Yoga pants aren’t just for the yoga studio anymore. And if the trend doesn’t die soon, Nathan Graziano may be doomed.
I’m obsessed with yoga pants. There, I said it. I can’t stop thinking about those damn yoga pants.
While I realize there is nothing shocking or revelatory about a heterosexual male saying that he has become captivated by a female fashion-trend that has obliterated the need for imagination, I like to think my obsession transcends the salacious. I like to envision myself as someone thoughtful and modern and progressive. But when it comes to yoga pants, I’m not.
Yoga pants have brought out my worst chauvinistic characteristics—the characteristics I’d like deny exist inside me. But when it comes to yoga pants, I can’t.
I understand that revealing clothing is nothing novel. For decades now, health clubs or fitness centers—we’ll use the word “gyms” for semantic purposes—have cultivated atmospheres not entirely dissimilar to soft-core pornography.
At any gym, on any given day, one can find both men and women, either scantily clad or in skintight workout clothes, who are in great physical condition, sweating and grunting and breathing heavy, pumping and pushing and thrusting. In microcosm, people at the gym are behaving according to their ascribed gender roles: the women trying to stay trim and sexy and fit and the men running and lifting to stay strong and hard and virile.
For my part, I am guilty as charged.
As a jogger, the New England winter—and my aversion to running on ice—recently drove me to join a gym for the sole use of a treadmill. But try as I may, earplugs inserted and Iron Maiden cranking and dimming my hearing, I have to employ a Buddhist-like asceticism to keep to from glancing at the attractive women and their yoga pants.
In fairness to myself, one cannot dismiss the biological components—the animalistic lure and the firing of pheromones—for both sexes of all sexual orientations, when an attractive person who is provocatively dressed passes the line of vision. It is reflexive, involuntary.
Let me start by saying that women have every right to wear whatever they want, where they want, without having to be leered at and objectified. Intellectually and philosophically, I know this. And the ex-Catholic in me tries his best to recognize the lechery and look away as the minutes and miles tick off on the treadmill’s dashboard in front of me.
Sometimes I succeed. Often I don’t.
My obsession, however, has been exacerbated by the ubiquity of women yoga pants outside of the gym. From supermarkets to bars and restaurants to semi-formal affairs, I can’t seem to escape women in yoga pants.
If the fashion doesn’t die soon, I consider myself doomed.
I will be the first to admit that I have the fashion sense of an ashtray. I still haven’t moved past the ripped jeans, band t-shirts and flannel styles of the grunge-era. So if it is genuinely stylish for women to wear yoga pants everywhere at all times, I most-definitely missed this.
And when I ask women about yoga pants—hoping they’ll tell me the trend will pass—most women tell me that it isn’t that yoga pants are fashionable, per se, but they are comfortable to wear. As a claustrophobic guy, I couldn’t imagine being comfortable in anything that tight, but I’m going to suspend my disbelief and assume they are, indeed, comfortable.
But baggy sweatpants are also comfortable, so I can only assume there’s more to it. There is an implicit game here—the age-old tease where women flaunt and men look. Again, we’re simplifying ourselves according to a Y-chromosome.
Of course, fashion trends where women leave little to the imagination are not unprecedented. For example, I like to think the emergence of the bikini or the mini-skirt—hell, even the corset— in popular culture caused similar responses from men. And I know I’m not alone here. Websites and blogs, such as Girls in Yoga Pants, affirm for me the one thing I’ve always known about my gender: men are pigs.
But women are also complicit here. Again, I’m not asserting that the egregious rape-mentality of dangerous men—the ones who believe if a woman dresses provocatively, she is “asking for it”—has any validity. It unequivocally does not. However, I have a hard time believing that—outside of the gym or the yoga classes—women wear yoga pants solely for comfort.
Perhaps, the larger issue concerns, collectively, is our own frailties and vanities.
Whether we admit it or not, we all want to be noticed and desired and admired, men as well as women. And perhaps, in a culture blanketed with social media, the looming threat of loneliness has made us so insecure that we can’t leave anything up to chance or depend on another person’s imagination to do its work.
However, if I’m to believe Heidi Klum, one day in fashion you’re in, and the next you’re out. Yoga pants will likely pass, only to be replaced with another, perhaps, more revealing trend.
And there I am, running like a gerbil on the treadmill. At 37 years old, I’m trying to ward off any impending middle-aged flab, trying to remain strong and youthful.
About ten yards in front of me, an attractive blonde with a high ponytail is doing step-aerobics in black yoga pants.
I stare and fear she knows, so I glance down at the dashboard on the treadmill. It reads, 29 minutes, 3.1 miles. Yet, somehow, I’m still going nowhere.
For responses to this article, please read:
Yoga Pants and Unexamined Assumptions by Noah Brand
Father and Son Have “The Talk” – The Yoga Pants Talk by Cornelius Walker
Read more Advice & Confessions.
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