Commentary: At the mall, put down your hood

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(Sacramento, CA)
Friday, October 30, 2009

Let’s face it, I’m not the real target of the mall’s dress code. I’m old – I don’t sag or wear hoodies. So I decided to interview customers who did fit the profile. I spotted a kid in the food court who was showing a good 12 inches of his blue plaid boxer shorts above his sagging pants.

His name was Roy. He was 19 years old and graciously agreed to be interviewed. “Explain your pants,” I began.

“They’re Levi’s,” he said, “and they cost a lot of money – $65 dollars.”

“Why do you wear them so low?”

“They’re more comfortable sitting below my waist.”

“But how do you keep them from falling off?”

“See look, there’s a trick,” he said, tilting back his belt to reveal a thin red string. “That’s what’s keep them up, the shoelace right underneath the belt.”

“Oh” – I said, mystified.

He told me his parents were not bothered by his pants. Then he launched into a fascinating ethnic explanation.” I’m black, white, and Indian, and some of my white aunties, they don’t really understand it.”

I know a black auntie, me, who didn’t understand either, or approve, when her nephew wore his pants below his waist.

As for the hoodie ban, Roy raised no objections.
“It’s like a hat,” he told me. “When you come in the house you should take off your hat. When you come in the mall, you should put down your hood.” On that – we agree.

Ginger Rutland writes for The Sacramento Bee opinion pages.