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The Strange Fascination With Pants

October 17, 2017

I’m sorry for the inconvenience.

Yeah, it appears I made the trip in for nothing. And I had to put on pants!

It was an accusation. But, one tempered with understanding. I was explaining to an engineer that we were cancelling the work scheduled for tonight. He was going to be our on-site person at our data center in Cincinnati. We were working with our client to install some new routers. We’d been planning the work for months. It was the final preparation step for a massive migration project we’d been working on for over a year.

And I had to tell him at 10:45 PM, 15 minutes before we were supposed to start that the work had been scrubbed and he didn’t actually need to be in the data center at eleven o’clock at night.

It’s strange, I’ve never met Sean, our engineer. Sure, I’ve talked to him on phone conferences. And I used our company’s Skype program to interact with him. But, Sean and I had never been in the same room together. In fact, I don’t think we’d ever been in the same state, unless he lived in Kentucky and drove across the bridge to work in Cincinnati. But, with his comment about pants, I knew exactly who he was.

I can’t tell you where the reference comes from like I can with references to “It’s only a flesh wound” (Monty Python and the Holy Grail), or “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means,” (Princess Bride) or even “Badges? We don’t need no stinking badges,” (Blazing Saddles or Treasure of Sierra Madre.)

The irreverent reference to pants, specifically putting on pants, is lost on me. But, what’s not lost is the inference. And it’s one that I’ve seen from many technical people. Typically always men working in IT.

Any day you don’t have to wear pants is a good day. And they are not talking about pants vs shorts. No, they are talking about pants vs no pants.

Howard Tayler is an award winning, world famous cartoonist. He created Schlock Mercenary ( and has turned it into one of the most popular web comics on the internet. He’s won awards. He’s been invited all over the world as a guest speaker. He’s one of the most articulate and well spoken men I know. . .and he enjoys not wearing pants.

Howard used to work in IT. He was a director of development for Novell GroupWise email system. Howard likes his current job better for several reasons:

  • He’s his own boss
  • Get’s to be creative and stuff
  • Doesn’t have to wear pants

Howard works from home.

Most of the engineers I work with work from home. I end up working from home half the time. And yeah, there are days I don’t get around to putting on pants until the afternoon. In my case, I’m wearing pajamas. I have a house full of kids and we’ll just leave it at that.

But, when Sean announced that he was frustrated with the maintenance cancellation not because of the inconvenience to our schedule, or the late notice, but that he had to put on pants, I knew that Sean and I understood one another. I apologized again for not being able to let him know before he’d arrived on site at the data center. He seemed to take it well.

Yeah, I guess I’ll have to find something to do. I’ve already made the trip in.

And he’s already gone to the trouble of putting on pants

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

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(c) 2017 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved


One Comment
  1. I imagine it comes from News anchor whos pants we never see, where many wear jeans or such that comfortable leg wear. Those of us working at home don’t need dress pants, but can go for comfort instead.
    For me that means the old wearing out jeans that are nice and soft, sometimes with some ‘ventilation’ that makes them no longer fit for wearing in public (I’m not interested in going for “that” look, that others appear to like). These home pants also don’t have much in the pockets, where as the current public pants have my wallet, keys and such making for a quick transition when I do have to go out. PJs at the computer only happen when I get an emergency call/msg.

    It appears for all the pants cracks from Howard that he prefers to wear some form of pants at home, as he indicated recently
    Perhaps Howard and Sean are similar to me and still have to make that change of pants to go out in public, but it still fun to make the cracks of needing (public) pants to go out, only implying running around home bottomless.

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