Brace yourself or I may be forced to belt you

I wear a belt because it gives me a place to hang the pouch of my Swiss Army knife


o Karen at the Credit Union sees me stroll in, crooks a finger, beckoning me over. (Oh, cripes – did a cheque bounce?)

No.  Karen wishes to address my state of dress.

“Suspenders AND a belt, Arthur?  That’s a sign of a seriously insecure man.”

Not guilty, Karen.  Wearing suspenders and a belt is a sign of a man whose butt has dropped off.

It happens, you know.  Cowboys and long-distance truckers have no butts.  They hammer them flat with all the bouncing and jouncing their chosen professions entail.

And old guys?  We lose our butts too.  Collateral damage, along with head hair, high arches and the desire to stay up past 10 p.m..

Calvin Trillin, an old guy who writes for The New Yorker, has given a name to the phenomenon.  He calls it DST – Disappearing Tush Syndrome.  The condition, says Trillin, which “could cause an otherwise respectable senior citizen to walk right out of his pants”.

Enter suspenders.  An over-the-shoulder weight-bearing device that can hold up a pair of pants regardless of the presence or absence of a fleshy caboose.

The principle of suspenders has been around ever since some saggy-bummed Neanderthal discovered that a shoulder strap knotted to the front and back of his sabre-tooth tiger jockey shorts kept his dangly bits warm and cosy.  Suspenders proper didn’t show up for another few hundred thousand years – in the mid-nineteenth century, when changes to men’s trouser style made belts impractical.

Since then, suspenders have had an up and down ride.  They became less popular after World War I when men got accustomed to uniform belts.  Over the years, they swung in and out of fashion; but more out than in. Somewhere along the line they became labelled as underwear, fit only to be seen on lumberjacks, sledge-hammering railroad navvies or tycoons caught with their suit jackets off.

But suspenders fill a need.  As all old guys learn when gravity beckons and your butt falls off, belts just won’t do the job anymore.  Indeed, some health advisors consider reliance on belts to be positively unhealthy.

“There are more (bulging) stomachs caused by the wearing of a belt” wrote one Chicago doctor, “than any other one thing that I know of.”  His advice for achieving that flat-as-a-table abdominal profile?  Posture, exercise “and wearing suspenders”.

So who took his advice?  Well, Annie Hall, in the movie of the same name; Alex, the head hooligan in A Clockwork Orange, greedhead Gordon Gekko in the movie Wall Street and Larry King, the owl like celebrity interviewer on television.

And me.  But I am not trying to make a fashion statement, break into the movies or host my own TV show.

I wear a belt because it gives me a place to hang the pouch of my Swiss Army knife; I wear suspenders to keep my pants up.

My advice to my fellow buttless colleagues: be not afraid.  Hang in there.

And for those who don’t like my advice: belt up.


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Village Way and Highway 19A roundabout is the Town of Qualicum Beach priority for a grant application. (Google Map)
Qualicum Beach council favours roundabout over turf field project

Mayor believes road project has better chance of landing grant

Curling season is over at the Parksville Curling Club and Qualicum Beach Curling Club. (PQB News file photo)
COVID-19: Parksville and Qualicum Beach curling clubs forced to end season

Restrictions impact financial sustainability of both operations

(PQB News file photo)
COVID-19: No public attendance or participation for Jan. 18 Parksville council meeting

Citizens can still offer feedback via email, telephone or written submissions

Town of Qualicum Beach council will charge the St. Andrews Lodge Historical and Cultural Society for power and heat for the historic lodge. (PQB News file photo)
Society to pay electric bills for historic St. Andrews Lodge in Qualicum Beach

Group will not have access to building until lease is formally signed

A unique-looking deer has been visiting a Nanoose Bay property with its mother. (Frieda Van der Ree photo)
A deer with 3 ears? Unique animal routinely visits Nanoose Bay property

Experts say interesting look may be result of an injury

A scene from “Canada and the Gulf War: In their own words,” a video by The Memory Project, a program of Historica Canada, is shown in this undated illustration. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - Historica Canada
New video marks Canada’s contributions to first Gulf War on 30th anniversary

Veterans Affairs Canada says around 4,500 Canadian military personnel served during the war

A 17-year-old snowmobiler used his backcountry survival sense in preparation to spend the night on the mountain near 100 Mile House Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021 after getting lost. (South Cariboo Search and Rescue Facebook photo)
Teen praised for backcountry survival skills after getting lost in B.C.’s Cariboo mountains

“This young man did everything right after things went wrong.”

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole holds a press conference on Parliament Hill, in Ottawa on December 10, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
No place for ‘far right’ in Conservative Party, Erin O’Toole says

O’Toole condemned the Capitol attack as ‘horrifying’ and sought to distance himself and the Tories from Trumpism

A passer by walks in High Park, in Toronto, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. This workweek will kick off with what’s fabled to be the most depressing day of the year, during one of the darkest eras in recent history. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
‘Blue Monday’ getting you down? Exercise may be the cure, say experts

Many jurisdictions are tightening restrictions to curb soaring COVID-19 case counts

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
COVID-19: Provinces work on revised plans as Pfizer-BioNTech shipments to slow down

Anita Anand said she understands and shares Canadians’ concerns about the drug company’s decision

Tourists take photographs outside the British Columbia Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday August 26, 2011. A coalition of British Columbia tourism industry groups is urging the provincial government to not pursue plans to ban domestic travel to fight the spread of COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. travel ban will harm struggling tourism sector, says industry coalition

B.C. government would have to show evidence a travel ban is necessary

(Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
‘Targeted’ shooting in Coquitlam leaves woman in hospital

The woman suffered non-life threatening injuries in what police believe to be a targeted shooting Saturday morning

Everett Bumstead (centre) and his crew share a picture from a tree planting location in Sayward on Vancouver Island from when they were filming for ‘One Million Trees’ last year. Photo courtesy, Everett Bumstead.
The tree-planting life on Vancouver Island featured in new documentary

Everett Bumstead brings forth the technicalities, psychology and politics of the tree planting industry in his movie

JaHyung Lee, “Canada’s oldest senior” at 110 years old, received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. He lives at Amenida Seniors Community in Newton. (Submitted photo: Amenida Seniors Community)

Most Read