Warning: The article below is over five years old. It may be badly written, poorly considered, immature, obsolete, no longer my opinion, or simply flat-out wrong.

Button-up Flies

It is a good thing for my employers, my degree, and my website that I have the standards of personal hygiene that I do. I find I solve a vast amount of problems in the shower. All of my algorithms go down the plughole clockwise, and most of my pieces of coursework hold a faint odour of shower gel.

Of course I jest, but I do find that a lot of my technical thinking is done during my morning ablutions. On reflection, this is hardly surprising - it's a block of time where I'm mostly acting on autopilot and have very little competing for my attention. It's the perfect time to figure out the intricacies of a bit of code, or let my mind churn over something I'm stuck on.

I'm not proud to admit this next bit, but here goes: I find my bathroom breaks during the day have a similar, although lesser, effect. Again, it's a couple of minutes in a hectic life where it is quiet, serene, and very little thought is involved. But whenever I wear my blue denim jeans my little islands of mental processing are destroyed, and my productivity falls away sharply. You see, these jeans have button-up flies.

Back in the 1800s I'm sure button-up flies were a fantastic invention. And it's entirely possible they are very fashionable today. In a way, they're quite sexy - grip the top of the trouser, pull the part with buttonholes away from my body, and the material parts like badly-hung wallpaper. Alas, I find myself peeing far more often than I find my pants being removed in a time-constrained frenzy of lust and so this fringe benefit is negated by the need to stand in front of a urinal, fiddling with my crotch in a suspicious fashion, for anything up to a minute after I've finished peeing.

One can deal with that, though. This is only part of the torment, though - as soon as I have unbuttoned my trousers (an effort in itself, if you just want to open an orifice in the trousers, not unfasten them entirely), my mind enters a tight loop of panic. "Oh no, I'm going to have to do them back up, and that's always a struggle," I find myself thinking. "What if someone comes in while I'm doing them up? What if someone comes in before I'm doing them up, starts peeing, and then I button it in the wrong buttonhole and have to spend time correcting it?". You get the idea. Any chance of thinking about something else - fluid dynamics, say - is obliterated.

I wouldn't mind so much if it weren't for the way that they're just so unnecessary. We live in a world of zip fasteners, and I think that as it was invented in 1851, it's high time we got with the programme and used them across all trousers. I'm not sure if the designers of this particular pair had a vehement dislike of paying royalties on the zip. Perhaps he thought that it was somewhat stylish, even though anyone paying enough attention to my crotch to notice is likely to need further convincing of my allure. Maybe he was embittered and twisted by years in the fashion industry, and vowed to wreak havoc on the unsuspecting consumers by this subtle act of sabotage. I doubt humanity will ever find the answer to this one.