Getting to the bottom of the yoga ‘pants’emonium

This is my Sunday column for the March 31, 2013 edition of the Hibbing Daily Tribune.

Getting to the bottom of the yoga ‘pants’emonium
By Aaron J. Brown

Allow me to state my qualifications to talk about yoga pants. I’ve done yoga a couple times on my Nintendo Wii. I really enjoy how yoga pants look on women, especially my wife, for reasons that are completely impure. And that’s about it.

This is also a way of explaining how the story of designer yoga pants company Lululemon’s recent recall of its most popular pants has such legs. (Brace yourself. The other reason this story is so powerful is that the people who write the news LOVE puns, especially as they relate to taboo body parts).

I’ve already worked my way through the “guy” response to this crisis. 1) Incredulous reaction so as to cover true feelings. 2) Titillation. 3) Shame. 4) Titillation, again, but less this time. 5) Acceptance. Really, this Yogapantsgate scandal is based on two fundamental points of interest: A large segment of our population would like to see through yoga pants, a prospect that an equally large segment of our population would like to prevent. The yin and the yang.

Read the full column.

Do you remember where you were when you heard about the yoga pants? Perhaps you were doing yoga? I was on my couch drinking coffee early in the morning. “Good Morning America” reported the recall, warning of the see-through seats that display too many assets. My comment at the time was, “Well, kudos for figuring out a way to run B-roll of women doing yoga, ABC.”

But I knew the story had yet to bottom out because the next day the same show did the same story the same way at the same time of morning. No new information, just more women doing yoga and anchors tut-tutting. It went on like this for much of the week.

The yoga pants recall opened discussions that went like this. If yoga pants are too thin, people can see through them. If yoga pants wearers are in public, anyone can see through their yoga pants. If that seems a bit simplistic I thought so too. Fundamentally, does not the responsibility for the thickness of your pants rest with you alone? If one is to pay $100 for pants, should not one consider the thickness of the pants, especially in the zone hereto referred as the “booty?”

Lululemon, the Canadian company who sold the transparent stretch trousers, did itself no favors a few days after issuing the recall. A company official issued a statement that the only way to know if you owned a pair of the transparent yoga pants was to “bend over.”

In music, this is the chord that satisfies the composition. Everybody is thinking about people bending over, but no one honestly expects anyone to say it. Boom. There it is. Now we’re talking about it.

But that’s not all.

Last weekend a story emerged that women seeking to return Lululemon yoga pants were asked by clerks to put on the pants and then actually bend over in the dressing rooms for inspection. Why? Because those clerks had read the same reports and thought that’s what they had to do. Don’t worry, the woman who reported this incident was told by a yoga pants saleswoman that her pants were “not sheer.” 

Many are speaking of the horrendous blow this represents to Lululemon in particular and the very special relationship between women and their tiny, tiny pants. I think it’s just another example of how we all put on our tiny, tiny pants one leg at a time. If you don’t want to show your tail, use your head instead and buy regular yoga pants for a lot less at a local store. Trust me. I may not do yoga, but I’ve seen it on TV.

Aaron J. Brown is an author and community college instructor from the Iron Range. He writes the blog and hosts 91.7 KAXE’s Great Northern Radio Show on public stations.

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