyes off the word and check out the woman to see how she compares. It’s not always favorable, and even when it is, I’m struck by how unsexy it is to declare your sexiness to the world in such a silly way. Wouldn’t a shimmering “JUDGE ME” or a loud “MY SELF ESTEEM IS BASED ON WHAT YOU THINK OF ME” have worked as well?

And what’s with the pants that say “JUICY?” Juicy? Really? Did I need to know that? What exactly do you want me to do with that information? I’m sure you meant it for the hot menfolk, but we frumpy moms of five can see it too, and we weren’t really looking for an invitation, you know?

Slightly less affronting, but annoying just the same, are the brand names that find their way onto backsides. I get that designers want to sell their apparel and need their labels visible in order to do so. I don’t understand why a girl would pay outrageous prices just to make her bottom into a billboard.

Okay, that’s not really true. I was a teenager once and remember the label mania. Somehow, it just seemed more sophisticated when the labels were small and unassuming, positioned politely next to belt loops or embroidered on a pocket. Sure, the label meant, “I have the right jeans, please accept me,” but at least it wasn’t, “I PAID $85 SO ABERCROMBIE COULD TAKE OWNERSHIP OF MY BUTT! LET ME BE IN YOUR GROUP! I HAVE NOTHING LEFT!”

If these sweat pants shoppers were really thinking, they’d make their keisters work for them. I bet the makers of Immodium and Preparation H would pay big bucks to put their brand names on people’s butts. I don’t think I need to point out the appropriateness of the placement either. Come on ladies, you could have your freelance fannies putting money in the bank. Come to think of it, I could use a little extra cash.

I’m just waiting for the Fiber One people to call me back.