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April 25th, 2004

The Barn Door’s Open

One of the most difficult subjects to breach with someone you know (or don’t know) is the fact that the “barn door is open.” After all, who enjoys realizing that their fly is down? It’s embarassing.

If it’s someone you know, it’s a little easier since you can pull them aside and tell them in a joking manner about their oversight, but if it’s someone you don’t, is there really a good way to approach the matter? Yesterday, a guy was doing some work in our yard and came to talk to us. As he was talking, I couldn’t help but notice that things must be really breezy for him. But this wasn’t the type of guy I could jokingly tell to “close the door,” so I just listened uncomfortably as he talked, zipper all the way down.

How do you bring up this most difficult of subjects? Do you have any favorite phrases or methods?

Next week: telling someone they have a piece of food on their face.

Posted in Everyday Life

FROM: Mike [E-Mail]
DATE: Sunday April 25, 2004 -- 10:14:15 am
Me: Do you have a license to sell hot dogs?

Him: No

Me: You better close up shop then.

FROM: jk
DATE: Sunday April 25, 2004 -- 6:36:31 pm
Hmmm, I have a related suggestion: a lot of females are wearing very low rise jeans that reveal their underwear when they bend down or kneel, so I say, "I see France." I usually whisper it so as to not completely alert the world to their, um, show.

FROM: Ryan [E-Mail]
DATE: Sunday April 25, 2004 -- 7:44:56 pm
I think there's a difference, though, jk -- aren't most of the people that wear low-rise jeans trying to get that sort of attention?

FROM: Matt
DATE: Sunday April 25, 2004 -- 9:38:36 pm
Most low-rise jean wearers will be pregnant by 18.

FROM: jk
DATE: Sunday April 25, 2004 -- 9:41:19 pm
Ryan, not necessarily so. If this were the case, the underwear would be pretty, not grandma-esque. I am serious.

FROM: Kate
DATE: Monday April 26, 2004 -- 8:40:39 am
Usually, if I see a low-risers underwear, I make a comment like "I see you went with the blue ones today. Nice choice." Sometimes they even figure out what I'm talking about.

If I notice that someone's zipper is down, I'll say XYZ PDQ (quietly, of course). I don't see why zipping it up would be any more embarrassing than walking around with it down.

FROM: Joseph
DATE: Monday April 26, 2004 -- 3:24:37 pm
Ah, Kate, you've focussed on the dilemma completely. What's more embarrassing, the fly down or telling someone the fly's down? Apparently, it depends on where you live.
Good Morning America's Lara Spencer (I think that's her name) conducted a test in shopping malls in which she walked aroung with toilet paper stuck to her shoe. Then she set the hidden cameras. Then she interviewed the shoppers to find the reason behind the reaction. The malls chosen were in New England, the South, and the Midwest. While the cameras showed that other shoppers clearly noticed the t.p. (and often laughed and pointed) the reactions were tellingly different by area. In New England, no one would tell the tp'd shopper and Lara was left to walk around haplessly. People even got into conversations with her, but never communicated the fact that they knew of the tp, even if afterward they ran away to laugh and hoot. In the Midwest, the other shoppers thought nothing of walking up to the person and loudly exclaiming, "you've got toilet paper on your shoe!." In some cases they would point and yell. On the good side, she often couldn't get more than five feet from the bathroom door, so the embarassment didn't last long. In the South, no one tole her, either. But, they would sneak up behind her and attempt to remove the toilet paper themselves by stepping on it. Thus, they wanted to save the embarassment, but also help the victim out as well.

Of course, you can't to that with a downed fly or falling jeans, but the embarassment issue is interesting. Apparently, in "every man for himself" New England, if you are unaware, that's no one else's problem. In the Midwest, while tp on the shoe is embarassing enough to be told about it, the telling should not be embarassing at all, or you should be strong enough to take a little discomfort for the favor. In the South, both the being stuck with the tp and being told is embarassing, but apparently, trying to walk behind someone to catch tp on their shoe in lock step, like Scooby and Shaggy, is not embarassing at all for either party, no matter how many attempts it takes. Perhaps Southerners can't live with the embarassment of not telling someone of the problem, whereas, in New England, there apparently is no embarassment in not telling.

But to answer the question, I usually employ two acts: one verbal, the other physical. I usually say, "Feeling drafty?" and then I glance downward (but I specifically avoid looking at the crotch). If that's not enough, screw it, I say.

I guess I learned the discomfort of telling someone when the person, whom you thought would be grateful, would say something like, "Only hungry people notice" or "Why are you looking at my (fill in any rude synonym for pecker of your choice)" After that embarassment, it's easy to see why people wouldn't say anything.

FROM: Ryan [E-Mail]
DATE: Monday April 26, 2004 -- 4:17:34 pm
Of course, you can't to that with a downed fly or falling jeans

Now you tell me.

FROM: Kate
DATE: Monday April 26, 2004 -- 11:24:17 pm
Ooh, no, but it'd be fun to try!! ::whistles innocently whilst grabbing at a stranger's fly::

DATE: Wednesday June 9, 2004 -- 1:00:41 am
I find myself with my fly down about once a week or so; as long as the message is discreet, I don't care how it's relayed!

FROM: tom perry
DATE: Friday July 2, 2004 -- 2:28:21 am
I love low-rise jeans, the best thing since moonlight. If she shows her underwear, it's not small enough.

FROM: esmeralda mabasak
DATE: Friday July 2, 2004 -- 2:31:08 am
How I do love my low-risers. No panties - I like to show just a little bit of groove. The bluer the comments the better.

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