I am writing this on September 22, 2016 which is, so the calendar says, the first day of fall. It is approximately ninety-jillion degrees outside and, to be honest, inside my office, since my law partner thinks anything below 80 on the thermostat means we are trying to freeze him out. If you spend too much time in his office, you start smelling bacon when your salty-from-schvitzing skin starts to cook.
But outside, it is still summer, regardless of what air conditioning could do for us if we let it and regardless of how the Earth tilts on its axis relative to its position around the sun.
If the leaves are changing to brown, it is because they are dying in the heat.
All of which is a long lead up to this: why can’t I wear white pants? Why can’t I wear linen? Because someone unnamable person, probably a society person who belonged to some kind of members-only club that wouldn’t let me in, decided that once Labor Day hit, white pants were a sin on par with adultery and taking a penny without ever leaving a penny in the little cup by the cash register.
I actually looked it up to see if there was some reason, and even the people with an actual budget for such esoteric, useless research like staff reporters for Time Magazine couldn’t find a consistent explanation amongst fashion historians. And as along as we are talking about actual budgets, who pays fashion historians to be fashion historians? That doesn’t seem like the kind of career goal that would allow you to pay both rent and for groceries. Although now that I think of it, given the waif-like size of your average fashionista, maybe groceries aren’t so much a priority.
But me? I eat groceries, lots of them, and I have a few natural layers of insulation that make warm temperatures a little bit trying. Plus, I’m a sweater. I don’t glisten or shine or perspire. I sweat buckets of rank, salty fluid that drip with audible plops and stain my clothing and make people do that flared nostril, pinched mouth thing they do when they are pretending like they don’t smell an inhuman stink coming from someone who otherwise looks like a professional grownup.
Not that white pants are the answer to my troubles. But they HELP. Light is not much more than visible energy. White reflects light and the heat associated with vibrating energetic molecules away from me. Darker colors collect it, turning my pants into Thermoses, keeping the hot things hot. Plus, I like my white pants. They look good with patterned shirts. They happen to fit me well. And I can usually go three quarters of the day before dropping some colored stain-inducing food on them.
The bigger question, the meta-question, if you will, is why I care. I am 46 years old, and I’m pretty confident that the color of my pants isn’t going to determine whether or not my life is ultimately a good one. I guess it is because I am a rule-follower. I like rules. As someone who often feels socially awkward, when I know what the rules are I will follow them no-matter-what because that’s one less reason for someone to exclude me from the cool kids table in the lunchroom. (We never get over the fears we had when we were 13, do we?)
As problems go, it’s not a big one. No one is dying or crying, only whining. There is no great injustice anywhere: there isn’t and shouldn’t be any #WhitePantsMatter movement.
But really. Whoever it is that says that you can’t wear tails on your suit coat before 6:00 p.m., or velvet after Valentine’s Day, or socks with sandals (ok, maybe that last one does make some sense) can you PLEASE reverse course and change the rule to allow me to wear white pants so long as the temperature is hot enough to boil the water in the bottle I left in my car?
Please? Pretty please? For me?
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Lori B. Duff is an award-winning author who practices law on the side. Her latest book, “If You Did What I Told You…” is set to be released in the Fall of 2019. You can follow her on Twitter at @LoriBDuff and on Facebook. For more blogs written by Lori, click here. For more information about Lori in general, click here. If you want Lori to do your writing for you, click here.