Festive Pants?
November 6, 2006 10:40 AM   Subscribe

Idiom filter: Party Pants. I was watching Cien Mexicanos Dijeron (the Unavision version of Family Fued) with my girlfriend, when they got to the final stage, where two people try to answer quick questions with the most popular answers. We didn't manage to catch the first contestant's answer, nor the question, and the second contestant was clearly just spitballing with her answer of what we believe was "cepillo de dientes" (toothbrush). According to the the host, the most popular answer was "pantalones festivos." Festive pants? What the hell?

First off, we assume that this is an idiom, and the woman groaned like she couldn't imagine not giving festive pants as an answer. So what the hell are pantalones festivos?
Second, what catagory could both a toothbrush and festive pants fall into? Her answer of a toothbrush got, like, three points, which means that it wasn't totally alien, just not a good guess at all.

This has led to rampant and oft-hilarious speculation in my circle of friends, but even those who took Spanish at university levels are still totally clueless as to what pantalones festivos means. (And we do have that right— it was spelled out as the most popular option on the board, though sometimes they do abbreviate common phrases so it might be missing a word or two at the end or something). And there's only one result on Google, which doesn't provide much context.
posted by klangklangston to Writing & Language (28 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
The category might be "things to pack when you go on vacation". Pantalones festivos might be something like Niall Quinn's Disco Pants. Just guessing, but it makes perfect sense to me.
posted by nowonmai at 11:15 AM on November 6, 2006

Things a clown packs when he goes on vacation?
posted by hazyjane at 11:34 AM on November 6, 2006

Never heard it in the years I've lived in Mexico, but dammit sometimes party pants are just party pants, and you have to leave it at that.
posted by ernie at 11:42 AM on November 6, 2006

Best answer: I asked my brother's Mexican girlfriend, and she said that pantalones festivos are pants that are decorated for birthday parties and Christmas, etc. She didn't hesitate. Seemed to make sense her.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 12:56 PM on November 6, 2006

Like a Christmas sweater?
posted by electroboy at 2:01 PM on November 6, 2006

Thats not a phrase I've ever heard. I asked my born-and-raised Mexican mother and its not a phrase she's ever heard either. Perhaps its a regionalism? (My parents are from Michoacan)

But if so I doubt it'd appear on a national TV show as "top answer" to anything. Hmmm....
posted by vacapinta at 3:12 PM on November 6, 2006

I'm Mexican, and I have never heard such a thing as "pantalones festivos". Nor I have seen pants decorated with Christmas trees or tiny birthday cakes.
posted by clearlydemon at 3:17 PM on November 6, 2006

Wait, are you sure it was "pantalones festivos"? Wasn't it "pantalones de vestir" (dress pants)?
posted by clearlydemon at 3:18 PM on November 6, 2006

Maybe the category was "Bad Christmas Presents"?
posted by EndsOfInvention at 3:20 PM on November 6, 2006

I should add that I only felt the need to chime in because a comment had been marked as "best answer" and I disagree that this has been resolved. In all fairness to my mother, she actually said "No. That's not a mexican phrase."
posted by vacapinta at 3:26 PM on November 6, 2006

I also saw this program and I promise the board read "pantalones festivos." It was baffling.
posted by holyrood at 5:23 PM on November 6, 2006

I look forward to watching "Cien Mexicanos Dijieron: EDICION LA MADRE DE VACAPINTA VS. KLANGKLANGSTON!"

In a more serious vein, the only Google hit for "pantalones festivos." A short story, apparently, about a taxi driver. My spanish is horrendous. Here's the sentence the phrase occurs in:

"¿Cómo dice usted? fue la tranquila respuesta que encontró a la situación el conductor, sabiendo que por tonterías menores el saldo de la cuenta de propinas perdidas había ido bebiéndose aquellos extras diarios que, si no le daban la felicidad, sí rellenaban los bolsillos de sus pantalones festivos."

Something about the pockets of their festive pants having been filled newspapers.

Again, my spanish is horrible. Sorry. Anybody?

Anyway, it seems rare. So the question is: what possible question in Mexico is there for which the obvious answer is "pantalones festivos?" I mean, I suppose "festive pants" isn't really an incredibly unlikely phrase in English, either. Just a little weird, no?
posted by koeselitz at 5:38 PM on November 6, 2006

Arg. Filled with newspapers. Obviously I'm somewhat non-lingual.
posted by koeselitz at 5:39 PM on November 6, 2006

I did a quick search on proz.com (a translators' community) to see if anything came up for "pantalones festivos," and the answer was no.

I did, however, see "pantalones multibolsillos," which are cargo pants and which kind of sounds alike.
posted by anjamu at 5:47 PM on November 6, 2006

posted by rob511 at 6:21 PM on November 6, 2006

koeselitz: since the phrase only appears in a short story it could just as easily be an over-eager writer trying too hard to conjure up a descriptive phrase. As klangklangston said in the post, there is no more context other than the words being thrown together.

I mean the phrase "festive pants" comes up over 700 times in Google so obviously its a common English idiom?
posted by vacapinta at 6:34 PM on November 6, 2006

I asked around some more, and still nothing on pantalones festivos around Mexico City or Monterrey. If it is a "real" term, it must be pretty regional, maybe a rural indigenous thing? I'm guessing it was misheard.
posted by ernie at 6:37 PM on November 6, 2006

I also saw this program and I promise the board read "pantalones festivos."

Just read that - rules out misheard. Still without a "TuTubo" clip I'm a doubter. Perhaps it was a construct made earlier in that program? I'm with vacapinta.
posted by ernie at 6:43 PM on November 6, 2006

Response by poster: Vacapinta— Since I saw it spelled out, I know that the words on the board were "pantalones festivos," and that some thirty or so Mexicans all chose that option when surveyed.
My only other guess is that there might be more short words in a phrase that involves parties and pants.
I would like to hear more from the brother's girlfriend upthread... Might it be a regional phrase?
posted by klangklangston at 7:19 PM on November 6, 2006

Is "pantalones" perhaps a synonym or euphemism for underpants? (I am thinking of BritEnglish pants = underpants.)

"Pantalones festivos" would make sense to me as "novelty underpants"--like boxers with silly prints, or the bride-and-groom undies sold in lingerie catalogues. Those might plausibly go in the same category with a toothbrush, such as "things to pack for a honeymoon" or "things to pack for a sleepover."

I am not familiar with Cien Mexicanos Dijieron, but if it's like the old Family Feud, it wouldn't surprise me if they replaced slightly racier answers with a euphemistic phrase. It might be clear enough in context but baffling on its own.
posted by Orinda at 10:38 PM on November 6, 2006

Hay una fiesta en mis pantalones.

Mariachis wear very festive pants, as do Luchadors and bull fighters.
posted by Pollomacho at 11:54 PM on November 6, 2006

the only Google hit for "pantalones festivos."

Actually I just searched Google for the phrase and as well as the short story it came up with this news article from Nicaragua:

Niños víctimas de pirotecnia

El bolsillo del pantalón no fue el lugar más seguro para guardar juntos, un “arbolito” de pólvora de Navidad y una caja de fósforos.

Pero Liz Soto (8) y Fernando Samayoa (10), cada uno con su pierna derecha quemada, no fueron capaces de prever eso la última noche del año.

Tenían previsto que con sus luces, el juego pirotécnico iluminara sus caras de felicidad. Pero al roce con los fósforos ardió entre sus pantalones festivos y en lugar de alegría, les arrancó muchas lágrimas.

I don't speak Spanish, but Google translation gives:

Young victims of pyrotechnics

The pocket of the trousers was not the place more surely to keep together, a “little tree” of powder of Christmas and a phosphorus box.

Pero Liz Soto (8) and Fernando Samayoa (10), each one with their burned right leg, was not able to anticipate that the last night of the year.

They had predicted that with its lights, the game pyrotechnics illuminated its faces of happiness. But to the rubbing with phosphorus it burned between its festive trousers and instead of joy, it took many tears to them.

Not very helpful, I guess, but maybe a more authorative source than a short story.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 6:34 AM on November 7, 2006

Hey klang et al, can you provide scheduling details for the initial segment? Perhaps that will help unearth the video and / or contact information for the show's producers. If it's Univision, the show was almost certainly produced in LA and I bet that the show's staff is contactable via email relatively easily.
posted by mwhybark at 6:56 AM on November 7, 2006

Instead of the Cuban-looking ruffles linked to by Rob511, could these be mariachi-style trousers, with a bunch of embroidery and bangles and stuff?
posted by mwhybark at 7:02 AM on November 7, 2006

The show is not from Univision, but from Mexico's Televisa. If it was from Univision, it would be more like "100 mexicanos/cubanos/puertorriqueños dijeron". It is filmed in Mexico City, so the idioms they use are from there.

Mariachi trousers are not pantalones festivos. They are just "pantalones de mariachi". We don't use the word pantalones for underpants (those would be calzones), so that option is out too.

klangklangston, did you see the phrase written on the board in the show?

I stand by my "pantalones de vestir" option.
posted by clearlydemon at 9:13 AM on November 7, 2006

Response by poster: Yes, I read the phrase on the board. Please read the comments and the question.
I emailed Televisa about this but still haven't heard anything.
The show aired, what, about three weeks before I asked the question, but I have no idea whether or not it was a rerun.
posted by klangklangston at 2:11 PM on November 18, 2006

Any updates? I'm still curious!
posted by Pollomacho at 1:28 AM on November 24, 2006

Response by poster: Like I said, I emailed them and haven't heard back.
posted by klangklangston at 1:22 PM on December 16, 2006

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