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Mad Scientess Jane Expat

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A question of etiquette [20100910|09:44]
Mad Scientess Jane Expat
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Whilst I was pootling home from the rail station yesterday, a middle-aged man steamed past me on the pedestrian footbridge. He sported a ponytail, a maroon button-down shirt that had been washed many times and a pair of black slacks. The slacks had ripped just underneath his right buttock. I was briefly hypnotized by his bouncing bottom before a thought struck me: Should I tell him? Would he not want to know? He could untuck his shirt and it would probably cover the little Window of Shame in his trousers. But wait, what if he already knew it was there and didn't care? Before I could resolve the debate, he was fifteen feet in front of me and I would have had to run up to him to tell him. At that point, he began to whistle. I decided not to spoil his good mood. He would find out soon enough.

If I see a stranger with an unzipped rucksack in danger of losing its contents, or a person unknowingly drop their Oyster card or wallet, I instinctively pursue them to let them know of the impending disaster. Wardrobe malfunctions are more difficult. What others perceive to be a wardrobe malfunction may in fact be a fashion statement (e.g. untied shoelaces). Now, I'm fairly certain this man was not making a fashion statement with his right buttock. However, I still don't know whether or not I should have spoken to him. What would you have done in my place?

Poll #1617124 The Case of the Man with the Torn Trousers.

What is the correct response to spotting such a wardrobe malfunction?

As tactfully as possible, inform the person that their buttocks are in view.
5(21.7%)
Giggle and avert your eyes.
18(78.3%)


Today, I have discovered that I am wearing an outfit that is probably inappropriate for interviewing candidates for the new position in the lab. It consists of a short black dress, black leggings and my black Docs. (Hey, I get dressed while mostly asleep in the dark every morning. Everyone's lucky I manage to put clothes on at all.) I also managed to slip and fall dramatically - with arms wheeling around and everything - while trying to get into the lift at Gloucester Road station this morning. The dignified comportment of the Serious Scientist: I don't have it.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: ursarctous
2010-09-10 08:54 (UTC)
The correct response and what I would have done are two very different things. I'd know I ought to tell him, but I would be far too scared. Poor man.
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2010-09-13 14:18 (UTC)
Oh, I totally understand. This is exactly what happened to me. If only I'd been decisive, I would have been able to tell him without making a big scene.
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[User Picture]From: tylerwetrust
2010-09-10 12:10 (UTC)
A similar thing happened to me yesterday. I was on a bus and this girl clearly still had the price tag on her jeans. At first I was going to tell her, but then I started thinking that maybe she purposefully left the tag on so that she could return them later and I would just embarrass her by telling her about it. Later of course I realized that people only leave the tags on in movies and I was probably a jerk for not telling her about it.

Similarly, last week, I was walking to class and a girl walked up beside me and told me that the bottom of my skirt was stuck on my purse and she wanted to stop me before it showed anything dangerous. And I was eternally grateful.

So, I don't know, I'd probably still be too scared to tell the man his right buttock was showing.
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[User Picture]From: jixel
2010-09-10 19:15 (UTC)
lol i can't even picture it. how about c. photoblog it on failblog.com
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2010-09-13 14:22 (UTC)
But sometimes people do leave the tags on things! There's a hiphop fashion for leaving not just price tags but all the stickers on your baseball caps. I've seen it done with jeans/trousers as well.

I'm pretty sure this not-so-hip middle-aged man wasn't making a fashion statement, but who knows about that girl?
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[User Picture]From: cosmiccircus
2010-09-10 13:34 (UTC)
I hope you took a photo of today's outfit!
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2010-09-13 14:18 (UTC)
I didn't, sadly. Too busy and too stressed.
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[User Picture]From: sekl
2010-09-10 13:53 (UTC)
I object to the radio buttons in this poll. What if I recommend doing both?
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2010-09-13 14:15 (UTC)
I admit, I get a sad little thrill out of withholding the ticky option.
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2010-09-13 14:16 (UTC)
There's certainly far more of it around than there is of Silly. We need more Silly.
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[User Picture]From: becala
2010-09-10 16:10 (UTC)
I answered the poll in the context of what I would do, and in the specific situation you described. I couldn't say whether it's right or not, but to me, if it's a malfunction that is merely embarrassing, then one should tell them only if it's easy to do so casually. If, on the other hand, you have to chase them down the block to tell them, well that's just sort of creepy, isn't it? Seems that way to me.

I was in a bar somewhat recently and a lovely hipster girl had tucked her very lovely circle skirt into the back of her hose. The skirt was long enough that her actual bottom was not hanging out or anything, just her upper thighs. Several people walked by and openly pointed and laughed at her backside rather than telling her. I thought that was just terrible, however I waited until she was finished with her conversation to catch her attention and let her know what had happened. I figured interrupting her conversation would just embarrass her, as then her friends whom she was facing and could not see her behind would know, as well.

Related story: When Eric fought the mountain at Beer Metal Summer Camp, he managed to rip his trousers open from buttocks down to his knee, so pretty much his entire pasty white leg + boxers were hanging out. I didn't tell him simply because I didn't notice until the next morning, but I suspect any number of people at the camp *did* notice and chose not to tell him. Then again, he was wearing a viking helmet and carrying a Wizard's Staff of over 15 beer cans, so anyone that noticed probably figured he didn't much care.
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[User Picture]From: becala
2010-09-10 16:13 (UTC)
It also occurs to me that the answer to the question is very different depending on whether you are comfortable with talking about backsides to perfect strangers. I wouldn't necessarily say, "I can see your bottom," I'd say "There's a quite large tear in the back of your trousers," but that has to do with other peoples' comfort level with hearing about bottoms, not my own comfort level with uttering the term.
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2010-09-13 14:15 (UTC)
Perhaps one solution could be to walk by singing an impromptu song about bottoms? "Oh, bottoms! Bottoms bottoms bottoms bottoms bottoms buttocks."
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[User Picture]From: becala
2010-09-13 15:13 (UTC)
I don't really need to be seeing someone's bottom to break out into a song like that.

I had this housemate once who would utter the phrase, "buttsex," at seemingly random intervals. It was like a sigh or maybe a tourette's twitch.
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[User Picture]From: doccy
2010-09-10 18:53 (UTC)
But I see no option for "Burst forth in massive, roaring laughter, pointing at the slightly exposed cheek and repeating "AHAHAHAHAHAAA... ARSE!!" until there are actual tears coming out of your eyes. Continue to follow the person, doing this, until at least a full hour after they have tried to flee from your presence, failed, somehow dealt with it (through shirt-covering or even trouser replacement), and then called the police."


On second thoughts, no, there's probably no need to include that option.
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2010-09-13 14:13 (UTC)
Guerilla mending! It could be the new urban movement.
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2010-09-13 14:13 (UTC)
Oh, I don't know. I probably would have learned a lot about my LJ friends if I had.
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[User Picture]From: automatic_kafka
2010-09-10 22:26 (UTC)
I also managed to slip and fall dramatically - with arms wheeling around and everything - while trying to get into the lift at Gloucester Road station this morning. - You're adorable.

Anyway, I don't see the harm in not saying anything. I may have said something, I may not have but I'm always for minor mischief, so it's more likely I'd have not said anything and hoped he'd see the humor in it himself, later.

I'd be more amused if I found he'd gone the whole day like that and no one had said anything to him at all.
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2010-09-13 14:12 (UTC)
Oh man. If he did, the people in his office must really not like him.
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[User Picture]From: painted_dreams
2010-09-10 23:23 (UTC)
In all fairness I probably wouldn't have said anything. I would have just assumed it was part of his fashion. Now if someone had a stain they couldn't see or their skirt was pulled up, I'd say something.
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2010-09-13 14:11 (UTC)
Ooh, this was definitely not a fashionable chap. Or at least, not the sort of chap who makes a statement by having ripped trousers.
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[User Picture]From: nimoloth
2010-09-12 14:59 (UTC)
What I'm wondering is, why is he not wearing pants?! *lol*
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2010-09-13 14:10 (UTC)
Either that or he was wearing a thong. AAAAHHHH!!
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