Mens Pants Sizes and Our Need to Feel Good

My waist is a 30. That is to say, it measures roughly thirty inches around. I used to be able to buy pants in size 30/31 or 30/32. It was pretty easy, which is a good thing for someone that doesn’t particularly enjoy shopping. Especially for himself.

I noticed it for the first time about six or eight months ago when I was shopping for jeans. My waist was still thirty inches, but I had to find pants that were 29/32. And while I know I’m a small guy, they were nearly impossible to find. Under thirty waist was rarely stocked.

Christen and I went shopping for pants again yesterday and the problem has gotten worse. My waist is still the same size but I now wear a 28/32. One of the sales clerks helping me even said “[pullquote back=”1″ align=”right”]you might want to try {brandname} because they flex some and you could probably squeeze into an even smaller size[/pullquote]”. This grated on me as all kinds of wrong. Why would I want to squeeze into anything? That sounds like a horrible experience.

Realization Hits

That’s when it all started to make sense though. It was a sad picture, but it was coming into focus. Small, especially skinny, has been idealized for a long time. It’s unfortunate but it’s true. And people so want to be this “ideal” thing that they’re willing to forego silly things like “facts”, “truth”, or “measurements” to make themselves feel like they’ve achieved it.

They’d rather pants companies lie to them and tell them that their waist is twenty seven inches around when it’s thirty. Because it makes them feel good. So much so that they reward companies that do this by giving them money over the companies that aren’t lying, until they all catch on. And they all lie. And for some reason people love it.

Feeling good isn’t worth sacrificing truth.






Leave a Reply