By Al Banton
I have become a regular at a coffee shop in Birmingham, Alabama. I do a lot of my writing there, usually at a small table right inside the front door. That door is like a turnstile for all walks of life: businesspeople, joggers, hipsters, college students, retirees, male and female. I like this particular spot because it gives me an opportunity to say hello to friends, and from time to time hold the door open for those scurrying out who are negotiating several cups at a time. Every morning, girls sporting yoga pants or leggings will saunter through the door, and because I am seated, I get an eye-level view of the proceedings.
(Sometimes, it makes me think of the great line in Dumb and Dumber, when a man and a woman walk by and Jeff Daniels says, regarding the woman in leggings, “Look at the butt on that!” Jim Carrey replies, “Yeah. He must work out.”)
As the svelte regiments in yoga pants and leggings promenade by, one by one in many colors and designs, I often catch myself peeking. Yep. Guilty. You caught me.
Honestly, I try not to look, but it is very difficult given the amazing forms that breeze by, hunting the checkout desk for their a cranberry-orange scone and skinny latte.
Do I like yoga pants?
Of course I do. I think they may be the greatest thing ever invented. But that’s the barbarian in me. The Cro-Magnon. The man.
While I’m sitting there, I’m literally having this mental conversation with myself, trying to keep my thoughts from maneuvering into carnal precincts. Be…strong. I really don’t want to seem like some perv, but dang if those things aren’t form-fitting!
So I have to answer the question, don’t I? “Do I see anything wrong with wearing yoga pants?” Generally speaking, no I do not. Yoga pants are functional and serve a purpose. Besides, women have been wearing tight-fittin’ pants for years. I think back to the old Jordache jeans, the hip-suffocating Bell bottoms, the eighties polyester short shorts (and knee-high, three-stripe socks). What’s the difference?
But here’s the deal. I get where that lady is coming from. You know, the woman—Veronica Partridge—who wrote the article on yoga pants called “Why I Chose to No Longer Wear Leggings.” She said, “Was it possible my wearing leggings could cause a man, other than my husband, to think lustfully about my body?”
Her answer was yes. And I have total respect for this woman for policing her wardrobe. Here’s a woman who decided to stop doing something because of her beliefs, who took personal accountability for her actions because God convicted her. As to be expected, she was derided and mocked because of her post, because of her hokey “Christian” point-of-view, perceived as ever-archaic in today’s “do what you want to do, as long as it feels good” world. I never thought I’d see the day where making a decision to use discretion would be so ridiculed.
I will challenge her on one point, though. To say that the leggings “cause” men to stumble might be a stretch (pun intended). Men cause men to stumble, not leggings.
When the gorgeous behinds pass by, we (men) always have a choice. Either a) look away and think nothing else of it, b) appreciate the female form while you sip your half-caf, or c) visualize scenarios that run the prurient gamut.
I believe the first glance is not the problem. It’s the second and third that begin to get us in trouble. But remember, we are always presented with a choice.
If you’re wondering by now, we’ve shifted to third gear. This article is now not really about yoga pants. This is about men and for men, and for the people who are affected by the behavior of men. I do not write this to bash men; no, indeed I write this to help men, to liberate men, and to help wives, girlfriends, significant others, boos, fiancées, and baby mamas to understand what men go through daily, and to help them understand that the struggle is real.
Lean in close and I want to tell you a secret. You ready?
Yoga pants aren’t the only way we are tempted.