Last week a good friend of mine made the following post on Facebook:
“All of Lydia’s school pants* are floods again. It must be spring.”
Eh? I was completely mystified, but have investigated and even procured a visual of the trousers in question.
Lydia’s trousers are clearly too short. But floods? Here’s the perfect explanation:
“In America, “floods” are a term for pants that are too short. The idea is, they would be good in a flood because you could walk around and not get your pants wet.”
Isn’t that brilliant? My next thought, of course, was to pin down the British term for the same phenomenon. It took a phone call back to Blighty but I am pretty sure that the equivalent status update I might have made would have been something like:
“All of Lydia’s school trousers are flying at half mast** again.”
I like that too but not as much as this… Apparently in parts of the UK it is common to turn to someone whose trousers look a bit like Lydia’s and say:
“Has your cat died?”
Why? Because if your trousers are flying at half mast then you must be in mourning for something. Your cat. Obviously.
* – a note about pants. The trouser/pants translation issue is certainly the first and funniest language difference one encounters when crossing the pond. Especially, I recall, with a five year old boy who found it hilarious.
** – flying your pants at half mast, I suspect, has a whole different meaning in the US and is more about sagging than flagging. A story for another day, maybe.