A Farewell to Pants

I have a long commute to work, which gives me a lot of time to think important thoughts. Today, for example, I calculated the percentage of male drivers who choose not to wear pants while driving long distances. It’s a surprisingly high percentage, based on my sophisticate algorithms that involve calculus, a working knowledge of the heat-index, and observation. Just crane your neck, and peek into the driver’s window of the car next to you. Chances are very good that he is wearing only underpants.

I’ve got pants on my mind lately, mainly because I’ve decided to replace many of the ones in my wardrobe with skirts and dresses. Yes, my friends, I finally have decided to embrace my inner—and, frankly, inherent—fem. I’ve decided that in my middle years, it’s time to sparkle. My mother never has been so happy.

I was raised by a super-feminine mother who stuffed me into fine Italian knit dresses, until she finally, reluctantly, let me start dressing myself when I was a sophomore (!) in high school. I rebelled by wearing nothing but jeans until I graduated from college.

Once you get out of a dress, it’s hard to get back into one. For years, every time I put on a dress, I felt like I was slipping into a costume. It felt unnatural. And, ladies, let’s face it: The lesbian community doesn’t exert much peer pressure to be girlie.

But lately, I find myself returning to the type of things my mother tried to get me to appreciate in my youth. I’ve taken out of storage the long-neglected fine china she forced me to buy. I started to look forward to, rather than resent, holidays with the extended family.

And I gradually introduced a small gaggle of skirts, jumpers, and silk shifts to my wardrobe. Nothing too frilly. Just showing enough leg to put people on notice that my tree-climbing days are over.

It all started with a skort. For those of you not in the know, a skort is simply a pair of shorts pretending to be a skirt. It looks like a skirt, and acts like a skirt, but underneath is a pair of shorts. Still confused? Turn on any ladies professional golf tournament. Most of the players are in skorts. My girlfriend, who likes girlie girls, tricked me into one last summer.

“Try on this pair of shorts,” she demanded in a tone scarily similar to my mother’s. They have much too much in common. It’s frightening and kind of creepy.

I slipped it on, and stepped in front of a mirror.

“Hey!” I exclaimed. “It’s a skirt.”

“Exactly,” she said smugly.

We bought several pairs in different colors. Once the genie was out of the bottle, it was hard to get back into slacks. I had forgotten how frickin’ comfortable skirts are. And, for me at least, comfort trumps post-adolescent rebellion every time.

The first time I wore a skirt to work, my boss, who is kind of an idiot, and is used to seeing me in suits, said, “What’s that?”

“It’s a skirt, you idiot,” I said.

And I quickly realized that switching from slacks to skirts has its own coming-out process. People who are used to seeing you one way have to adjust to this new version of you. And it makes them uncomfortable.

But I couldn’t care less about their comfort. That’s one of the nice things about getting older—you just don’t worry too much about what people think of you.

That’s why when I see guys happily driving in nothing but their underpants, I nod in approval, and give them a “right on, brotha” thumbs-up.

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