Some teenie-bopper kid once asked me who wore the pants in my marriage.
I said, “That’s an easy way to offend both of us at the same time.”
It felt like a pretty good response but I think it could have been better. At least I was honest. Such a question does, in fact, offend me, my wife, and our marriage.
Where did the notion come from that suggests the more dominant personality “wears the pants”? And why do we assume that men should be the ones “wearing the pants”? What does “wearing the pants” even mean?!
I blame that kid’s ignorant question on ignorance. I don’t necessarily fault him for it, and I don’t hold a grudge, but, man, what a dumb question. It wasn’t even original!
We’ve all heard the phrase echoed in locker rooms and used as a wet towel to snap the naked rear of a man who doesn’t “wear the pants” in his relationship. The argument has no more of a point than that one indie film at Sundance.
To that kid, I should have said, “Well, we both wear pants but I have the penis. Does that answer your question?”
My wife and I are a team as every marriage should be. If wearing the pants means taking responsibility for the family then we both wear the pants, even if they’re different kinds. But, if wearing the pants literally means just covering your legs with trousers, well, then, we both wear the pants, but I am the one who is less likely to put on a skirt.
Perhaps this post can be a proper response to such a naive, immature, and insensitive question, but even if it’s not, next time you feel such an idiotic query scratching at the back of your throat, gulp it down and shut up.
We’ve got pants to wear.