Notes on button-fly jeans and heat pipes.

It seems to me that the inventor of the button-fly jean was a person who spends the winter in a villa somewhere on the Mediterranean, or at least a trailer park in Florida.

The reason for my supposition is heat pipes.

On the three different pairs of button-fly jeans I own, the buttons are stainless steel, and there is no denim flap behind the fastener behind the button backs, as there is with the zipper-fly models behind the zipper. The typical denim flap of the zipper models is in fact what the buttons are mounted in.

The problem arises when a) the button backs press against the wearer’s body (or against the thin fabric of the usual undergarment), specifically against the part of the male anatomy that is typically buttressed against the fly of jeans, and b) the button fronts brace themselves against the Canadian winter.

Those readers who are familiar with the mechanism of heat pipes will understand why I am now wearing long johns most days on my walk to work.

11 Responses to “Notes on button-fly jeans and heat pipes.”

  1. Rob Says:

    I recently became the owner of pants guarded by a button fly. These have non-conductive, plastic buttons, but my weeks of button-fly have nothing on my years of zip-fly muscle memory, and it takes me a solid 45 minutes to open and close them. Woe! I need an upgrade.

  2. Ian Says:

    This is probably the nerdiest discussion of clothing I’ve ever seen.

  3. Jamie Says:

    Just wait till you have frostbitten dangly bits, you won’t have much else to do either.

  4. Rob Says:

    Alright! I figured it out. The reflex of “top button first, then fly” does not apply to button flies. Starting at the bottom and working your way up to the belt-level shaves at least 30 minutes off of your time.

  5. Jamie Says:

    It is an advanced skilled, congratulations on acquiring it – Ian is still trying to master not getting anything caught in his zipper, for instance (“oh! just a little bit of shirt there, you almost got it!“).

    The next lesson is that you typically don’t have to undo the bottom button, and sometimes if you’re running lean, you can leave the second lowest one fastened as well.

  6. boR Says:

    Oh, that bottom one is impossible to get to. I skip it entirely. It’s even a tougher one to get at because the fabric is bound just below it, giving even less play to rotate the button enough to make it through the buttonhole. This is a serious problem! Maybe in a few months I can attempt a public urinal. When sporting my button-pants, I’m reduced to hiding in a stall since I can’t seem to work the fly mechanism with enough subtlety to be comfortable knowing I won’t elbow my neighbor (a capital offense, second only to speaking and/or glancing, according to the Unspoken Urinal Law, third revision) or drop the pants altogether (I hate standing next to the guy who just doesn’t understand urinals).

    I think I’ve almost embarrassed myself enough on the internet for one day. I’d better use a clever alias.

  7. naI Says:

    (To the tune of “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”)

    Button, button, little fly
    Keep my pants up nice and high
    You let me down when winter hits
    Freezing off my manly bits
    Button, button, little fly
    Rapid exits, you deny.

  8. Gaelan Says:

    Where do you find button fly jeans? I’ve been looking to replace my last pair, and I can’t find them anyplace.

  9. Andy Says:

    Never mind button vs. zip flies. It’s the shape of the damn things that’s getting my goat.
    I’m a 32 inch waist, not bad for an inveterate slob you might think, but I got a shock when I tried to buy some verdammte jeans a couple of weeks ago. The waistband fits, I can fasten the buttons etc., but I’m concerned that the current generation of trouser has been designed for some kind of pipe-cleaner/twig boy.
    I tried on some 34 waist, I could just about move in those, but the waistband stuck way out in front as though I was a clown waiting for a colleague to pour a bucket of water in there.
    If any of your readers here can recommend a brand of denim trouser which has been built with the “regular bloke” body shape in mind (as opposed to the car radio aerial variety of specimen – who, incidentally, you don’t actually see all that many of), please let me know through the usual channels (I’ve always wanted to say that).

  10. Jamie Says:

    These jeans are also too big around the waist (not that I wear them that high), and I have to wear a belt, which is alright. The rest is quite comfy, and dare I say it, flattering and sexy?

    I got my button-fly jeans at Sears and some other store in a local shopping centre, the kind that has shop attendants who are concerned with fashion, and express opinions like “these are great because they just came in and nobody else will have them”. I told the little peckerhead that I wasn’t in junior high anymore.

  11. Andy Says:

    Well, we don’t have a Sears. I’m just too proud and stubborn to go into sweated-labour emporium The Gap, which is famous for producing clothes to US sizes to accommodate any and all varieties of American Citizen, or fatso, as some prefer to call them. No, I don’t think I’ve gone too far down that particular road yet.