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A good belt won’t let a guy down
March 27, 2017
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by Ivan Raconteur

The Old Philosopher stopped by my office the other day to report he has given up on reversible belts.

It turns out he had experienced a minor wardrobe malfunction when the reversible belt he was wearing let him down, so to speak. It had, in fact, failed at the place where belts experience the most stress.

Fortunately, he was at home at the time, and no embarrassment resulted from the failure.

The O.P. had experienced a problem that a lot of guys before him had discovered. A bad belt can’t be trusted.

I have never been a fan of those reversible belts. They are constructed of two strips of thin leather stitched together. Often one side is black, and the other brown, the idea being it can serve a wider range of wardrobe options than a belt of a single color.

The reality is that it may do double duty, but it does each job poorly. The thin construction makes them prone to failure.

Oh, I suppose they might be OK for a guy who doesn’t need a belt in the first place, but for a guy who relies on his belt to keep his britches off the floor, something more substantial is required.

I want the full strength version. If it was good enough for the cow, I figure it is good enough for me.

This reminds me of the classic Britcom scene in a women’s clothing department.

A large customer is examining a whale bone corset, and asks the clerk if the garment is strong enough.

The clerk looks at the customer and replies, “Well, it was strong enough for the whale.”

I have noticed that the older and rounder I get, the tighter I have to cinch my belt to keep it in place. This isn’t especially comfortable, but gravity is not my friend. It has become so bad, it feels like I have a cowhide tourniquet wrapped around my ample midsection threatening to cut off my circulation.

Even the Old Philosopher, who is an active geezer, noted that he has to tighten his belt quite considerably when engaged in physical excesses such as bowling.

Whatever the reason, a tight belt puts a lot of stress on the equipment, and this stress creates weak spots that can fail at the most inopportune moment, most often at the point where the prong (or post) of the buckle goes through a hole in the strap.

If this failure occurs under pressure, bad things can happen.

For years, I have been buying good quality belts, but even those can fail under extreme use.

Recently, I have been experimenting with something I thought I would never do. That’s one of the problems with getting older. I often find myself doing things I once swore I would never do.

The latest concession with which I have been experimenting is the belt and suspenders combination.

The advantage of this is that, instead of keeping my belt as tight as I can pull it, I can wear my belt more loosely, and rely on the suspenders as a second line of defense.

The suspenders I have been using do not attach to my trousers. Instead, they clip to my belt, rather like those designed for people who carry tools or firearms. By holding the belt up, they keep the trousers up as well.

I have not been testing this new system long enough to judge if it will be a success in the long term, but I have been enjoying being able to breathe during the day.

Another advantage of this system is that it dramatically reduces the stress on the belt, so my belts will likely last longer. This is good news, because belts are not inexpensive.

Even though I may have found a system to relieve pressure on me and the belts, I’m not going to start wearing those reversible belts. That’s one point on which the Old Philosopher and I agree.


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