Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Indignity Knows New Lows

There’s no beating around the bush: cargo pants/shorts are men’s equivalent to women’s purses but worse – I’ll get to that in a moment. (I’ll pause here for all the men reading this to make that funny face that communicates the absurdity of such a statement and do something singularly masculine like spit a giant loogie across the room or pick up a sofa with one hand.) Sure, one can make the argument that cargo pants/shorts are pretty straightforward and remain uncorrupted by the likes of Kate Spade and Louis Vuitton, but the reality is that we men stuff the ever-living crap out of those extra pockets just as a woman does her purse. If you don’t believe me, stop any man you see in public wearing the apparel in question and ask him.

I wouldn’t recommend phrasing the question thusly: “What do you have in your pants?” That’s just asking for trouble, especially if you’re in a place like West Hollywood. Nevertheless, when you ask to see the contents of their cargo pockets, some may give you an odd look. If this happens, the best way to get around their consternation is to lie to them by pointing to a tree or shrub somewhere over your shoulder and telling them you’re a television host and they’re on hidden camera. More often than not, you’ll get their full cooperation.

As they empty their pockets you’ll see everything ranging from a bus map and short umbrella to a half-empty pack of chewing gum and pen advertising a local real estate agent. You might think the only things separating a man’s cargo pockets from a woman’s purse would be a tube of lipstick and a compact, but if the guy’s married, and he’s strolling with his wife, you’ll find those items, too. No lie!

The makers of cargo pants/shorts think they’re geniuses (especially those women who have figured out this is the best way for them to get men to “hold my purse”), but they’ve obviously never stood behind a man wearing the diabolically designed apparel at the airport security screening. A woman instinctively places her purse (which holds all of her personal effects) up on the belt of the x-ray machine; the business traveler places his/her briefcase in a similar manner. The dude in the cargoes, however, forgets he’s carrying the equivalent of the inventory of a small business and tries to walk through the metal detector. He’s turned back and asked if he is wearing a belt or a watch. He shakes his head and tries the pass through one more time. Beep! He’s asked if he has an artificial hip made of titanium or a plate in his head. Nope. Beep! All the while, the line is piling up as long as opening night of the latest Harry Potter movie. Scratching his head, the benighted TSA agent starts to ask if the man is wearing a necklace or a large ring. Before Mr. Cargoes can answer, you scream out, “For the love of all that is pure and Disney-licensed, have him empty out his cargo pockets!”

You would do well at this point to turn around and change your travel plans while your fellow travelers hale and applaud you, but you have to make that meeting in Des Moines come hell or high water so you march on to the security checkpoint. However, you know full well that you are now a marked man on TSA’s list of “agitators”. You’ll get the extra screening from now on, and you’ll be lucky if the agent checking you out is only wearing rubber gloves because of an aversion to touching the paper stock used for airline tickets.

From now on, when your wife or significant other asks you to hold her purse, don’t delay. But make sure it matches your shoes. That would be embarrassing!

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