So there we were, the four of us, wending our way to the restaurant for a New Year’s Eve celebration, when an odd subject came up. How many different names are there for pants? You know, those long tubes you pull up over each leg nearly every day of your life? Well let me tell you . . .
“I like it in the old movies when they called them trousers,” I said. It brought to mind the old 1934 Clark Gable, Claudette Colbert movie, “It Happened One Night.” In the motel room they were forced to share Ms. Colbert was giving Mr. Gable some grief about who should sleep where when he nonchalantly began removing his clothing. He had that wisenheimer grin of his going and one arched eyebrow. When he got to his trousers, she skedaddled to the other side of the blanket that hung down the middle of the room. After all they weren’t married and, stars above, you just didn’t see a man out of his trousers before you said “I do” back then. You can watch it here.
“Dungarees.” This pronouncement came from dear husband. “We never called them jeans.” No, no. Back in Noah’s day they did indeed call them dungarees. I got Noah, I mean John, to say jeans about twenty five years ago. The snickering from his sons might have had something to do with it, too, I suppose. And I just dashed over to Google and found out dungarees is plural for clothes made out of denim. So is each leg a dungaree? Is there anyone to even ask?
“We called them denims,” said the other lady in the car. But that was long enough ago that denims actually meant jeans because they weren’t making much else out of the stuff. Not like today when you can even get soup bowls made from denim. I think. Okay, maybe not. But you get the idea.
My late mother-in-law often called them drawers. Google says this is a dated and humorous name for underpants. Dated for sure. Mum in law was born over 100 years ago. She loved to “trim my drawers” when we played Scrabble or Canasta. She was a humurous lady and her own drawers were sizable. Maybe that’s why she always wanted to trim mine. I’ll probably never know.
As we sped along other terms for pants popped up like cartoon bubbles around our heads. Chinos. Jodhpurs. Capri’s. Slacks. Bell bottoms. Overalls. Hot pants. Wait, those were shorts. Or almost shorts. Do they count? Anyway. . .
You’d think four mature adults on their way to enjoy rare beef and fine wine would be discussing world affairs or something. But, as we rang the year out, maybe pants was a better subject than something more volatile. We could have gone deeper and mentioned the November election, but why spoil the evening? After all, we were being mature.
Happy New Year to all my fellow pants wearers!
Image: Free Digital Photos