Tear-away pants: practical clothing or fashion statement?

By Chad Anderson
Savanna School
Spirit River, Alberta

 I have found another object of distraction. It is another article of clothing, which is very popular, stylish and, supposedly, useful. I am not so sure if "useful" is an appropriate and applicable adjective, but it is used by those who wear this garment. Just as we all wonder how we survived without the telephone, these people cannot imagine life without the infamous "tear-away" track pants.

I may be blinded to the real utility value of these debatably modest garments because I simply cannot justify the use of these more descriptively named "scare-away" pants. The snaps that hold together the outer leg of these pants can fail. Scientific consumer testing has shown that when a force, such as a fellow student, pulls on the cuff of these garments, a breech of security may occur. When this disastrous, yet not unpredictable, event takes place a reddening of the facial features is inspired by the giggles of one's hallway peers.

Before I am accused of being one-sided, I must state the positive features of the tear-away track pant. Track and field competitors find these items invaluable because of their "speed-of-removal" value. Time is of the essence when a world-class marathon spontaneously ignites on the streets of your town, or in a school hallway. Vital seconds can be lost when trying to remove those clumsy jeans. Since such an event could occur at any time, without any prior warning, runners must be ready at all times to promptly shed any extraneous articles of clothing in order to achieve peak performance and speed in as little time as possible.

According to my calculations, though, there are exactly zero marathon runners in my school. Nevertheless, more than half the students in my class have been known to wear these snap-sided pants. I am quite sure that none of them would dream of dropping them to join a race. Like myself, few of them would even run without serious consideration ahead of time, which would provide more-than-adequate time for appropriate garb to be acquired.

Hmmm. Perhaps tear-away pants are good for ventilation on very hot days. I would expect that a decent breeze could travel through such airy apparel. That would be useful. Or maybe these stylish trousers are for pilots who experience sudden air pressure changes. It would be dreadful for regular airtight denim jeans to balloon out when the surrounding air pressure drops.

Perhaps "tear-aways" are designed for those of us who must walk through waist-deep water every day. The holes between the snaps on each side would provide excellent drainage of any resident water that may become trapped inside the pants after fording a shallow body of water. Another good purpose is for pure exercise. Those dignity-preserving metal snaps that trace up the leg must be heavy. Yep! It's a new low-impact aerobic workout.

So far, with the reasons listed above, I have accounted for the use of tear-away pants in about three percent of those wearing them. I don't understand it! There are very few reasons, that in a public place, anyone needs to remove any articles of their clothing so quickly! The temperature here is rarely above what can be endured in normal pants. I don't know anyone who would admit to needing rapid fluid removal through the openings in the outside of the pant legs.

I just don't understand it. Until I find the real use of tear-away pants, I will continue wearing denim jeans, if you don't mind.