So I have a chronic problem. It's called FDS, also known as the tragic disease "Fly Down Syndrome."
It first became a part of my life in Kenya. I had these pants I wore all the time, literally ALL THE TIME. I still have them actually, one of the few pieces of clothing I couldn't bear to part with when it came time to leave Africa - I donated my monkey sheets, but dammit these pants stayed with me. They're pants from Cabela's, which automatically makes me feel hardcore, ooh, and they're MAN pants, yup, pants normally made for a man, but modified by me for a woman. They also have zip-on legs, so they can be shorts OR pants, shants, if you will. My shants are an olive green color and highly stain resistant, plus they dry in about 3 minutes. This was great while in Africa because you could wash the shants and wear them in about a 5 minute span - the quick-drying-ness fabric combined with the equatorial sun made that possible, and while people languished pantsless in their bandas, waiting for their jeans to dry on the clothesline, my shants and I would frolic in the shadow of Kilimanjaro or go on a bird watch. When we were on safari and didn't bathe or do laundry, I never had to worry about getting the shants wet or dirty - they'd dry fast and if I had to spot clean them, I could without having to worry about walking around with a wet spot on my butt all day. The shants basically kicked some ASS. Sometimes, I'd do a safari-style striptease for one of the more serious staff members. He feigned boredom at everything we did - he'd see a bird he'd never seen before and he'd shrug and be like "whatevah, is just a African golden crested tit. sigh" Kioko was particularly fun to harass, and when he was really looking bored, I'd say "Guess what's coming, SAFARI STYLE STRIPTEASE!" I'd take off my old button down, which I wore over everything in an attempt not to succumb to melanoma, and then unzip the pants portion of the shants, and dance around while swinging the pants around my head. Sometimes this would get him to crack a smile, and that alone made depantsing the shants worth it. But I digress....
Anyways, the one drawback of the shants was the fly mechanism. There was an inside button and two outside buttons as well as a a fly. See this is where you really get that they're manpants - the buttons are unnecessary as a man doesn't need to pull his pants down to pee - in fact, they're there as more of a reminder "hey pal, KEEP YOUR PANTS ON!" And the zipper is obvious, it provides the opening for peeing. For a girl, these 4 mechanisms, 3 buttons and a zipper, are just a pain in the ass, and if you're on the equator in Africa and drinking 3 liters of water a day minimum, it gets old unbuttoning, unbuttoning, unbuttoning, unzipping, zipping, buttoning buttoning buttoning all day long, but my love of the shants is what kept me going. After a while I came to realize that I had been missing a key part of the reassembling process for quite some time - the zipping.
One day I was lounging with my feet up on something, and I glanced down to notice my gaping fly and my Victoria's Secret big girl panties. "Good lord!" I said. See Kenyan men are very modest, and 99% of our staff members were men, so I knew I could walk around for days with an open fly and none of the staff would say anything, and the American students would mention it either because they thought it was THAT funny. I casually asked one of my professors "Um, so is my fly down a lot?" "AH-LEE-ZON!" he screamed, hitting the table. That's all he did, scream my name and hit the table (woah, sounds somewhat dirty, but it wasn't) and then he proceeded to giggle throughout dinner. Hmm, I thought, it must be true.
Oh how it was. You would think after that confrontation I would've been more conscientious about zipping my shants fly. Yeah, I wasn't. I had to do checks before we went out in public to make sure I wouldn't offend any Kenyans by showing them my underwear. If anyone looked at me and giggled, I automatically went for my fly. Usually it was down. It became a running joke amongst the Kenyan staff, probably because I wasn't really embarrassed about it. I'd say "Sweet Jesus, my fly is down again?" and they'd all laugh. It was funny, and not too big of a deal, I mean, and only my friends were witnessing the fly down, and this would stop being a chronic problem when I went home and wore the shants less right? Right?
WRONG. FDS is now a constant in my life. Several times since working at the hospital, I've stepped out into the sunlight of a beautiful day, my mind free and easy and clear because it's 4pm and time to go home. I start walking towards the bus stop, and if it's a good day and I took the time to match my clothing and put on nice shoes and am feeling just a little bit put together and kinda good, I'll let my booty swing just a little bit and walk with confidence down the street. The last time I did this, people were glancing my way. Heh heh, bitches!, I thought, I look good today! Today is a good day! Well I got to the street corner and noticed people were looking in that way that was not like "damn, that girl is put together" but more of a "poor disaster" way. I freeze for a moment, reading their expressions, and then I know. I look down. My zipper is not only open, but GAPING open, revealing my gold sparkly purple boyshorts to the city of Boston. Awesome.
These days I try and surreptitiously check my fly whenever I feel exposed - on the subway platform, at a meeting, at work, wherever. Of course, this presents an interesting challenge, because you can get categorized pretty fast if enough people see you touching your crotch on the subway. You have to be secretive about it, make it look like you're pulling up your pants. I've kind of become the master of this technique. Still, it's not failsafe. This morning, I went to pee after arriving at work and my fly was already down, which means I left the house without zipping it. Sweet, I thought, how many people saw my underwear (which of course are the infamous purple boyshorts) this morning? I'll probably never know, but I do hope I brightened someone's morning, made them laugh and say to themselves "heh heh she has purple underwear."
*I will try to find a shants photo and post it, I don't have old Kenya pics at work!