Why Shouldn't Men Wear Shalwar-Kameez [archived]

Middle age is defined as the time in life when you stop growing at both ends and begin growing in the middle. If you have ever tried to slip into jeans 2-inch too small in waist, you know what relief it is wearing our traditional shalwar-kameez, a de facto national symbol of the Pakistani male. However, this comfort has a price tag. And time has now come to evaluate if we really need this cross between the traditional pajama (a discovery of the Indian subcontinent now popular throughout the world) and the attire of the sultan's harem girls, the Turkish pants, long outlawed in Turkey.

The first problem with shalwar-kameez is that it resembles too much of what we often wear at home or during night; slipping into clothes different from our dreaming suits is needed to change our professional mind-set. This attire is also dangerous when working with moving machinery and you can easily trip. Wearing shalwar-kameez also keeps you oblivious from the ever-growing bulge in the middle. You can always loosen the shalwar a bit and the long fall of kameez keeps it all hidden, well tucked in. You would never know when you ballooned from waist of 30 to 44. Also, since it hides body curves, it neither lets you lament nor gloat about how you look—a motivation to maintaining good health.

A phenomenon unique to the shalwar-kameez users is the ease and consistency with which they reach for their crotch. This best pastime of the Pakistani male is vividly displayed at bus stops and offices. Embarrassing to the core, the habit can be damaging to the prostate gland.

Finally, men should not wear shalwar-kameez because it resembles a woman's dress. What is the alternate then? Why not adopt the practical modern Western attire? And before you slap the national identity crap on this opinion, remember that the entire West wears pajamas, straight out of our inventory. I think time has come for us to find our identity in better things than in this outdated, physically hazardous, sleepwear that promotes poor attitudes and bad health habits.

[17 March 1995 The Daily Dawn]