Have times changed, or am I crazy?
It was a question that a husband can only ask of his wife. I cannot imagine raising it to friends, family or even my doctor; it’s just too personal.For obvious reasons, it was something I hoped I’d never have to worry about.”My age is a lusty winter, frosty yet kindly,” so said Shakespeare.It is no secret that the years change how our bodies, look, function and (in some cases) smell. Though Shakespeare did put a positive twist comparing middle age with a “lusty winter,” I can honestly report cold temps can hinder performance.But if the cold, harsh, truth be told, I have noticed a change occurring in the last few years. I hoped it was my imagination.I can ask my mate anything, other than, “Honey-bun will you someday clean the toilet?” I decided that rather than anguish over my fears, I should poll the one person who would know if my fears were justified or just the insecurities of a mid-50s-manchild. So stealing my resolve I walked into her home office. After stepping over the piles of ski boots, climbing skins, crampons and long underwear waiting to be taken to the hazardous waste site, I turned my back to her and asked, “Has my butt changed?” My mate is renowned for her sensitivity. She looked up from her computer and said, “Are you going senile? Am I going to have to put you into a rest home and ruin our spring skiing vacation?” “No, I’m serious” I said. “Does my butt look different than it did when we first met?” In a valiant attempt to make me feel better she said, “Don’t make me commit you; I don’t think I can handle that guilt.” That’s when I pulled up my shirt and showed her.There are three things I’m particularly proud of: my skill with a blender, memory of long past inconsequential occurrences, and my pants size; I’ve worn the same sized jeans since high school. In fact, for the most part, I’ve purchased the same make and model blue-jeans since1970 – Levi or Wrangler straight leg, 32 x 32. It has only been during the last few years that I’ve noticed a disturbing trend; my trousers are not containing my bottom. In others words I’m getting plumber’s butt and I’m not a plumber.Thankfully this doesn’t occur while standing but I have noticed that when bending over, or squatting, even when wearing a belt, there seems to be some air on the derriere that wasn’t there 10 years ago. I have tried, with the use of a mirror to look behind at my offending appendage and it appears to me as if nothing has changed – but my pants tell a different story.After getting the needed reassurance from my mate, I called my buddy Robin who has his finger on the inseam of America. Robin is a fashion editor in New York City and used to date a good friend of mine; he thinks any place west of the lower east side is the wilderness.According to Robin, almost all manufacturers are shortening the inseams on pants to accommodate the youth-generated-trend of wearing slacks that ride lower on the hips. “Even the trousers those rodeo guys wear are cut lower; I think that it is fabulous.” Robin said. According to him the style began in prison where convicts, deprived of a belt, would wear their pants lower on their hips. From there it turned into an urban trend and then moved to the mainstream. Now we see it with ski and snowboard clothing. He said that most major manufacturers have cut even their traditional trousers shorter from crotch to waist. Because of the lowering of the waistline, and the fact that what you wear under your pants are now often visible, Robin added, “undies are now an accessory, get used to it.”So I guess it is a good news/bad news scenario that my body hasn’t changed, but my pants have. Moreover I’m delighted that I won’t be ruining my mate’s and my spring ski safari by forcing her to commit me to an assisted living community. But there is still that aforementioned issue concerning my propensity to reveal my skin canyon.Since necessity is ‘the sire of invention’ and since the clothing manufacturers have abandoned those of us who still buy pants to cover our posteriors, I’ve come up with the latest and greatest middle-aged fashion trend – jeans with a skin-hiding cummerbund. It should keep me covered as I hunker down to clean the toilet.Jeffrey Bergeron under the alias of Biff America can be seen on RSN TV, heard on KOA radio, and read in several newspapers and magazines. He can be reached at email@example.com. Biff’s book “Steep, Deep and Dyslexic” is available from local book stores or at Backcountrymagazine.com.