To begin, Dad Pants are not Mom Jeans. Not even close. Out on the front lines, you see your share of Mom Jeans. From what I can tell, they lend the wearer a degree of comfort unequal to the rising bile of self-incrimination and shame. When a mom dons Mom Jeans, if you listen hard enough, you can almost hear her screaming, “These animals took everything! Everything!”

Not so with Dad Pants. Counter to Mom Jeans, Dad Pants are rarely denim. They are khaki and cargo, they are a rugged twill. The most successful weaves are those made with industrial purposes in mind. Carhartts, welder’s pants – these become excellent Dad Pants.

I say they become Dad Pants because Dad Pants are never bought new. They are pants of yesterday, of a time before kids. They were worn during renovations and repairs. There may be the remnants of a joint in one of the pockets, discovered mingling with a pacifier. This offers some concern, but like the man who wears them, these Dad Pants once sashayed the boulevards.

You’ll see my Dad Pants bisected at the knee, tatters won from parental ground work. Shoe tying, truck play, eye-to-eye counsel have made a mockery of Vietnamese stitchery. South of the holes, these are more paper towel than pants. Down by the frayed hem, the pocket knife is cleaned after cutting both cheese and apple. A little higher is where a certain toddler likes to wipe his nose.

Above what was once the knee is a rich palate of mystery. Could this be yogurt flecked here? What was I sitting on/in that left these blackish, tarry marks on the ass?

The pockets of my Dad Pants contain, of course, a knife, pacifier, phone, wallet and keys. These are the must haves. Any leftover space is consumed by the acquisitions of my tiny urban archeologists — a piece of torn junk mail featuring a picture of a Christmas tree, the top part of a broken plastic clothes hanger, a discarded New Years Eve noise maker.

Though I believe Dad Pants don’t cramp style quite as severely as Mom Jeans, neither should be worn outside days in the grind of young children. Dad Pants and Mom Jeans both are for running zone defense against high-energy children, among people doing the same. When you wear such heavy armor, you deserve the pleasure of laying it down. sliding into something well tailored and in tact. The boulevards are still there, waiting on that old sashay.

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