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Sing the praises of pants!

January 15, 2010

Dockers, purveyors of those boring beige trousers that every man between the ages of 16 and 50 owns for when they go visit Grandma, is trying a new ad campaign, one where wimps need not apply. Gentlemen, I give you the “Man-ifesto.”

Once upon a time, men wore the pants, and wore them well. Women rarely had to open doors and little old ladies never crossed the street alone. Men took charge because that’s what they did. But somewhere along the way, the world decided it no longer needed men. Disco by disco, latte by foamy non-fat latte, men were stripped of their khakis and left stranded on the road between boyhood and androgyny. But today, there are questions our genderless society has no answers for. The world sits idly by as cities crumble, children misbehave and those little old ladies remain on one side of the street. For the first time since bad guys, we need heroes. We need grown-ups. We need men to put down the plastic fork, step away from the salad bar and untie the world from the tracks of complacency. It’s time to get your hands dirty. It’s time to answer the call of manhood. IT’S TIME TO WEAR THE PANTS.

That’s right, put down the Starbucks and buy some khakis, faggot! With the success of Mad Men, the manly arts of smoking, drinking and cheating on your wife have become fashionable again, it’s not surprising real-life advertising agencies and their clients are jumping on the “how to be a real man” train. It’s a time honored tactic, targeting insecure males who worry that any slight deviation from the sports-beer-tits lifestyle means that they’re one step away from feather boas and midnight showings of Velvet Goldmine. The Dockers ad reads like it was written by someone’s grouchy, Archie Bunker-esque grandfather, who tells you a story about how he was driving one day and saw a girl with a beautiful head of long, golden hair, and how shocked he was when the girl turned around and was actually a guy! Disco references, in 2010? Are they getting their ideas by channeling the ghost of Steve Allen? And let’s not even get into ending a sentence with a preposition. Proper grammar is for pansies!

There’s something very Republican about the campaign, particularly with the suggestion that the world went to hell once men stopped being in charge, which presumably was around the same time they started wearing other pants besides Dockers. Trouble is, men are still in charge, and they never stopped wearing Dockers, probably the least edgy, bold fashion statement a person can make, other than not bothering to get dressed at all. The idea that buying a pair of pants you can get at Sears will put you on the path to reclaiming your masculinity is about as ludicrous as Miracle Whip now claiming that they’re the hip, trendy alternative to mayonnaise. Get over yourselves, Dockers, you’re pants men wear to work when they can’t wear jeans. They’d go in their underwear if they could get away with it.

And really, can we get off this “real men don’t eat salad or drink anything but black, unsweetened coffee” trip? This is a cliche that commercials and print ads have driven into the ground, dug back up, driven into the ground, then dug back up again, like some sort of horrible, metaphorical zombie. The “healthy eating is emasculating” trope seems to sell lots of cheeseburgers, but to what end? Are there men who are actually getting laid because of their utter disregard for their health? Would you ever hear a woman say “Well, he may be ugly and have a terrible personality, but the way he put a pound a bacon away just made me quiver!” Perhaps it’s because, also according to commercials, worrying about your weight and appearance is uniquely feminine, so by that definition joyfully stuffing your face full of greasy meat until your jaw nearly unhinges is the pinnacle of manhood.

So, it would seem, is wearing dull clothes and relying on dusty old stereotypes about gender roles. When’s the last time you’ve seen an old lady that really needed help crossing a street? These days, if you tried to take an old lady’s arm, she’d probably turn around and wallop you with her purse, or bust out some “way of the dragon” aikido shit she learned at the local senior citizens’ center. Finally, “our genderless society”? What genderless society? Are they suggesting that we can no longer tell apart the men from the women? I know which ones are the men. They’re the ones wearing fucking Dockers.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Joyous permalink
    January 15, 2010 8:08 pm

    The best part is the little link in the corner of the that says “join the discussion on Facebook.” Shameless bid to stir up controversy, anyone?

    The comments of the offended are about even with the comments of those who see this as some kind of iconoclastic rebellion against political correctness…and most of them are hard-core Jesus-is-Lord types who think this is how god ordained the world to be. Because on the seventh day, He made Dockers, apparently.

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