Monday, August 15, 2005

Random Observations and Trivial Events

1. Why do we say a “pair” of pants? Pair implies two of something, right? Then what comprises the “pair” on my pants? The legs? If I went into a store and asked for a pant, would they just give me one leg covering and half a waistband?

2. Yesterday in the car, my 9-year-old daughter Katelyn asked out of the blue, “Have you ever stuck your tongue up above your teeth and tried to feel your nostrils?” None of us could say that we had, and what’s more, none of us had even thought of trying this experiment. The creativity of the young mind knows no bounds.

3. Speaking of nostrils, I learned during a visit to the ear, nose and throat doctor a few years ago that I have very narrow, small nostrils, which is one of the reasons my sense of smell is not as good as that of normal people. I find this highly ironic and unfair. Anyone with a schnozz as large as mine should have nostrils the size of a water main, enabling him to smell everything within a 100-yard radius. Alas, that is not the case. I can’t even smell strong perfume unless my nose is right up next to it, which is a bit awkward in social situations. Other guys don’t appreciate me with my nose on their wives’ necks, sniffing.

4. We went to the wedding Saturday of one of my second cousins, a guy who has one more semester to go before he graduates from college. His bride just graduated in May. It was a beautiful wedding, very traditional and solemn. Both the bride and groom are strong Christians who “waited” until marriage, and are both very shy and reserved people. It was so refreshing to see their obvious nervousness and even delicacy toward one another. I imagine their wedding night was indeed a new adventure. I contrast this to weddings I’ve seen where the couple has been shacking up together for months, sometimes years, and the ceremony is something they’re grudgingly dragged through to please fuddy-duddy traditional parents. It’s as though the whole thing is just another obligatory chore, like getting a driver’s license renewed. So I was glad to see the rare innocence of an old-fashioned wedding.

5. Speaking of weddings, why do they always take pains to mention in wedding announcements that it was a “double-ring” ceremony? Aren’t they all double ring affairs? Do they do this just to reassure readers that both participants did their duties and ponied up with rings? Are there such things as “single ring” ceremonies, where one person or the other drops the ball and decides not to give their mate a ring? Maybe the bride, for example, has rejected the simple ring her groom can afford now, and is holding out for a costlier rock down the road. Or maybe poor, toothless hillbilly couples can afford just one nice ring (Costco, $49.95), so they just share it – hubby wears it MWF, the wife on TThS, and then they trade off on Sunday-go-to-meetin' days.

6. I was in Wal-Mart’s restroom the other day, and when I went to wash my hands I found they had one of those newfangled motion-controlled faucet setups. The problem was, even though they had three faucets, I couldn’t get any of them to work, no matter how vigorously I moved my hands. I mean, I was just about doing The Dance of the Seven Veils in front of the sensors, and no water would come out. Finally, for some unexplained reason after I had given up, the water started bursting out. And, of course, before I could react and thrust my hands under the tap, the water just as quickly shut off again. I sure do miss the “old-fangled” days of faucet handles.

7. Buying a Dr Pepper at the convenience store over the weekend, I notice that Texas now offers a $1 Lotto game called “I Love Lucy,” which includes photos from the popular TV show. Is this a new trend with gambling? Will there be “All in the Family” slot machines soon? Beverly Hillbillies bingo?


Laura said...

All right, Muley, you asked for it. I have wondered for ages why pants come in pairs. So I've researched it all out, and here's your answer:

First, the source of the word "pants", which is what we in the U.S. call trousers. In England, pants are underwear, and trousers are pants.

"Word History: One would not expect a word for a modern article of clothing to come ultimately from the name of a 4th-century Roman Catholic saint, but that is the case with the word pants. It can be traced back to Pantaleon, the patron saint of Venice. He became so closely associated with the inhabitants of that city that the Venetians were popularly known as Pantaloni. Consequently, among the commedia dell'arte's stock characters the representative Venetian (a stereotypically wealthy but miserly merchant) was called Pantalone, or Pantalon in French. In the mid-17th century the French came to identify him with one particular style of trousers, a style which became known as pantaloons in English. Pantaloons was later applied to another style that came into fashion in the late 18th century, tight-fitting garments that had begun to replace knee breeches. After that pantaloons was used to refer to trousers in general. The abbreviation of pantaloons to pants met with some resistance at first; it was considered vulgar and, as Oliver Wendell Holmes put it, “a word not made for gentlemen, but ‘gents.’” First found in the writings of Edgar Allan Poe in 1840, pants has replaced the “gentleman's word” in English and has lost all obvious connection to Saint Pantaleon." (

Next, the reason trousers come in pairs:

"Men's trousers
Trousers also trace their ancestry to the individual hose worn by men in the 15th century (which is why trousers are plural and not singular). The hose were easy to make and fastened to a doublet at the top with ties called "points", but as time went by, the two hose were joined, first in the back then across the front, but still leaving a large opening for sanitary functions. Originally, doublets came almost to the knees, effectively covering the genitalia, but as fashions changed and doublets became shorter, it became necessary (and required by the church) for men to cover their genitals with a codpiece.
By the end of the 16th century, the codpiece had been incorporated into the hose, now usually called breeches, which were roughly knee-length and featured a fly or fall front opening."

Thus, you can wear each pant seperately with a garter if you like. And, for those who do not like, I found this interesting sight:

I kinda like the look, but I doubt I could get my husband into one. Not good for rock climbing. But I did see a hefty man in Walmart wearing one the other day.

Muley said...

That hefty man you saw in Walmart supposedly wearing a kilt was probably a woman wearing a skirt who was doing a little shopping between roller derby matches.

Laura! Wow, when you respond to a question, you really respond, don't you? Thanks for the well-researched display of knowledge tailored to my typically boneheaded question. Now that I know that trousers used to be separate leg coverings, joined by a codpiece, I know why we refer to a "pair" of trousers or pants.

Actually, I kinda wish the old system of separate leg coverings would come back in style. That way, men would be able to mix and match colors and styles to form their own individual pants. The left leg could be blue denim, the right leg red leather, and many other combinations.

And think of the fun we'd have shopping for codpieces! It wouldn't only be rock stars and ballet dancers who would get to wear this nifty item. I could see professional athletes coming out with their own signature versions for sale, autographed and endorsed just like baseball gloves and basketballs. "Get the new Barry Bonds Flex-O-Matic Codpiece, made of the finest tooled leather and fastened with sterling silver rivets. Comes complete with a compass in the saddle horn."

Or maybe not.

nightfly said...

Muley - if rumor is true, Barry probably doesn't need a codpiece anymore.

#2 - Doesn't Stitch actually do this in "Lilo and Stitch"? Fabulously gross moment.

#3 (or, really, #7) - I could get behind this trend. Losing cards could proclaim, "You... are a meathead." Winners could invite you to pack it up and move to Beverly. These cards need to be audio. I demand it.

Nettie said...

With your luck, they'd probably start breathing really fast in your face- that's a pant, right?