The Pants Club
Going into a sannensei class one day, a girl sitting near the front caught my attention. Before, if I were to say that, it was probably because she was openly fondling herself during class, attempting to flash me her panties, or she was only a few minutes away from handing out numbers and letting the guys line up to fuck her right there on top of the desks.* But not this time. This particular girl happened to catch my attention…because she was wearing pants.
*Amazingly enough, these are NOT hypothetical situations.
For most of you, you’re probably thinking, “she was wearing pants…and?” Me though, I have clearly been in Japan for far too long, because this actually bothered me a bit. “It’s a girl…but she’s wearing pants. This female, who should be wearing a skirt, is instead wearing pants. She is not a boy, she clearly has no penis (at least that I am aware of), yet she is wearing pants, which is wrong. What’s going on here?”
As you probably know, most if not all junior high schools and high schools in Japan utilize school uniforms. There are a few different variations–the Navy uniform/sailor suit type, the polo shirt/blazer type, and even the potato sack moo-cow type. But one unchanging, unmoving constant is that boys wear pants, and girls wear skirts. Girls may wear shorts or pants as a part of their PE uniform, but if we’re talking about the regular uniform, it’s a skirt. This does not change.
Even in winter, when you’d think they’d let girls wear pants or something to at least keep their legs warm. Winter in Japan is really fucking cold. Well, it’s really cold at me at least, but you have to remember that I’m from sunny California. The temperature dips below 70, and people are like, “Oh boy, it’s getting a bit chilly. I’d better throw on a sweater.” In California, it’s cold when the ice cubes in your Pina Colada don’t melt as fast as we think they should. Meanwhile, people on the East Coast are thinking, “You fucking pansies,” but at least we get to laugh at you when the temperature peaks over 90, and you’re all like, “OMG so hot dying so hot,” and we’re thinking, “Man, it’s a little breezy today, I might need a light jacket or something.”
Japanese people at least think it’s cold, what with all the constant chants of “samui!” Many girls bring towels or blankets that they use to cover their legs while they sit at their desks. Sometimes, I like to take the opportunity to give them a little cultural enlightenment.
Girls: It’s so cold…
Me: Yeah. I mean, *I’m* cold, but you guys must *really* be cold in those skirts!
Girls: It’s freezing!
Me: You know, in America, girls can wear pants.
Girls: Wow, really?
Me: Yeah. Pants, shorts, sweats, whatever they want.
Girls: That would be nice…
Me: And you know, America has central heating too, which means that the whole room stays warm, not just the area around the heater.
Girls: Wow, that’s so great! I wanna go to America!
12-15 years-old is the PERFECT time for a little psychological conditioning, don’t you think? Sociologists say that the population of Japan will be zero by the year 3000. But I think if we all pitch in and do what we can, we can speed it up to 2500 at least.
You may think I’m joking about the social conditioning thing, but I’m kinda not. Girls wear skirts in middle and high school, even during the winter, and this trains them to continue wearing skirts even past high school. Guys in America used to say that they loved spring because it’s the time when the weather warms up, and girls start wearing skirts again. That rule doesn’t apply to Japan though, because girls here wear skirts all year round. Even in winter! I’m not talking about long skirts either, I mean I’ve seen girls wearing skirts so short in winter, that you can actually see how many babies they’ve aborted. (This would actually be kind of awesome, if only more Japanese girls had legs to speak of.) Just goes to show you that fashion > everything in Japan. Well, I can’t say everything, but I can at least say fashion > being comfortably warm in the winter.
The skirt thing further amuses me because one November day at my old schools, I showed up to school wearing a short-sleeved polo shirt. Pretty much EVERYBODY had to stop and ask me, “Oh my God, aren’t you cold in that shirt?” The funny thing was, it wasn’t even a cold day. But to the Japanese mind, November = winter = no short sleeves. To the, literally, hundreds of people who asked me if I was cold in my short-sleeves, I tried saying to a few of them, “But I imagine the poor female students might get a little chilly in their skirts,” but of course, NO ONE got it. Much like trying to explain a sunset to someone who was born blind, trying to tell a virgin what a blowjob feels like, or trying to explain to Lindsay Lohan what it’s like being sober, it was just something they couldn’t even remotely fathom, much less comprehend.
Taking all of that into account, this is why I was surprised to see a girl wearing pants. I suppose it was possible she had some horrible leg scars, or she was attempting to hide some penis-like tentacle monster or something (this is Japan after all…), but I never found out. Although, within a week of me noticing her in the pants, her two friends also decided that this was a good idea, and they too started to wear pants. I’d seen their legs before, so I know there was nothing wrong with them. So, I started thinking of these girls as The Pants Club. While the parts of my brain that are slowly being invaded by the Japanese Symbiote are thinking “WTF pants on girls,” the parts of me that are still American applaud them for going against the social norms. Japan sees them as they want to see them…in the simplest terms, in the most convenient definitions. But maybe, what they found out is that each one of them is a brain, and has their own personality that can’t be defined by a stereotype.
…Or maybe they’re just lesbians? Who knows.
One of my friends tells me of a similar situation at his school. A ninensei girl there has gender identity issues. She’s cut her hair short, wears the boys’ uniform, and speaks in not only a male voice, but uses gruff and coarse language that would make even Quentin Tarantino blush. She also insists that the teachers and her other classmates call her by the male suffix of -kun, rather than the standard -san that’s used for girls in junior high school.
I couldn’t help but wonder what happens when this girl has to go to the bathroom.
“I was just about to get to that!” my friend exclaims. “She goes to the girls bathroom. Of course. But she every time she goes to the bathroom, she has to have a teacher come along with her, to explain to any other girls that might be in the bathroom that she’s a girl too.” The other girls in the school do know that Boy George here is a girl, right? “Of course they do! But for this girl, she’s so freaked out that if she goes into the bathroom, and there’s a girl there, the girl will get mad and start screaming sexual harassment or something, so she insists on having a teacher come along every time and explain the situation. Isn’t that so awesome? You’re a Japanese teacher, and you have to accompany a girl who’s trying to be a boy, to the girl’s bathroom, to explain to other girls that she’s using the girls’ bathroom because she can’t take a piss in a urinal.”
And people wonder why I don’t want to be a teacher anymore.