We live in a world where pants aren't just pieces of clothing to cover your bottom half. As we found out from Joe Scarborough's visit to The View this week and the backlash that ensued, your pants can apparently be gay. Real gay.
Everyone knows what pants are. In the most general of taxonomies, pants are a piece of clothing with two separate openings for a human's legs. (Dogs can wear pants, but that's a separate and perhaps more controversial issue). Like other pieces of clothing, there are variations among genus and species of pant ranging from pleats, cut, fit, color, and fabric.
But recently, and thanks to political figures like Joe Scarborough and Anthony Weiner, gay or not gay has become a determining characteristic. Scarborough's sartorial choice of wearing salmon-colored chinos caused people like Joy Behar and conservative blogs like Townhall to dub his pants homosexual. Similarly, Anthony Weiner's choice of bright-red pant at a DOMA ruling rally earlier this summer, and Weiner's own comments about them prompted The New York Times's Lawrence Downes to ask: "Is he really saying he hasn’t had time to change out of his gay pants?"
Weiner, going by what he's told women in the past, is obviously not gay. But this brings us to this necessary question: What makes pants gay? Are they born that way? Nature or is it nurture? Is the pant or the wearer that makes it gay?
In January of last year, Barney's Simon Doonan made the assertion that inanimate, particularly food, can be gay. Doonan said that gay food is lighter, brighter, more artistic, art-directed and lesbian or heterosexual food is heavier, droopier, burlier. An easy way to think about is sushi to a smothered burrito. To that, Scarborough noted this morning that he believes that color has a determining effect on the gayness of a pant and that the Nantucket Red pantone made his pants homosexual. Weiner noticed this effect too, but a Weiner campaign staffer noted that fit is just as key as color:
"How do I look?" Weiner asked a gay campaign staffer.
Without missing a beat, the staffer responded, "Well, your pants could be tighter."
Using those metrics: fit, cut, burliness, and color, we've come up with a completely unscientific Kinsey scale of pant homosexuality. Mind you, each subset of each Kinsey category has its outliers and there my be variances determined by the tightness of the pant:
Kinsey 0: "Exclusively heterosexual."
The Pant: The Dad Jean
"Look at that hot guy in dad jeans," said no one ever. The dad jean is the least homosexual pant on the planet. It fails to meet the gay criteria on all fronts—fit is minimal, burliness is expansive, and color, oh that color. The unforgiving dad jean is indiscriminate in embarrassing its wearer—both President Obama and Mitt Romney, who are dads, were seen wearing dad jeans on the campaign trail. Both were chastised accordingly.
Kinsey 1: Predominantly heterosexual, only incidentally homosexual."
The Pant: The Pleated Khaki
The pleated khaki is such a heterosexual, unstylish pant that both heterosexuals and homosexuals have sworn them off.
Kinsey 2: "Predominantly heterosexual, but more than incidentally homosexual."
The Pant: The Cargo Pant
The cargo pant is a strange animal. Men do not need more than four pockets. Some men don't even need more than two. Yet cargo pants are armed with five-six pockets. And some men think it necessary to fill these pockets up, which creates a lumpy aesthetic. Gay pants are not lumpy.
Kinsey 3: Equally heterosexual and homosexual
The Pant: Trousers/Slacks/Dress Pants
Trousers are the equal opportunity pant. Since they're business attire, the color variation is pretty limited. What determines whether or not a trouser is gay is fit which can be either very forgiving or cruel to a man's backside. Make no mistake, these pants can be very gay—and it's no coincidence that a (warning: TOTALLY NSFW) genre of gay porn dedicated specifically to suits and formal work attire.
Kinsey 4: Predominantly homosexual, but more than incidentally heterosexual.
The Pant: The Chino
The strange thing about this pant is that it can be as heterosexual as pants come—some cuts do no favors for your backside, and they can be pretty bland. But the pant, as Scarborough and Weiner found, can come in brighter shades like "Nantucket Red", whatever color you want to call Weiner's pants, all the way up to yellow—which would make this pant out gay the trouser any day:
Kinsey 5: Predominantly homosexual, only incidentally heterosexual.
The Pant: The Designer Jean
The designer jean is the T-Rex of gay pants. It's old and fierce, is what we're trying to say and its gayness has been touted long before extinct gay touchstones like Will & Grace (yes, there was an episode dedicated to Will's too-tight jeans) and Queer Eye for the Straight Guy.
Kinsey 6: Exclusively homosexual.
The Pant: The Jegging (Meggings)
The tightness, the colors, the moose-knuckling—jeggings, you are clearly the most homosexual pants on the planet and in some ways sort of need an NSFW tag.
The Pant That Broke the Scale
The Pant: Chaps
Every time we thought we got a handle on chaps, we found evidence that said different. Like, are they even pants? They are worn as pants, with nothing underneath, sometimes. If you want to go with Doonan's taxonomy, there are examples of chaps that can be as lesbian as wheat germ or porridge, but for every example of that, you images like the one the right.