#nopants: a state of (un)dress, and a state of mind

There are several sayings centered around “pants”—about who wears the pants, keeping your pants on, about wearing your big-girl (or -boy) pants, having ants in your pants, getting caught with your pants down, and (a personal favorite) flying by the seat of your pants.

Wow, those are some pants! Even though all of those phrases have different meanings, one thing they have in common is this: the idea that wearing pants—having nice, neat, well-fitting, buttoned-up pants—would seem to make you a responsible, faithful, composed, person in charge. In fact, the only phrase among those above that implies any kind of creativity or spontaneity is the one where we seem to not be wearing our pants properly.


Clearly the sayings aren’t talking about literal pants, but there is a shared theme among them: the need to be properly attired.  In general, I am all for dressing appropriately for all occasions, but having recently eschewed actual pants and spent the better part of two weeks in a bathing suit and t-shirt, tunic, or sarong (while ion an Unsettled trip Nicaragua), I have come to the conclusion that going pantsless is the way to go.

Not wearing pants in no way affected my activity, productivity, or motivation, In fact, free from the encumbrance of pants, I found I worked more effectively and accomplished more. My thinking became a bit more expansive and creative–a bit more outside the box, so to speak.

Now I’m not going to claim that I took off my pants and magically became a creative genius or a better person. But it did do something for my perspective. I wasn’t nearly as self-conscious as I thought I’d be without pants, I  was rather unconcerned with my pantslessness. Surprisingly, I felt very comfortable in my state of relative undress, even around new people!

Maybe the part of my brain normally consumed with that worry was finally freed up enough to realize that there is nothing to worry about. No one is at all concerned with my pants, or lack thereof.

Of course, for most of us, it’s impractical to practice permanent pantslessness—we will have to cover up from time to time. But whenever you can, I highly recommend going without. Free your legs and your mind and see where they take you.

At other times, when professionalism, social mores, and the law intrude on your ability to go bare-legged, hold on to that #nopants state of mind and explore your own unknown.

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