I’ll admit to it. I wore Hammer Pants. And it wasn’t just once. Or twice. I had a veritable plentitude of styles stuffed in my dresser drawers to choose from. I had gecko hammerpants, rainbow hammerpants, velcro hammerpants; polyester hammerpants, nylon hammerpants, dressy hammerpants; poofy hammerpants, slender hammerpants, denim hammerpants.
In many ways I was ahead of my time, riding the ever-swelling fashion bubble toward the advent of the “baggy” style that eventually evolved and dropped the rodcone numbing flare of its humble predecessor like a cloth, plastic and velcro version of Vanilla Ice’s singing career. Whose album, consequently, I also owned, and suffered a similar fate as the style to which I so lovingly refer.
I remember lusting after the hammerpants that changed color as you wore them, changing color with your changing body heat. This allowed you to entice envious friends to leave a white handprint on your leg, or to leave some other creative semi-temporary representation of their body heat to linger on your kneecaps or buttcheeks. Of course, I didn’t consider the danger of such things at the time, being a small, chubby, rather flatulent child, and now that I think about it, the undulating bright white cone shape around my ass would have been truly embarrassing. The smell I could explain away (people’s sense of smell is so prone to misjudgment and misdirection) – but I’m sure I would have had much more trouble with a bit of recurring visual evidence.
They had many advantages, hammerpants. They were easy to put on; allowed for comfortable movement from place to place; gave ample room for chubby little fellows to mask chubby little legs; doubled as pajama bottoms; hid mysterious stains with vibrant, swirling colors; lent a certain delusional sense of rhythm to the wearers; and were a big enough craze that thousands of generic counterparts were manufactured – thus driving down the price and bringing the mass-marketed image of a short-lived rap icon named M.C. Hammer to young white kids living on cattle ranches in Northern California.
Of all places.