A saggy pants ban is expected to be enacted when the Wildwood, New Jersey, city council votes tonight.
Apparently things have been getting a bit too wild in Wildwood when it comes to certain fashion statements. Officials in the popular Jersey shore town have been receiving a lot of complaints from families about individuals wandering on the boardwalk with their rear ends hanging out.
The new family friendly ordinance prohibits anyone from wearing pants that sag more than three inches below the waist that exposes either skin or underwear. Fines for violators would range from $25 to $200 with the possibility of community service as well.
Police will be authorized to tell offenders to pull up their pants and if they are unwilling to do so, they must leave the boardwalk. Cops can also issue the tickets for those who insist on being uncooperative.
Wildwood Mayor Ernest Troiano Jr. said that the the beach community really doesn’t want to be the underwear police: “When you have good families who call you up and say, ‘I’ve been coming here 20 years, 30 years, 40 years and I’m not going to any longer because I’m not going to subject my children or my parents or grandparents to seeing some kid walk down the boardwalk with their butt hanging out,’ you have to do something. I’m not one of the Fruit of the Loom underwear inspectors; I’m not one of the grapes. I don’t want to see it.”
Added Troiano: “It’s a style that’s been offensive to a lot of people, and all we’re saying is, we’re just asking kindly and nicely to pull your pants up — it’s a decency thing, that’s all.” He noted that it is not always young people that have this wardrobe malfunction. “But I’ve seen some older folks, I think the biggest problem with them is they don’t have a belt. Their gut is big and they can’t keep their pants up, if you know what I mean.”
Similar ordinances have been enacted in other communities around the country and are sometimes challenged on constitutional grounds. As far as the civil liberties issue is concerned, Mayor Troiano didn’t mince words: “They say it’s a fashion statement and this is America and they have the right to dress how they want. Well, I have the right to decency. My right is not to have to look at your (rear end) if I don’t want to. I find that offensive.”
Do you think an ordinance banning saggy pants is reasonable? Do you believe that a person walking around with saggy pants is making a statement about freedom of speech?