Whale Pants

20 Apr

The other day my husband and I were in Brooks Brothers (it’s hard for me to admit that I was there, but he likes their shirts for work).  And in the true spirit of you can dress her up but you can’t take her anywhere, I started laughing at the embroidered trousers that were prominently displayed near the front of the store.

You know which ones I mean.  The really terrible ones (available in corduroy and cotton) with the embroidered designs scattered all over them.  They’re hideous, no way around it.

To my husband’s credit, he is rarely embarrassed by my junior high shenanigans, and this was no exception. As I ran my fingers across the pink flamingoes, flawlessly stitched on the shockingly green pants, I asked the salesman, “Come on, seriously. Who really buys pants like this?”

I don’t even remember what he said, but by the time we got home I had a theory of my own.

Wealthy women buy these pants for their husbands as punishment.

It makes perfect sense.  I can see her now; an aging June Cleaver type, perfectly dressed for a day of shopping, her pearl necklace (a gift from Ward on their last wedding anniversary) resting on her slightly wrinkled neck. She enters the store and with a practiced smile greets the young salesman.

He can smell the sale, mingling in the air with her expensive perfume.  She has come, once again, to pick up a few things for her husband.  To her, the thought of Ward shopping for himself is comical.  In fact, the thought of him doing anything for himself after all these years is down right hysterical.  She secretly wonders, some days, how he manages to wipe his own ass.

She sees the pants lying on the table, the perfectly creased, bright green fabric dotted with tropical pink birds, and smiles.  Her thoughts become muddled; she is overcome by a sudden giddy sensation.  She pictures Ward headed to work in these pants and her stomach flips, like being at the top of a ferris wheel.

“May I help you with something, ma’am?”

“Oh, yes,” she says, smiling at the young man, her eyes gleaming with mischief.  She caresses her necklace with slightly arthritic, freshly manicured fingers.  “I’ll take these, please.”


I ran through my theory and my husband laughed.  Then he pointed out the best part. The guys who wear these pants couldn’t care less. They probably don’t even care if they’re wearing pants at all.  They’re too busy watching Sports Center. “Bring me some more bourbon on your way in from the kitchen, would you, dear?”  Now who’s laughing. Touche.

These hideous pants come in all kinds of colors and disastrous designs.  You’ve no doubt seen them on some unlucky bastard; whales (the standard), golf clubs, crabs, Santa heads.  I even found a pair with skulls embroidered on them, for when Ward feels gansta’, I guess.

Apparently there is a whole history surrounding these god-awful trousers that can be traced back to the 1980’s and the emergence of preppies. Check out:  Castaway’s Islander Log.  Some nonsense about an ironic lack of self regard.  Huh.  I didn’t get that. To me they just look like grown men with cute little crabs stitched on their pants.

I don’t care what they say.  I still think June buys them to punish Ward for a lifetime of gilded servitude.  Just take a look at her face.  There’s more behind that smile than a perfectly glazed bundt cake.  And even if Ward doesn’t ever catch on, some of the rest of us have.


4 Responses to “Whale Pants”

  1. suzette April 21, 2010 at 7:51 am #

    Oh My God! I was peeing myself from laughter! This was the funniest one yet! Loved it so much, it is you. I can just hear you saying these words…Loved it!
    XOXO Suzette

  2. thefoolschair April 21, 2010 at 8:01 am #

    Thanks, sweetie! 🙂

  3. Eric Walsh April 22, 2010 at 7:55 am #

    Your wit is endless but I think your standing as chairwoman of the Junior League is in jeapordy at this point!

  4. thefoolschair April 22, 2010 at 8:20 am #

    I’ve already served my time as president of the Junior League. The clothes weren’t my favorite, but the cocktail parties were great.

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