Thursday, March 30, 2006


The day my pants betrayed me

It’s just before lunchtime. The sun is shining and I can’t wait to get outside and get a breath of fresh air. But first, after consuming both a large and an extra-large coffee during the course of the morning, I must make a pit stop.

I am wearing my favourite black dress pants, a little splurge from last winter – a high-end label at a stellar price from Winners. They would probably retail around $200 but I got them for $50. They are my ‘professional’ pants.

I tug at the zipper, tucked discreetly on my left hip – and nothing happens. I tug at the zipper again, and once more with feeling. Nothing happens.

I crane my neck and arch my back, trying to eyeball the zipper directly while holding the zipper in one hand, the seam in the other and will my rather intrusive breast out of my line of view. Nothing happens. I vaguely remember the feeling of the zipper climbing a fraction of a centimetre higher than usual when I put them on this morning, but thought nothing of it at the time.

My bladder, sensing my hesitation, begins sending out mayday messages to my brain. What was simply a pre-emptive pit stop becomes a dire emergency.

Failing to believe the old axiom about insanity being defined as taking the same course of action over and over again and expecting a different result, I tug mercilessly at the zipper. Nothing continues to happen.

I stop to consider my situation. It is lunchtime, I am in a bathroom stall at work, I have to pee with a fierceness previously known only in the ninth month of pregnancy, and I am trapped in my pants.

Can I ask for help? To whom should I address my plea? I don’t imagine that my female colleagues will have much more success at trying to remove my pants than I have had, and I don’t think I fancy letting them try. The IT office is nearby – they might have pliers. Do I want to have one of the tech support guys prying open my pants with pliers? I don’t think my reputation could stand it.

Should I go back to my desk and cut open the pants? Did I mention really. stellar. deal? I would sooner amputate my legs than deface this fine example of trouserly art.

Can I hold it until the end of the day? That’s five hours, give or take a quarter hour. And my bladder is screaming. Even if I could hold it that long, it would preclude me adding to my own misery by indulging in an afternoon coffee. And the make-or-break hour would be the commute home, where I would have no recourse if I decided that no, in fact, I couldn’t hold it that long after all.

Can I shimmy out of these pants without undoing the zipper? Although this seems to be the best of the options presented to date, it is by no means easy to accomplish. These pants sit rather comfortably at my waist, which is a considerable circumferential distance from my ample post-ten-pound-child-bearing hips.

I long for a nice flat bed, or at least a hygienic carpet, on which to stretch out, à la 1980s Jordache jeans pulled on with a coat hanger. I tug, I wriggle, I suck in my gut. I try to suck in my hips and instead implode my eardrums. I nearly herniate myself in the process, but finally manage to yank the traitorous trousers to my knees.

Ah, sweet relief.

Except now I have a new problem. You saw this coming, didn’t you? I, sadly, did not.

Having achieved the immediate and overriding goal of an empty bladder, I find myself stranded and without a business continuity plan. More specifically, I have no idea how to get my pants back up where they belong in polite company without undoing the zipper.

This time, gravity is not my friend. Once again, I tug, I tuck, I yank and I wriggle. I inhale until my diaphragm is somewhere into the vicinity of my voicebox. With a final wrenching pull, my pants hurdle the summit that is my hips. The waistband falls gently into place, and I am safe to exit the stall in decency.

Disaster averted. Life goes on.

Except now it’s two hours later and I have to pee again. I'll never make it all the way home. Fate is cruel.

Forget the high-end designer pants, I'm investing in some good old-fashioned elastic waistbands. If, that is, I can ever get these traitorous pants off...