By Otha Barham / outdoors editor
In the summer of 1958, Elvis Presley was in the Army in West Germany and I, along with some friends, was in boot camp in Texas, by order of the Mississippi Air National Guard. The U.S. Congress was being bombarded with letters protesting the King’s making his music on government time. No one did us the honor, although we were playing shows with the same music. Making the issue about tax dollars for such behavior was a good cover for the real concern; the uncivilized movements of Elvis’s hips, while singing, which made teen girls scream and their mothers sit under electric fans and sip ice water.
And so it came to pass that Elvis and all of us musicians on the government payroll were ordered to stop it, so we did. Of course nowadays the wiggle is entrenched.
A few years ago certain firearms manufacturers of hunting guns made “black” rifles, that looked like those soldiers use. Grumbling echoed from mountain tops and across the woods and plains about the guns of a Star Wars ilk and eventually the complaints got serious.
The black rifles were accurate and reliable but to many they were ugly as buzzards and could never become sporting guns. Guess what. Nimrods are stalking deer and other game these days with these ugly ducklings. Alas we must honor history.
In these two cases of music and firearms, what many abhorred eventually came to pass, and the world is still turning. This is neither an endorsement nor a denunciation of dirty dancing or black long guns, but merely a reminder of the way cultural changes often evolve.
And so, just like rings meant for ears now adorn belly buttons and tongues, and baseball caps shade your neck instead of your face, another annoying fad may be on the threshold of becoming the latest of these additions to our national culture. Wearing one’s pants with the belt loops halfway between the waist and knees faded slightly in popularity but is poised to become acceptable much like the dip and surge of Elvis' gyrations. This new trouser fashion is inevitable if the histories of black rifles, baseball caps, earrings and Elvis’ hips are to be prophetic. Thus the outdoors clothing industries are busy at work, I suppose, in their back rooms designing hunters' camouflage clothing for the new trend; i.e. camo pants worn below the buttocks.
If any reader wants to make a fortune, retire early and loaf around on a yacht, get ahead of Mossy Oak and Realtree with low slung camo for the modern man. Don’t bother designing new camo shirts. Today's camo shirts will do fine as long as they are not too long. They must not cover the hunter’s underwear. (Hey, there’s a new market: “Observable Unmentionables!)
I am anxiously awaiting the new camouflage pants for women. Pink underpants will do okay I submit, but a variety of colors would make huntress watching more interesting. Soon to follow for the risqué ladies of the trend will be women’s camo pants that show a line of leg skin below the panties. “It’s the latest thing,” you will hear lady hunters saying.
Men and ladies alike would use one hand at all times to hold up the new camo pants. This means shooting long guns and bows with one hand and arm. Revolutionary? The industry will find a way. I have seen young boys switch support arms nonchalantly, almost subconsciously; being cool you know. A bevy of such new skills will give us versatility. However, there will exist those, such as I, with cases of neuropathy, or Parkinson’s or advanced dumbhead disease who will get nerve messages crossed and leave the new camo pants unsupported and everyone in the vicinity will see them fall to the floor.
Eventually such victims will learn that this descending event is of no consequence because the pants will have already shown the citizenry all previously embarrassing body portions. What is there to see from below the buttocks to the ankles?
Men might prepare for these accidents by wearing fresh camo socks and ladies might paint their toenails just in case. In the woods, face paint (thigh paint?) on all bare skin will be required to complete the “camouflaged mode.” And some celebrated designer will stick Velcro on shirts and pants to free up that other hand. However, as in fly fishing and grouse shooting, a throng of purists will emerge to protest Velcro as preempting the element of suspense that the unreliable human hand offers, and will go to their graves holding on to their descended waistbands with clinched fists.
New styles are on the way. Get in on the ground floor. Find your niche. The market is there; and it may not hold up very long.