Biology Below The Gnat Line

Biy'allogy - (n) the scientific discipline otherwise known as biology, as taught below the Gnat Line. This blog is for educators who teach science in the deep south, where social and political conservatism reign supreme and "evolution" is a cuss word.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Pants On The Ground

This is not a biology problem, and before moving here I didn't consider it an ethnic problem, but it's a problem.

The first time I ever really noticed it was when I was at UGA. And it was a multicultural problem: white guys, black guys, Asian guys... It was a guy thing. Here in Swainsboro, it tends to be a black thing, which makes it difficult to address without being accused of racism.

In my opinion, asking a young man to pull up his pants is not racist, it's professional. This is college. This is your chance to present yourself to an intellectual community. Do you really want to do that with your ass hanging out of your pants? REALLY? For what it's worth, I'm also not a fan of sweatpants or pajamas, either. And don't think I won't ask you to cover up your breasts if they spilleth over. That's the way you present yourself? REALLY?

Now, I remember wearing wearing pajamas to class. I remember wearing my track pants to class after swim practice. I remember pretending not to care at all what other people thought and yet spending ages picking out which sweatpants I should wear to class that day. I was presenting myself as casual. Laid back. Smooth. Carefree. Individualistic.


But I promise you I never walked around with my underwear sho-  Oops. Wait. That's not true. I never went to CLASS with my underwear showing. I promise.

A male student asked me, "Dr. B! Did you yell at someone about their pants being low in the Registrar's office today?" It wasn't me, but I was his first guess, because I'd gotten after him and his friends before. Typically all I ask is whether or not there is a reason I'm being forced to look at their underpants. They say no, and they pull their pants up. If they're wearing a long shirt and I can't see it, I don't care. It's baggy. Baggy is unflattering, but it's not inappropriate. At this point, the few on campus who are the worst offenders pull their pants up the minute they see me. I smile and say hello and ask after them and treat them as I would any other college student. They seem fine with it.

Recently, one of my other students claimed that his government professor told him that wearing pants buckled below the crotch is about "street cred" and I shouldn't be so critical. It's racist. "Your government professor is a middle aged white guy from Alabama. He's your expert?" I don't buy it. This is an academic environment. Put your best face forward. Do you want to be a thug or a college graduate? Why in the Hell are you here?

So, I'm going to keep asking them to pull up their damn pants.


  1. I don't want to see anyone's unders unless we're in a relationship...I don't care their gender or race. I see people here (Chicago) of all races do it and quite frankly if you are walking like you have crapped may want to reconsider your style.

  2. I worked for a while with a guy who actually pulled his pants down past his butt cheeks on purpose when he got to work. All I saw were that boy's skivvies all day long. And he worked a job that he had to bend over a lot. He was a cute guy, and he was funny and sweet, but if I don't even know what color boxers my boyfriend has on that day, I sure don't want to know what his look like.