A Disproportionate Man’s Guide to Pants
By Thomas Balzamo September, 2002
It goes without saying that each and every person has his or her own quirk that makes him or her unusual or unique. But aside from the talents of people that often times go unnoticed unless solicited, many people have visible traits that make them uniquely noticeable in a crowd. In other words some people are just plain unsightly. So with that in mind I have prepared the following essay to act as a sort of guidebook for those who endure a quality of life less than that of the slender, slim and toned individuals that often parade themselves before us. In other words, this article is for the decidedly disproportionate. And unfortunately I speak as a man with years of experience on the subject.
For the majority of my lifetime I have been victim to the curse of disproportionism. To briefly define disproportionism, it is the state in which a body or objects dimensions in one plane are either too large or too small to appear graceful when coinciding with the dimensions of the opposing plane. In less technical terms, a disproportionate person is either tall and thin or short and fat, I being the latter. And I am thoroughly convinced that being short and fat offers a person many unique disadvantages compared to the easy, confident and sometimes arrogant existence of the fit and fabulous. So with that I offer you (that is, the short and fat) a comprehensive guide to fashion, formulated by years of experiential wisdom and practical knowledge.
The first thing a man thinks of as the staple of fashion is a good pair of pants. Pants are the quintessential key to confidence in any man. If you were to view a presidential debate between a candidate with pants and one without pants, the man with the pants would obviously win, by vote of confidence if nothing else. Or say you schedule an interview with a prospective new employee and he swaggers into your office, shakes your hand, takes a seat and crosses his legs when suddenly you notice he’s not wearing pants. You immediately realize that he’s not the man for the job even if he did give you a good laugh. Comedy does have its limits you know. Pants are undoubtedly the best place to begin with any mans wardrobe.
As a disproportionate man, I can tell you that finding the perfect pair of pants is no easy task. There are many factors to consider such as, appearance, material, comfort and accessorizing. The first step is to determine you actual waist size. This can be embarrassing, because it usually requires another person. And it always ends up being some attractive young seamstress in a department store. To avoid the embarrassment there is an exclusive technique with which you can measure your own waist size with nothing more than your standard Stanley workshop measuring tape, butcher paper, and some semi-gloss latex paint. Start by unrolling several feet of the butcher paper on the floor. Then remove your shirt and brush a generous amount of the paint into your belly button. The lay down belly first on the paper and proceed to roll over one time until you are back on your belly. Then simply measure from one paint blot the other and you will have your waist size, give or take an inch or two depending on the size of your belly button.
Now that you know your actual waist size, you can confidently walk right by the attractive young seamstress and head straight for the pants. Once you arrive at the pants rack, look for a style of pants you like and choose one that is four or five sizes smaller that your actual waist size. You may say, “Won’t that be terribly uncomfortable!” Yes. Yes it will be. But there is a logical explanation. When you’re short and fat, if you buy a pair of pants that fits your waist comfortably you will not be able to find an inseam your proper length. This is because it’s typical of people with your waist size to be several feet taller. I once purchased a pair of no-name-brand khaki’s at a department store that fit great. The shortest inseam they had was a 36, so when I tried them on they were about a foot too long. “No worries,” I thought, “I’ll just hem them.” Upon getting the pants home and hemming them, I made a disastrous discovery. While wearing the pants, I have enough room in the cuff to stuff a basketball up my leg. My ankles were at the knee of the pants! It looked ridiculous! It looked like I was wearing Andre the Giant’s khaki cutoffs! Then that’s when I sat down and made another discovery. Since the pants were made so large, there was an extraordinary amount of material used to make them. And since I’m an average build everywhere but my middle, when I sat down the material in the lap of the pants could have been pulled completely over my head! Another problem with the pants is that the material was very thick and stiff. I looked in the mirror and discovered that I could walk inside my pants! Because the legs were so wide, my legs were moving but the pants remained straight and stiff. It gave the disturbing appearance that I was gliding around the room as if on roller-skates. So for those reasons, a disproportionate man must buy his pants as small as reasonably achievable.
Next, the belt must be taken into consideration. There are many things about the belt and it’s corresponding buckle that the average size person does not know. On average sized individuals the belt rests on the hips. On disproportionate people the hips are nowhere to be found. The belt instead has three potential locations, each telling you a little bit about the person. Disproportionate people have an apex. It is the point at which they are the widest, usually in the middle. The belt can rest above, below or on the apex. The achieve any of these it must be cinched tight enough to cause extreme discomfort and eventually a ring around the individual where nerve endings no longer function. I once wore a belt so tight that if my upper half wasn’t attached to my lower half it would have popped off. As for the location of the belt, if you choose to wear it above the apex it has the advantage of being more soundly secure in place and there is little risk of gravity gaining control of the pants. Though secure, the belt tells you that the individual is self-conscious about his waist but knows little about the social repercussions of wearing your pants in your armpits. Wearing the belt below the apex is risky business, simply because it has been scientifically proven that the pants will go in the direction that the belt buckle is facing which in this case is your toes; not a place you wants your pants to end up, at least in public anyway. Individuals who wear their belt below the apex often are past the point of being self-conscious. They don’t really care anymore about how they look. They’ve cast fashion to wind. Oh, and while we’re on the subject of belts, always use wide belts as opposed to narrow ones. These are less likely to disappear into oblivion when you sit down.
Some accessory options regarding pants include the rare but insidious drawstring pants, common in the uniforms of medical professionals, my profession in fact. These are pants that have no elastic and no belt loops, but instead have a drawstring sewn in around the waist that you’re supposed to tie so they stay in place. This is all fine and good so long as the pants stay around the apex. Unlike elastic that conforms to the shape of your waist no matter where it is, drawstring pants only hold the diameter of the position in which they were tied, which can be disastrous in some cases. I stopped wearing drawstring pants in July of 2003. That’s all I’ll say about that.
Another accessory on pants are pleats. Disproportionate men should always have pleats. I can’t stress this enough. Pleats are a type of magicians trick to fool people into thinking you’re thinner than you are. If they could talk, pleated pants would say, “Look, loose fabric here! This guy’s thin!” Pants without pleats say, “Sorry, no room here!”
And one final precaution: some things a disproportionate man should never wear include but are not limited to wet suits, baseball uniforms and wrestling singlets. Don’t wear wet suits because sharks like to eat seals and a wet suit on a disproportionate man may make the shark misidentify you as the best seal find of his life . As far as baseball uniforms go, a thin man in one looks like a professional baseball player, a disproportionate man in one looks like an oversized kid in pajamas. And wrestling singlets, well, no explanation is needed there.
Some things to avoid doing include but are not limited to, hanging from any object by your arms. This causes spontaneous stretching which simulates thinning, which brings your shirt up, your pants down and your belly out. Not advisable. Also, hanging from any object by your feet. This gives innocent bystanders an unsolicited idea of what your belly button looks like in close proximity to your chin. And if all these rules are difficult to remember, just remember this, it is better to be ill-fashioned and covered than to be trendy and traumatizing to small children.