To be frank, I don’t want to see your bottoms. I have mine and it looks just like yours. You showed me your underwear last week, I gnashed my teeth and begged you not to go any further. Now I don’t know if you think I didn’t see the best part, the goldmine under the roof. Bro, I have seen the things underneath that partition to last me two right and left lifetimes. In the closet of my room when I want to blow my trumpet. In my bathroom when I want to clean one or two areas. I don’t go to the streets and expose them for all to see. I know you have yours and it looks like mine so I don’t bother you. Why do you bother me? I don’t go to the streets to show I bought a new underwear even though my underwear is Gucci. You said it’s because I am not a Big Boy and archaic. I told you that in the old days men proudly wear G-Strings and show off their behind and you said they were backward. You confuse me. To be frank with you bro, sagging, you wash your dirty linens in public. Don’t ask me how.
I told you sagging began in the American prisons among prisoners(even though I wasn’t sure) and you responded that those prisoners have swag and are Big Boys. I asked when you’d like to go to Prison but you kept quiet and looked at me like I am Mr Rowan Atkinson. I asked why you don’t see a tailor to design the trousers that naturally sagged instead of buying trousers and sagging them, you said the beauty is in the conversion. I asked if you will buy a car and turn it into a tricycle if you can design tricycles, you kept quiet and looked at me before you said “it will look somehow”. I told you your trousers hanging below your waist, showing the partitioning line of the right and left section of…(winks) looked “somehow” but you said my sense of fashion is faulty. I told you I placed round pegs in square holes and you questioned the intelligence of my Trigonometry Teacher. I was smiling after you said this, I thought I got you but you looked at your sagged trousers and said: ‘this is a mischievous comparison’.
My sisters looked at you, looked at your underwear(the one you thought was blinking and meant for the world), looked at the tips of your trousers dragging on the floor, looked at your face(of course you are handsome. Note: They didn’t say this before you begin to have ideas) and told me you are an adolescent. I laughed uncontrollably but they wore stern looks and didn’t find it funny. It made me laugh even harder than the previous time. They read me some of those lines they read on motivational books, journals and relationship tips. ‘Real men don’t sag, boys do’, ‘Real Men know that how they ‘Package’ themselves matter’, Real Men are responsible’. While I had reservations on the first (I actually wanted to ask the book that used those exact words) I focused on the last, telling them you consider yourself responsible. They told me responsibility is not just material but also personal. The cleanliness of your teeth. The cleanliness of your hairs. The cleanliness of your mind and body. I told them you are above 25 and they said: “being adolescent has nothing to do with age”. I kept quiet.
The last time you came around, my little nephew, Henry, after you had left said: ‘that uncle doesn’t know how to wear his trousers’ and we laughed. No! No! First he said, ‘uncle, why didn’t you tell that uncle that his…(mumbled something) is showing?”. I laughed and said “you, why didn’t you tell him?” He kept quiet. I answered that I’ve been telling you to dress properly but you have refused to listen and he retorted: “that uncle doesn’t know how to wear his trousers”. He told me that even the baby in the next compound wears her diapers very well. That when she poopoo’s no one knows until her mother dons her a new one. He stood up and showed me his stomach and a belt firm on his tiny waist and said to me: “uncle, this is mine”. Let’s be honest, he made a point.
Our old neighbour saw the future when she looked at you. She saw your next generation dragging their trousers on the floor as they walk naked. She wondered why a healthy man will want the world to see those bony figures behind you. She asked why I keep such people as friends and I told her you have a good character. She asked if you are a Christian and I told her you claim to be a child of God. She asked me: “will Jesus Sag?”. I told her you are not a Christian. She asked: “will Mohammed sag?”. I told her you are not a Muslim. She asked: “will Buddha sag?”. I said you are not a Buddhist but a freethinker. She asked me if Aristotle sagged. I wanted to respond that in Aristotle’s time there were no trousers, instead I said ‘No’ and she said you are confused. I had to suppress laughter before she thinks I’ve got no respect for my elders. Her husband also added that girls were on another level too. That while your trousers head southwards looking for a relationship with the mud and exposing your behind, the girls’ are going northwards trying to return to Adamic man. In future, he said, girls will put on handkerchiefs. Out of respect, I nodded.
Picture a man walking down the street, his trouser’s waistline lowered below his waist to reveal, partly, his underwear(yes, underwear.) or more graciously, his bare hairy bottoms; at the tips, towards his ankle, both trouser ends sit under the sole of his feet while the excess parts brush on the ground. Picture another man walking down the street, his trousers waistline on his waist, revealing neither bare hairy bottoms nor underwear, the trouser tips at the ankle, brushing neither the ground nor the sole feet. Whose address to you is healthier and doesn’t insult self or fellow man, my friend? Your underwear is called underwear for a reason. Sagging is an identity. It is a unique way employed by the ethically downtrodden in the society to protest. You identify with it when you do it. You identify with the erosion of human commonsense and the erosion of correct human behaviour when you sag.
All stories on the origin of sagging are not healthy and inspired by the prison. There is a story of it as a form of rebellion by the prisoners against the societal norms that got them behind bars. While societal norms may not be perfect or close, there are better forms of protests. There is also the story of the absence of belts in prisons, so it doesn’t serve as a suicide belt for depressed prisoners. As a result, their trousers sagged and with time it became norm and a thing of pride. When the prisoners left, they joined street protests on these sagged trousers. Almost all stories on the origin of sagging spoke of inspiration from the prison yard.
There is a reason Muslims don’t make the sign of the cross. There is a reason Catholics don’t do ablution. There is a reason Protestant churches don’t say the Hail Mary. There is a reason Soldiers put on camouflage clothes. There is a reason for the various colours in countries’ flags. There is a reason for the symbol of the Red Cross. It is identity. What they want to be identified with because it defines who they are. So, why identify with the prison yard if you can identify with something greater? Why identify with rogues, societal rejects, criminals, rapists and murderers when you can identify with healers, helpers and positive shapers of our world? Anyone guilty of sagging identifies with all the ills of the society. Everything the society wants to do away with. Sagging doesn’t make anyone a Big Boy(what does that even mean?) and the ‘swag’ it adds to your life is the ‘swag’ of the Prison Yard.
Your good friend,