A Message to Young Men: Put a Belt On It

Beyonce popularized a hit tune telling all the single ladies to “Put A Ring On It.” Meanwhile, well-intentioned people all over are wishing for an anthem that would convince young men to wear a belt and stop sagging their pants. 

General Larry Pratt came close to doing that when he appeared on American Idol, during its 9th season in January 2010. He wowed the judges with his clever song “Pants on the Ground.” While the catchy tune went viral on the Internet and brought the 62-year-old Pratt overnight fame, apparently the message was lost on the youths.

There is nothing sexy, cool, or attractive about young men wearing their pants drooping off their butt. Hip hoppers are no exception. I have been told that “saggin” as it is called, originated in prison where men are not allowed to have belts and some want to show that they are sexually available. The inclination of some young people to follow any trend, even if it equates them to criminals, is just another sad saga in a morally bankrupt society.

Well, saggin may be “in” outside the prison walls, but mature people think that it shows ignorance. Furthermore, it has to be as much a pain in the butt for young men to constantly struggle to hold up their pants as it is for reluctant witnesses to see their drawers, and in some instances their bare behind. And Jimmydee creepers! Don’t let them bend over while the pants are sagging. What do youths think is so cool about being prison chic?

When my adolescent son was growing up in the 80’s, I would often scold him about wearing his cap turned backward. “It makes you look like a thug,” I told him more times than he cared to hear. He’s a grown man now, and God knows that I appreciate the fact that my challenge of trying to keep him from conforming to negative peer pressure was minor compared to the challenges that nurturing parents face today.

Numerous states including Louisiana, Virginia, Florida, and public venues nationwide have attempted to institute anti-sagging policies that ban men from wearing their pants below their waist and exposing their underwear in public. Some people oppose criminalizing the practice, because they believe that the proposed law targets a particular group — black men.

Last Wednesday, a University of New Mexico football player was arrested at the San Francisco International Airport over the issue of his saggy pants. Reportedly his mother said: “He was attacked for three reasons – his clothing, his skin, and his hair.”

In my recent discussion of this issue with a few acquaintances, some opined that saggin is practiced by people who are immature and have no self respect. Then, a member of the group temporarily halted the discussion when he said there is a double insult when you spell the word saggin backwards.

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