Claim: A young man on a date messes his pants, buys new pants, throws old pants away, then discovers his shopping bag contains a sweater instead of pants.
Example: [Collected on the Internet, 1996]
This guy lives in Westchester, NY and goes to school at Ithaca College. For two years, he has wanted to ask a certain girl (who is also from Westchester and also goes to Ithaca) out on a date, but has never had the courage. Finally, one day over the summer, he sees her at home and musters up the courage to ask her out. She accepts, and they make dinner plans for Saturday night.
Friday night, this guy goes out with all of his buddies, and drinks like Prohibition is coming back. Saturday, he is in such bad shape that he can't make it through twenty minutes without either puking or shitting. After several hours of this, he is able to stop puking, but he is still running to the toilet every
So they meet in Westchester, and take the train to New York City (about a
He quickly pays for dinner and they leave the restaurant. Oh, by the way, he is walking like a cowboy. On the way to the train station, they pass the Gap.
"Do you mind if I run in and buy a sweater that I was looking at last week?" he asks.
"No problem, I'd like to look around too," she replies.
They go into the Gap. Fortunately, at the Gap, men's fashions are on the right, women's fashions are on the left. They split up. Our hero grabs the first sweater within reach, and hurries back to the khakis. After selecting a pair that most closely resemble his current outfit, he brings both items to the register. His eyes are on his date (still on the other side of the store) to make sure that she doesn't see him buying the pants. He doesn't even want the sweater, so he says through clenched teeth (just in case his date can read lips from
"What?" asks the Gap girl.
"Just the pants!" (Eyes still trained on his date.)
Gap girl: "Oh, OK."
He pays for the pants and walks over to his date, then they leave the store.
They board the train just before it leaves the station and find two seats in the middle of the car. Without sitting down, our hero excuses himself and walks to the bathroom in the back of the car. He gets to the bathroom as the train departs, and quickly rips off his pants and boxer shorts. He rolls them into a ball and throws them out the window. After cleaning himself off, he opens the Gap bag and pulls out...just the sweater.
****PLEASE TAKE A MOMENT TO THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU WOULD DO IN THIS SITUATION.****
As you must have realized, the only solution is to wear the sweater as pants. So he squeezes his legs into the arms of the sweater and pulls the rest of the fabric tight around his waist. He can only keep himself covered by hunching over. Walking will be a new challenge altogether.
Rather than going through the absolute trauma of returning to his seat and explaining (or creating an elaborate lie to explain) the entire incident, our hero waits in the bathroom until the train stops at the next station. He waits until the moment the train starts to pull away from the station, then dashes out of the bathroom (as quickly as a hunched over cowboy with sweater pants can dash) and jumps off the train. He is lost and stranded somewhere between
He hasn't seen the girl since.
Origins: The usual telling of this dating disaster legend involves a fellow who has a bit of an "accident" so he leaves his date standing outside a store while he dashes in to buy a pair of pants. Inevitably, there's a woman buying a sweater at the same time; he grabs his purchase, reclaims his ladyfriend, they get back to the train station, he goes to change, throws the soiled pants out the window, then finds out he grabbed the wrong package.
A British version tells of a henpecked husband who drinks too much at the office Christmas party (which he wasn't supposed to have been at in the first place), throws up on himself, stops to buy clothes so the wife won't know, and catches the train home:
A friend wasn't feeling well, but just couldn't see how he could miss the office Christmas party, so he took the train to town and over-indulged himself enormously, with the result that he was really very ill in several directions at once. So on his way back to the station he stumbled into an army surplus shop and asked for a pair of trousers —
Applying the acid test of logic to the story reveals its fatal flaw. Suppose it happened to you. After you'd bought fresh clothing, would you return to your date still in
In February 1996, this legend surfaced on Z100, a
In closing, let me leave you with a related tale out of a 1954 joke book:
Last updated: 4 October 2014
Dale, Rodney. The Tumour in the Whale. London: Duckworth, 1978. ISBN 0-7156-1314-6 (p. 43). Dale, Rodney. It's True ... It Happened to a Friend. London: Gerald Duckworth & Co., 1984. ISBN 0-7156-1759-1 (p. 83). Elgart, J. M. Still More Over Sexteen. New York: Grayson Publishing, 1954 (p. 46). Healey, Phil and Rick Glanvill. Now! That's What I Call Urban Myths. London: Virgin Books, 1996. ISBN 0-86369-969-3 (pp. 30, 227-228). Smith, Paul. The Book of Nasty Legends. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1983. ISBN 0-00-636856-5 (p. 28).