TOPIC CHANGE: Remember the Pants Pass?

A long, long time ago, back when we were young and dewey, and ultra conservatives were still blackballing me for being a toxic radical castrating feminist, rather than friending me like crazy as the freshest incarnation of Catherine of Siena, I made a thing called a Pants Pass.

It’s weird. I know. Let me sum up: This mediumish name in the Catholic world put out a weird little message (“not a hard-and-fast directive!)” listing 14 reasons why women ought to wear skirts and dresses allatime. Oh yes, it’s still online. Bunch of Catholic women unanimously declared it bullshit, and to that chorus I added my Panstifesto.

There was a strenuous backlash among the Assholio Community, and so I felt compelled to fisk the not-a-directive in more detail. Here’s the salient part, which led to the creation of The Pants Pass. The sola skirtura guy had said:

[Wear skirts] for us, the minority of chaste men who merit the gift of enjoying your beauty in such a way as to be grateful to your creator without temptation. Make it so it is good for men to look upon you, rather than requiring us to look away (which is a tragedy).

“Merit?”  “Make it so it is good?”  I’ll translate this for you:

I don’t cheat on my wife, and that’s really hard, so I’m entitled to some compensation.  So line up, girls, and show me something special.  Neutrally modest isn’t good enough — I deserve something niiiiiiiice.

Oh, you sound just like Padre Pio; really you do!

Several other men in various comboxes expressed a similar idea of their right, as a virtuous man, to enjoy all women in a virtuous way.  They’re not satisfied with cracking down on their own wives — they feel that they’ve won the privilege of savoring and setting the standards for everyone else’s wife, too.

A few guys said that they could tell by the way I talk that I’m a disobedient wife.  How can they tell?  Because their wives wear skirts.  I usually don’t.  Therefore I must be disobeying my husband.

Never mind that my husband likes me in pants.  Which I mentioned.  So I guess they’re saying . . . that I should be obeying them?

Luckily for me, I have a husband who is just dying for someone to say something like that, so he can punch their lights out.  He recently quit smoking, and is looking for someone to punch.

But, ladies, what if your husband likes you in pants, but you happen to leave the house without him?  What if you’re doing some errands, you’re wearing pants, and some pigeon-toed guy with a scaly neck sidles up and confronts you for revealing the fact that you have legs — two of ‘em?

He scowls through his horrible beard and, once he gains control of the self-righteous quivering that shakes him from head to toe, he speaks:  “WHERE IS THY SKIRT, WOMAN?  WHY HAST THOU APPEARED AT WALMART IN THESE DETESTABLE PANTALOONS?  DOST THOU NOT RESPECT THY HUSBAND’S WISHES?”

Here’s what you do:  print out the following card, laminate it, and show it to the guy.

While he’s mentally translating it into Latin so it makes sense to him, you will be able to make a speedy getaway.  And since you’re wearing dem pants, you’ll do it without showing any skin!  Run, ladies, run!

Okay! So now we’re all caught up.

The reason I’m bringing this up now is because (a) aren’t we all looking for something, anything to talk about, other than The Thing? And more importantly, (b)  my dear friend Elisa of Door Number Nine has actually made and actually laminated some actual Pants Passes, which you can actually buy. $2.75 a pop, and worth every penny, I say.

And because she is who she is, she made up this little video, just to . . . well, I don’t know why.

You guys. That was eight years ago. Remember when the Catholic internet was torn apart by a battle over pants? I shall sigh forever.

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39 thoughts on “TOPIC CHANGE: Remember the Pants Pass?”

  1. I realize I am late to this conversation. I also read the original pants manifesto. It brought tears of laughter, but in a very small way, real tears also. I am a recovering ‘rad trad’ and to this day (I am 50) I struggle with clothing at Mass, out of fear I’m immodest. I refuse to wear skirts exclusively and do not choose to wear a headcovering (the original term; ‘veiling’ is a new traddie term that confuses the matter with those who ‘take the veil’ in a religious vow context). I just, mentally, cannot bring myself to wear a sleeveless top, wonder if my pants are too fitted, etc. due to my upbringing. So pray for these women. They are suffering a type of silent abuse, and I can’t be the only one experiencing the after effects of the damage from extreme modesty.

  2. Well, I am an exclusive skirt-wearer who has long loved Simcha’s blog. The original post was so hilarious I remember snorting and crying and telling my husband he was going to have to give me permission. My absolute favorite part is the dewy-cheeked bride on the original pass. In fact I’m still snorting.

    The dude you are referring to was silly for writing such an article, and I myself have no opinion about sisters who wear pants ( provided the husbands signed on … Snort…)

    Just to say those of us who never go out in pants aren’t necessarily without a sense of humor.

  3. I enjoyed the original pants post, and this follow-up, but something tells me that Simcha F. is making sure to re-establish her non-trad bona fides here. Nothing wrong with that, of course.

    However, I do think that all of us ought to be less quick to jump to conclusions about people’s deeper religious views based on ‘dog-whistles’ like pants/no pants, veils/bare heads, critcisims of the Pope/uncritical support for the Pope. Notice too that the last of these is no longer, under Pope Francis, proof positive of one’s views in either direction.

    Incidentally, I wear pants and dresses or skirts about equally, depending on the weather and my energy. Skirts and dresses usually need ironing, whereas jeans do not.

    1. No, I posted it because Elisa just listed the Pants Pass, as I mentioned. It was Elisa’s idea that she came up with several months ago, and had nothing to do with . . . anything. I agree that we all need to quit deciding which box everyone belongs to. I’m proud to be equally despised by people across the political and cultural spectrum.

      1. One never knows who is going to despise one, or for what reasons, when one has any kind of internet profile. I once infuriated a crazy Russian lady by using the term ‘Great War’ to refer to World War I. I tried to point out that nobody knew it was ‘World War I’ until World War II began, but she wasn’t buying it. She found the unfamiliar name offensive and was so angry that she started a blog devoted to attacking me.

  4. Some of my favorite writing here:
    “the Assholio community”
    “the Sola Skirtura guy”
    “Oh, you sound just like Padre Pio; really you do!”

    You, Simcha, were born for such a time as this. As that. Something. I don’t know that any of us were born for this time now. *sigh*

  5. The pants pass is how I found you many years ago, and yes, I remember it fondly. Thank you for resurrecting this beauty, and kudos to your friend for actually laminating them! (And good job, Damien, for quitting smoking! Huzzah!)

  6. I am now 55, and I THINK that my husband has stopped wanting me to wear miniskirts, but until the Second Kid was born in 2001, he was very much of the opinion that my wardrobe was entirely too conservative. He actually bought me a halter top and a leopard print miniskirt once. If I relied on Steve’s taste, I would be making strippers blush.

  7. I am so sad that the comments did not convey from your old domain. :,( I used to go back and re-read them every so often.

  8. This was a hilarious rest stop along the sad News Highway. (“Mentally translating it into Latin so it makes sense to him” — BWAHAHAHAHA!!!) Thank you. I missed the whole thing the first time around (in 2010) and I regret that the comments are not only closed, but gone! I would have loved reading some of the snark from fellow pants-wearing heathens.

    Also, I don’t know who this guy is, and the CatholiCity page doesn’t seem to want to tell me — but I am pretty sure I wouldn’t want to know him, anyway.

    1. I’ll give you a hint: Catholicity is a one-man show. He used to have his name all over it, but after very publically divorcing his wife and using the court system against her to take sole custody of their four kids, he found it more prudent to remove his deep thoughts without his name attached to them any more.

      1. -Sorry; two sentences got their wires crossed there: that should say “issue his deep thoughts” rather than “remove” them.

        1. Possibly – I only met her once, briefly, and certainly her response to the divorce wasn’t sensible, if her goal was getting her kids back. On the other hand, him I knew decently well, and I can say he’s a real piece of work – to give the first few descriptors that spring to mind: flirty (indeed, handsy), unctuous, self-obsessed…

        1. Well, as noted above, he now tends to publish anonymously. Whether the tone has become less preachy and self-righteous? I don’t read CatholiCity often enough to answer that.

        2. If it’s who I think it is, after it all went down I wondered for a long time how he truly felt about the whole thing. Remorse? Ok for me, not thee? My situation was different? I was wrong, but I don’t know how to undo it? I confessed, so it’s a-ok now?

  9. “I don’t cheat on my wife, and that’s really hard, so I’m entitled to some compensation. So line up, girls, and show me something special. Neutrally modest isn’t good enough — I deserve something niiiiiiiice.”

    Having – regrettably – been acquainted with the gentleman in question some years back, I can’t even begin to tell you how very apt a translation that is of his sentiments and attitude toward women. (Except I’m not so sure about the first sentence being a statement of fact…)

  10. Laughing and rolling my eyes as I read this. Any man, be he whippersnapper or venerable elder, who scolds me for wearing pants to Mass is going to get an invitation to buy me a dress if he’s so sure I should be wearing one.

    1. I always figured if a man said “Shouldn’t you wear a dress to mass?” I’d say “I will if you will, honey!” But my husband, a very kind soul, says that is a little too mean.

    2. “Oh, I’m sorry, sir, I’m under my husband’s authority and I would never dream of disrespecting him by taking correction from another man without his approval. You’ll have to discuss my dress with him.”

  11. Simcha! I am HOWLING! Dying! I’m going to wake up my housemate!
    TBH I don’t know why I made that video either, but I love it and I’ve watched it at LEAST fourteen times in the past 24 hours, giggling every time.

    1. I feel like I am a mean girl about this because I think that the 5-10 woman at my parish who wear Veils to church recently are doing it for good reasons, but I really don’t get it. Having said this, I guess Simcha and you might be wearing veils to church but somehow I don’t think so. Seeing the Pants Pass made me want a Veil Pass because I just feel that veils don’t go with pants, which I wear to church often. I also wonder why some who wear veils gave it a verb word: veiling. When I wear pants to church, am I pantsing? If I wear a skirt to church, am I skirting? When I wear a dress to church, I guess I am dressing but not quite, I don’t think. I believe it’s wearing clothes to church after dressing at home.

      1. I wear a veil with pants, indeed with jeans quite often! I revel in the stereotype breaking, to be honest. I theoretically contemplated trying to start a movement of Catholic pro-life feminists who veil actually, because I don’t fit in the normal categories of women who veil.

          1. But “hatting” wouldn’t sound nearly so holy, would it now?

            Like you, I’m curious as to why the ladies at the local trad parish seem to exclusively do veils rather than hats. My understanding is that back in the day, American women normally wore hats to church, not veils, and that the lacy veils were mainly used in Latin countries.

            It also always puzzles me that they’re usually made out of the absolute cheapest, tackiest, machine-made polyester lace possible. If I were going to wear a head-covering as part of my Sunday best, I’d at least find a well-made and attractive shawl or scarf to do it with.

            1. My grandmother always wore hats, they were fashionable, appropriate, and coordinated with her outfit. The so-called veils are actually called “mantillas,” and they originated in Spanish culture. Since our family isn’t Spanish, my grandmother wasn’t going to have any part of that!

          2. “Veil” didn’t just become a verb recently. It has been used as a noun and verb since its origins. I wear pants & veil, and on the occasions where I’ve forgotten my veil, I wear a hat (winter in Quebec means I’ve got a hat on me 6 months out of the year anyway). If I forget the hat then…I still go because who cares, to each her own.

          3. As a man I probably should not weigh on this, but I have also been confused for a long time by the use of veils instead of hats. I think many traditionalists don’t even realize that hats are an option – if they do, they rarely make it clear in their writings.

        1. There are a few women in my new parish who veil. Thanks to this post, I will now be covertly keeping track of whether they wear skirts or pants (it’s NYC, you never know).

      2. This thread seemed slightly snarky at women who wear veils, as if all of us who does it is a RadTrad who hates pants. Jennifer Fulwiler veils! She wears pants! It’s not a bat signal for a certain set of beliefs – it’s just a personal devotion.

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