When Pants Were Pants…

As a result of my recent interview on Seen The Elephant, I seem to be tripping over a whole lot of blogs by travellers from all over the place who’ve stopped awhile.  Some posts are interesting, others occur as a little irrelevant.  And there are some that just hit the spot so sweetly I am sure that I must have been separated from the fellow blogger at birth.

This happened today when I read Marmite and Fluff, a blog about an English woman living in Connecticut, and her latest post about the language divide that occurs between your new country and your original homeland. 

Upon arrival in the UK, one of the things that’s hardest to contend with is being misunderstood when you all seem to be speaking the same language in a literal sense.  But as I’m here in the land of self-deprecating wit and ironic understatement, this part of my journey has unfolded with confusion, hilarity and not inconsiderable repartee.  But there is one thing that still mystifies me.

I thought pants would be pants in any English-speaking country but the English begged to differ – oh how misguided I was.  And just I as thought I’d managed to suss the snigger-worthy reference to outerwear as underwear (remembering that when I stood in a puddle, it was my trousers I got wet, not my pants), along came another eclectic English-ism.

It’s pants.


Using it here essentially means that something is rubbish or crap.  Let me illustrate by using it in context.

“The weather is (a bit) pants” is not some reference to climatic undergarments but a statement of disappointment or disapproval, usually when it’s raining, about the condition of the elements.

And I was reminded yet again of its laugh out loud absurdity when, as my Aussie-in-the-UK friend A dropped an “it’s pants” in front of her visiting-from-Oz mother, I giggled at the look of utter confusion on her face.

Marmite and Fluff quoted Sar-chasm as the giant gulf between the sarcastic comment and the person who doesn’t get it.

Personally, I think it’s just all a bit pants…

4 thoughts on “When Pants Were Pants…

  1. Kym, I only just came across the shout-out for my blog — thank you!

    “Pants” as an adjective is a word that came into being after I left the UK, so I understand your feelings toward it completely.

    A ridiculous phrase. My old English teacher would so disapprove. (As she would also disapprove of my use of 'so' in the previous sentence.)


  2. Oh holy sh*t. You and me both, honey!

    Granted I'm not an Aussie but a Yank (the only thing worse, as far as the English are concerned) and as such you can imagine how much pleasure they take in tutting my mistake. (Quietly and unobtrusively, of course.)(They're still English.)

    Diggin the blog. Keep it up – there are far too few sassy b*tches blogging these days.

    – B


  3. Actually, I kind of like this English-ism. It strikes me as being a witticism. Seriously! I mean, it makes no sense; that's why it's so funny. Or perhaps the relentless heat in NYC is addling my brain? Now that is pants if I ever saw pants!

    p.s. We've missed you over at Seen the Elephant, where we're now discussing the travails of Eddie Expat. Ramona Repat is up next, and has she ever got some pants to discuss!


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