de-drooping my drawers
February 5, 2007 8:25 AM   Subscribe

Is it crass for a man to tighten his belt in public?

Help settle an argument - while at the bowling alley last night (Superbowl Sunday is a great day to bowl, might I add) I realized I needed to tighten my belt so my pants wouldn't hang under my shoes and trip me up, so I went to the bathroom to do it. This sparked a discussion of whether or not it is obscene to do so in public. I kind of think its gross. You?
posted by M.C. Lo-Carb! to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (44 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Not since 1941 or so has it been crass for a man to tighten a belt in public.
posted by geoff. at 8:32 AM on February 5, 2007


Absolutely not. It's like tying your shoelaces.
posted by ReiToei at 8:32 AM on February 5, 2007


I think if it involves obviously undoing and re-fastening the belt, you should either do it very covertly or in private. No one wants to look up in a restaurant and see a dude opening up his belt. God knows what's going to happen next.
posted by loiseau at 8:40 AM on February 5, 2007


I wouldn't do it in public.
posted by matthewr at 8:46 AM on February 5, 2007


How about reaching into your fly to retuck your shirt? I about fell over the first time I saw someone do that. Efficient (and there was no indecent exposure) but probably crass.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 8:49 AM on February 5, 2007


I wouldn't do it either. Or at least I wouldn't do it visibly - if I could turn and quickly do it without being seen, or if the belt didn't require obvious unbuckling/rebuckling, maybe.

Maybe it's just me, but in general I tend to avoid obvious public adjustments that involve the sexy spots: shifting a bra, tucking in a shirt by putting your hand down your pants, fixing a belt, scratching yourself in one of those areas, etc.
posted by cadge at 8:55 AM on February 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


I've struggled with this same issue. It happens a lot when I've recently lost weight and haven't modified my wardrobe appropriately.

It's not crass, but if you do it, you are going to make some people around you uncomfortable. Seeing a man unbuckling his belt in public is not the sort of thing that people shrug off. And people being stupid, they make assumptions without really examining a situation, i.e. they're not going to think "What the fuck, he's unbuckling his belt...oh, looks like he was just tightening it, false alarm." They're going to think "What the fuck, he's unbuckling his belt!" and that's going to be it.

I once tightened my belt while alone on a path on a college campus, figuring that nobody was watching so it was fine. A woman walked into view just as I was finishing up, and she gave me a very concerned look. I understood her perspective: What was this guy doing with his belt unbuckled a moment ago? It kind of vicariously skeeved me out enough that since then I've been more careful.
posted by bingo at 8:55 AM on February 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


I would say as long as you just tighten without undoing the belt from the buckle it's okay.

I have no basis for this other than personal opinion.
posted by bitdamaged at 8:58 AM on February 5, 2007


I say crass.
posted by delmoi at 8:59 AM on February 5, 2007


I do it fairly often, but my belt is of the kind where you can just pull it tighter to tighten it rather than undoing a buckle like you'd have on a leather belt.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 9:00 AM on February 5, 2007


Another vote for crass.
posted by 10ch at 9:01 AM on February 5, 2007


I say crass, but acceptable at a bowling alley.
posted by IvyMike at 9:04 AM on February 5, 2007 [2 favorites]


Is it crass for a woman to do this?

(Not to piggy back or snark too much--kind of curious if this changes the debate.)

I personally think it's pretty crass but I have done this with an adjustable belt. I think mostly the undoing of the buckle is some kind of taboo indicator in public.
posted by shownomercy at 9:08 AM on February 5, 2007


But isn't it so much more crass to be seen with your pants falling down in public?

Adjusting the belt- appropriate in most situations.

Adjusting the package- tread carefully.
posted by baphomet at 9:08 AM on February 5, 2007


It is commonly known that making public adjustments to one's clothing is not crass, unless any portion of one's genitalia is being displayed.
posted by Greg Nog at 9:08 AM on February 5, 2007


I'd compare it to a woman adjusting or shifting her bra. Better done in private, yes, but not ill-mannered.
posted by cog_nate at 9:10 AM on February 5, 2007


Yes. It makes you look like you just finished doing something. It's the same as a woman unhooking her bra to re-hook it tighter or looser.
posted by crabintheocean at 9:14 AM on February 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


I am always slightly unnerved with I see men fixing with their belts/pants in public. I say, if you're sitting down, do it. If you're standing up, don't. Don't even THINK about reaching your hand down your pants to adjust your shirt. Bleech.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 9:18 AM on February 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


IvyMike is right. Speaking as someone who's worked in one.
posted by smorange at 9:20 AM on February 5, 2007


Going on what others have said, I think part of the crass perception, at least when unbuckling is involved, is that it's hard for people to imagine (good) situations where a belt would need to be unbuckled.

I think that's partly what separates it from a bra fix or a shirt tuck in (although I'd probably duck into a restroom for the shirt - and I think most women would for a bra). I can imagine situations throughout the day when my shirt would come untucked, but the only time I undo my belt is if I'm about to take it (and then my pants) off.
posted by chndrcks at 9:27 AM on February 5, 2007


If you have to do it, do it, but expect that many people are going to think you are a little bit crass or slightly touched in the head.
posted by Divine_Wino at 9:37 AM on February 5, 2007


For me this falls into the category of "things I probably would be too embarrassed to do myself, but wouldn't be bothered if someone else did in front of me." I don't find it upsetting, but other people probably would. My own standards for acceptable behavior are pretty relaxed. This is one of those areas where I sort of wish there were more people like me in that regard, because as someone pointed out, witnessing one belt adjustment is preferable to witnessing ten pants-hikes. But since I'm not in charge (at least, not until construction on the Hypno-Ray is complete), you should probably find a men's room to duck into.

In a bowling alley on Super Bowl Sunday you could probably bowl without any actual pants on. so I assume this question is an academic one.
posted by hifiparasol at 9:41 AM on February 5, 2007


Crass in most contexts. Not so crass when drinking beer in rented shoes, as others have suggested.

But as long as we're on the subject, a related question:

Say it's an emergency and you absolutely must tighten your belt in a public place, crass or not. Is it better to do so boldly and openly, in hopes of reassuring everyone around that nothing icky is going on here, or should you attempt to be discreet (sitting, turning away from everybody), reducing your chances of being noticed but increasing the yuck factor for anyone who does see you ("what's that dude doing over there in the corner with his pants undone")?
posted by contraption at 9:45 AM on February 5, 2007


Go for it. I mean, tightening is pretty much something you can do without undoing the whole buckle and everything, so why not?
posted by klangklangston at 9:46 AM on February 5, 2007


Tugging at the end of a belt that can be tightened in the same manner as an airline seat belt: no problem.

Unbuckling a belt in order to adjust it: hmmm. I don't know that I would think it "crass," but I would probably find it a little strange. To my mind, this is on a borderline. If some guy just stood up in a bowling alley, bar, bus, restaurant, classroom, etc, and unceremoniously undid and re-did his belt, I would probably think, "Weirdo!" But if he announced to his companions (and thereby to anyone else in earshot), "I know this looks weird, but I've just got to tighten my belt," I'd be more forgiving. (Well, I guess in a restaurant I'd still find it uncomfortably odd, but in other situations it would be forgivable.)

That said, after seeing anyone make this maneuver in public with or without apologies to those in earshot, I would be unlikely to think of him or her as a really classy character.
posted by Orinda at 9:49 AM on February 5, 2007


Well, yes I would not expect someone to undo their entire belt to tighten it a notch. Unless they are around the age of five.
posted by geoff. at 9:50 AM on February 5, 2007


I would never think less of someone for leaving to go adjust a belt in a private placed. I might, depending on circumstances, raise an eyebrow at someone who did it in public.
posted by KAS at 10:01 AM on February 5, 2007


Depends on the place. I do it occasionally, but at a college at night isn't really 'public.' New York, probably fine, anyplace inside, probably crass.
posted by tmcw at 10:05 AM on February 5, 2007


Great answers so far - the consensus seems to be that it's not a crime, but somewhat uncouth. I should clarify that my belt is a leather one that has to be completely unbuckled in order to be tightened. For me, every time I see a man start to unbuckle his belt, I just can't help but think "he's about to take off his pants!" Glad I'm not the only one.
posted by M.C. Lo-Carb! at 11:00 AM on February 5, 2007


Crass, but shouldn't be. Adjust your belt with confidence; the world will grow up, someday.
posted by Anything at 11:31 AM on February 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


If I spotted a guy at a bowling alley undoing his belt I would be turned off, even if I then saw that it was for the purpose of tightening it. Maybe that's what you want though, is to cause a woman like me not to be interested in you.

Though I don't follow it myself, I think the old fashioned rule of not touching one's hair, face, or pretty much any body part in public is classy. Someday I'll stop biting my nails.

Really it comes down to how you want other people to perceive you.
posted by frecklefaerie at 12:04 PM on February 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


If a (strange) man did this knowing I could see him, I'd be a little surprised, and unlikely to think of him as a gentleman.
posted by thehmsbeagle at 12:05 PM on February 5, 2007


What about putting a fallen-down bra strap back onto your shoulder? It doesn't involve unhooking or rehooking, and it is not really near the bosom area. [This question is mostly for the ladies, I suppose.]
posted by matildaben at 12:19 PM on February 5, 2007


What about putting a fallen-down bra strap back onto your shoulder?

I think that's totally fine. Now I'm feeling a little self-concious about the fact that I adjust the back of my bra (pull it down through my shirt) though.
posted by nekton at 12:27 PM on February 5, 2007


Got to dissent. I think its fine, I wouldn't think twice about doing it myself, nor would it bother me to see anyone else do it.
posted by Touchstone at 12:30 PM on February 5, 2007


I absolutely wouldn't hesitate to adjust my belt in public. I was pretty surprised by these responses. Even after reading them, I still wouldn't give it a second thought. If you find it uncooth, that's your problem, not mine.

This question makes me wonder about the age and social class of many MeFites.
posted by christonabike at 1:35 PM on February 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


I think it's okay as long as you're not doing it right in front of someone's face (i.e., you are standing, and you decide to unbuckle your belt in front of someone sitting).
posted by eggplantia5 at 1:41 PM on February 5, 2007


Uncouth if not crass. You wouldn't unbutton your pants in public and to me those are pretty close cousins.
posted by CwgrlUp at 3:03 PM on February 5, 2007


What about cleaning spattered droppings of roadside debris from my spats? Damned horseless carriages...


Seriously people. Maybe this is a west coast east coast thing or something, but out here, no one gives a rat's ass whether you tighten your belt or not, provided that the pants stay north of the equator.
posted by stenseng at 3:27 PM on February 5, 2007


I take my belt completely out of the belt loops and put it back on in full public view almost every time I go through an airport metal detector. I don't notice many people averting their gaze.
posted by namret at 4:05 PM on February 5, 2007


I'm with christonabike, it's never occurred to me that anyone would find such an activity offensive in the least.
posted by muta at 4:37 PM on February 5, 2007


you are standing, and you decide to unbuckle your belt in front of someone sitting).

I'm really amused by this mental image. How would this even happen? Maybe on the bus?

Next up: proper pinkie position when sipping one's tea.
posted by myeviltwin at 4:42 PM on February 5, 2007


nekton: "What about putting a fallen-down bra strap back onto your shoulder?

I think that's totally fine. Now I'm feeling a little self-concious about the fact that I adjust the back of my bra (pull it down through my shirt) though.
"

You shouldn't have to do this -- it sounds like you're wearing the wrong size. I prescribe a professional fitting at a good (ie. not in a shopping mall) lingerie shop. I swear to you it will change your life.

posted by loiseau at 4:54 PM on February 5, 2007


Well, suppose your fly had been unzipped and you suddenly realized it...? You'd go right ahead and zip it up. You might be a little embarrassed, or you might not, but you do what you have to do.
posted by Robert Angelo at 5:21 AM on February 6, 2007


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