A funny scene the other day got me wondering how well the Fort Worth Transportation Authority's "no saggy-pants policy" was working.
Based on what I saw, I figured it must be pretty successful.
I don't like looking at other people's underwear, and the trend where young men expose their rear ends is disgusting.
Still, I was a little concerned when the T announced about a year ago that it was instituting a ban on saggy pants, giving drivers the authority to refuse rides to any person who would not pull up his droopy garment.
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For several years, the transit company had a campaign trying to persuade young people to voluntarily adjust their attire before boarding, but apparently signs reading "Grandma says 'Pull 'em up'" weren't enough to get them to change their habit.
Apparently their own grandmas and moms hadn't been able to make them conform to a more traditional dress code, so you really couldn't expect a poster or billboard to do the trick.
Aside from the distasteful look, I don't get why this fashion statement has stayed around so long. It seems the discomfort and inconvenience of wearing beltless pants below the buttocks would have been enough to force this style into obsolescence.
Many of the hip-hop imitators literally have to use one hand to hold up their pants, or they have to walk so wide-legged as to appear severely deformed.
My understanding is that hip-hop artists who started the trend got the idea from prisoners, who generally were not issued belts, thus causing their pants to sag.
If today's youngsters want to look like prisoners -- and I can't see why anyone would -- they should just wear black and white stripes or perhaps orange jumpsuits.
I'm probably sounding too critical and very old-fashioned, conveniently ignoring the bell-bottoms and hip-huggers we wore back in the day. There have always been fads, many with the expressed intent to rebel against societal norms. But this trend seems to be lingering far too long.
The folks at the T didn't want to wait for saggy pants to go out of style, so they came up with a dress code with enforcement power and signs that warned, "Grandma says 'Pull 'em up' or find another ride." They had the support of Fort Worth City Councilman Frank Moss.
On the first day the policy went into effect, about 50 riders were forced to pull up their pants before they could board the bus.
So, how's the policy working now?
Driving through the Woodhaven neighborhood last week, I laughed as I saw two teenage boys running (more like rapid waddling) for the bus that was already at the stop. Both were pulling up their pants as they approached, and one actually reached into his back pocket and pulled out a belt. As the bus driver waited, the young man threaded the belt through the loops and buckled it before boarding.
"Overall, we feel the policy has been effective and is working well," said Joan Hunter, the T's communications manager.
She added, "The general ridership appreciates the sagging-pants policy, but we have probably at least one or so a day where our supervisors have to tell, primarily kids, to pull up their pants or they can't get on the bus."
In cases where a rider won't comply or becomes belligerent, which is rare, an enforcement officer is called to handle the situation, Hunter said.
The policy was put into effect out of respect for the other passengers. Hunter likened it to the "No Shirt, No Shoes, No Service" signs in restaurants.
Even though I don't like saggy pants, I first thought the mandatory policy allowing drivers to refuse boarding for people for the way they dressed was an overreaction and was likely to cause more problems than it solved.
I was wrong.
Bob Ray Sanders' column appears Sundays and Wednesdays. 817-390-7775