The Pants Problem

In the mid-Noughties I had a pair of corduroy pants that I wore to almost every event or gig.  I didn’t have many clothes then. Buying clothes had yet to become a regular thing, as for almost a decade the only clothes I had had come from Balikbayan boxes or the tiangge or the recently in vogue ukay-ukay. It was at the ukay-ukay, in fact, probably three years before the event, that I acquired the corduroys. Thing was that I got the corduroys sometime after freshman year, when I was still thin and exercising, but by the time of the gig in question, I had fattened up and was sporting a major beer belly. It was then that the clothing malfunction happened.

I was in the bathroom and I stepped away from the urinal and up to the sink to wash my hands. I was in a rush as our band would have to be onstage soon. I tugged the pants together trying to push the button into its hole. The first time it didn’t take and after a mighty push and exhale I stopped and had to catch my breath. I mopped sweat off my brow and then tried to button the pants again.

This time it took. Then it didn’t.

The struggle between the button and my belly had come to a conclusion. The button tried to push the belly in, mightily, but for all its might it was overrun. The belly overflowed, a mass that came up over the top of the pants and then surged forward against the button.

There was a pop and then a crack. The pop came from the belly’s expelling of the button, turning it into a projectile that zinged through the air. The crack was from the button making impact with the sink above the mirror. It left a nick on the mirror.

And it left me with quite a problem, as in minutes I would have to take the stage. Then a thought: safety pin. That would surely save the day and it might have. Had the nearby 7-11 had any.

What they did have was something near enough to the safety pin in terms of function, metal clasp and all. Except that it had a butterfly on it. I think it was meant more as a scrunchie for hair or something rather than safety pin. But it was what they had. So I fastened the clasp and took the stage with the butterfly ornament atop my bulging belly. Small movements would loosen the butterfly contraption and I would cover my belly and my opening and drooping pants with my bass. In between songs I would refasten the butterfly. Until finally we left the stage and I kept drinking to mask my embarrassment and I have no idea what happened to that butterfly after that night.

Another time I sat in a plane and heard a rip. I thought it was nothing, though I did feel that there was a cool pleasant breeze around my legs.

When we disembarked and wete brought to a cottage where we were all supposed to wait for the boat that would take us all to the resort island we were headed to, I sat on a bench. I crossed my right leg up onto my left knee and let my left and drop onto my left thigh. It was there I felt the hole in my jeans, a hole so big that the pattern of my boxers was on display as if I were flying a plaid flag.

I had always worn my pants baggy, because baggy pants were the thing when I was in high school. Then as I gained weight I grew into the baggy pants. Grew into them so much so they became smug and slim fit in relation to my belly, love handles, and thighs.

Then last week I tried to put on a pair of slacks from my closet. They looked like elephant pants, the pant legs were so loose. My sister saw me in them and said, “Kuya, what are you wearing? Are you trying to look like a gangsta or something?”

“I’m not trying to look like a gangsta. These are my pants.”

“Change! Wear different pants! You look terrible!”

And so I changed. The results were the same. I could have tried out for a revival video of M.C. Hammer’s “U Can’t Touch This.” All my khakis and slacks had gotten too big.

Now this is a happy problem. I have to acquire new pants because I am losing weight and dropping the paunch. It is a good way to know that my recent initiatives to get healthy are paying off. While the smaller belly makes for fewer humorous situations, it still signifies something good. So I am off to address this happy pants problem.

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