Writing left handed

When in England, Don’t Say “Pants”

I’m going to take a break from telling embarrassing stories about my brother today and tell one about myself instead:

Once upon a place (Oxford University, circa 2006), I volunteered to costume a student production of… actually I can’t remember the name of play. Or even the playwright (and even though I’ve googled “play about mountain climbers” I still can’t figure it out) so we’re just going to leave it at that.

What’s important is that the cast was comprised almost entirely of men: smart British men with British accents and British names and—most importantly— a British understanding of the term “pants.”

union jack

As the costume designer and wardrobe mistress, one of my many jobs was to measure inseams. The act of measuring a man’s inseam can look a bit, well, improper if you don’t know what’s going on so I decided I should explain exactly what I was doing before getting to work by announcing, “I’m measuring you for your pants!”

“Pants” unfortunately means something very different in British English than it does in British English. It means underwear.

Moral of the Story? Before slipping a measuring tape into a British man’s groin, be sure to allay his fears with the knowledge that you are measuring him for his trousers. Not for his pants.

And now, on an unrelated note, last night’s dinner was surprisingly decent. I forgot to take a picture of the entree (grilled chicken with a quinoa/goat cheese/candied pecans/dried cranberries salad over a bed of spinach) but here are few shots. Notice, in particular, PIC’s most excellent flower-to-napkin color coordination.


17 Responses to “When in England, Don’t Say “Pants””

  1. Laurie

    I hope this beautiful meal impressed your guests as much as it impresses me. Are those rosemary-lemon skewers in the glasses? Wow!

    • Kat Richter

      Thank you! And yes indeed: I saw a rosemary infusion recipe online and decided to give it a whirl since I’m now growing both rosemary and basil.

  2. Angela

    Dinner looks fantastic!!
    The pants story reminded me of a time when I was young my Great Aunt visited from Canada, she asked me to pass her ‘fanny pack’ unfortunately ‘fanny’ is a vulgar, slang term used here to refer to a lady’s private parts! Oooops!!!!

    • Kat Richter

      Oh goodness! I’d heard this before… the fanny bit… never thought about it in the context of a fanny pack though, lol!

  3. Jerseyite Lurker

    If the play had just two characters, both men, it would be “K2” by Patrick Meyers. There may be other variations in print, as there was a movie by that title about the same story with a larger cast.

    • Kat Richter

      I actually just heard from one of the students in the play via Facebook that it was “The Ascent of F6” mystery solved 🙂

  4. chauffeur

    I wish to add, dinner was wonderful, the hosts were delightful, the table stunning, the rosemary lemon beverage was about the best non-alcoholic thing I have ever drank, it was a lovely evening. Thx Kat and PIC.

    • Kat Richter

      Oh yes. I heard a story about the inventor of Spanx going on British TV to promote her product and when she told the interviewer it was designed to “lift and separate the fanny” he was completely mortified.


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