For some time I have been troubled by the transition of tights from being something ladies would wear under a skirt, to it now being acceptable to don them as stand alone casual or even work pants. Exercise attire I can understand, for exercising. Though even that has since morphed into the Saturday brunch uniform.
The problem isn’t necessarily what you might think it is. While personally I might consider that most people who head into public wearing tights as pants probably have a very long list of problems, including substandard hygiene, I accept that some can pull it off. But the list of people who can pull it off does not include a single man. Not one.
And this is the problem. The world is in this weird place where a good portion of the populace believe equal opportunities is just a capitalist construct that is a roadblock to true utopia – equal outcomes. So if you have fallen into this trap, please let me disabuse you of this fallacy with this very simple example.
Both men and women are capable of wearing tights as pants in public. There is nothing preventing either sex from doing so. Wearing what we choose is a personal freedom that all westerners enjoy. This is called equality of opportunity.
When a woman wears tights as pants, they simply look like terrible pants. Most of the time they are largely inoffensive, with the exception being when someone has outgrown a pair but does not want to accept it. Overall, the outcome of women wearing tights as pants is subjective depending on your views on fashion, but in the scheme of things it’s no big deal.
When a man wears tights as pants, we are faced with a very different outcome. Those who encounter a male in such attire are routinely confronted with the outline of his twig and berries. There are places where one is prepared for such imagery – the bedroom, the bathroom, men’s locker rooms for example. Where you don’t expect to see it is in a New York cafe, with your children.
You see while the opportunity for men and women to wear tights as pants is on an equal level, the outcome is not. Because there is a natural difference in play, and it doesn’t matter how much you might wish it to be otherwise, no one wants to see the clear outline of a man’s schlong over a coffee. Or at work. Or in a bar. Or in the supermarket.
This particular episode played out while we had an Australian friend Ohriviaaa (as Chaos calls her) visiting for the weekend. She only got the rear view, lucky for her. Myself and Hurricane didn’t fare so well. It wasn’t a customer committing this crime, it was an employee. Ohriviaaa did get some follow-up exposure when she spotted a man in his undies in his hotel room, curtains open, while we walked the High Line. She let out such a squeal when he then dropped his daks in full view that a bunch of other tourists came running. The French had their cameras out quick smart. Unsurprising for the French, of course.
Anyway, back to the real target of this post. I can understand the thinking for men to wear tights as pants. Equality. If women can, so can we. It has to go both ways, right? No. It really doesn’t. Just because the opportunity is the same, doesn’t mean the outcome is. So to all those strange dudes in New York who want to wear tights to work, or anywhere else, please don’t. Think of the children. Think of us all.