The Fly

Dearest readers of GUTSY,

I have a confession of sorts to make. A tremendous burden has been handed down to me from my father (and I am sure his father et cetera). Each and every day I am forced to confront potential public embarrassment because of this weight on my shoulders. You see, I have inherited the genetic condition knowns as Zippasdown. What are the symptoms? A chronic and persistent unzipped pants fly.

I guess I should consider myself lucky given the other afflictions I could have ended up with. Fortunately I never learned his flamboyant, public shirt-tucking technique (imagine being in a mall (or other highly public place) and your dad undoes his belt, button and zipper before violently pushing his shirt tail into his britches with his hand completed with a refastening and a sigh). I don't refer to women as 'gals.' I am not a morning person. Nor do I enjoying listening to recorded nature sounds on compact disk.

Of course there are some wonderful traits he passed on, too. My general level-headedness (insert snicker) in the face of crisis came from my old man. I also gained a rock solid focus for my work. And I can't forget the rugged handsomeness but I digress.

Back to the topic at hand, I'm not certain when my problem started. I don't have any memories of barn door initiated social awkwardness as a teenager. As an adult, however, my affliction has become an almost daily struggle.

I would love to lie and say that I don't worry about it. But in truth I check my zipper position as often as I can think about it. It is those events and circumstances when I am preoccupied that the risk is greatest and my track record is worst. Let me tell you about weddings...

There has not been a wedding since 1992 that I have attended in which my fly was in the upright and locked position. Well actually there has been one: I kept from embarrassment at my very own wedding by repeating the mantra "check your zipper" and maniacally monitoring for elevation. Besides that exception, I have a near photographic memory of my exact moment of realization.

Some events of note: in 1999 I made it through my brother's entire wedding (as a groomsman no less) and photographs before noticing. Just last week during the communion prayer I saw the familiar sight. And at my sister's wedding I discovered the offense while breaking it down on the dance floor.

None of these treasured events were ruined as a result of my error and in truth I may be the only one that notices (except my wife who now has the dubious privilege of being my confidant). In fact I laugh each time my little problem rears its head. But I can't help thinking about the future and how my condition could progress. Will public flatulation and chronic calls for finger pulling be in my crystal ball? An chronically open zipper is a well documented gateway habit which can only lead to new cavalier embarrassments.

Why am I making a public statement? I don't want to be treated differently. Only through recognition and public awareness can I better manage this problem. There is no known cure but with vigilence I hope to continue functioning as a productive adult.

I thank you for your attention and hope you all have a happy Fathers Day.

Ann, Jun 17 2005 1:48PM

This is why sweatpants were invented. Put your mind at ease and get rid of all those pesky zip-fly pants and stock your closet with sweats instead. You'll never have to look down again. And they would look damn good with a shirt and tie, I'm sure.

paul, Jun 19 2005 3:00PM

i used to have the same problem but i switched out all my jeans to buttonfly. once they are locked down the pretty much stay buttoned. but once in a while from sititing and gettting up throughout the day its best to quickly check them - because once in a while they undo themselves. usually only a button or two and noblody ever seems to notice.

mark, Jun 20 2005 12:57PM

i had completely forgotten the sweat pant alternative. you very rarely see high school coaches with their fly down because they have none. and i can only imagine a suit with an elastic wasteband. brilliant.

and paul, the button fly does have more of a deliberate ritual to it. that makes it more rememberable. will have to investigate a swap in fly closure.

thanks for the tips...