dress left/right

Tailor’s terminology for which side of his trousers a man normally stashes his junk on; “Do you dress left or right, sir?” (The crotch dimensions will then be adjusted some to accomodate the man’s hanging on the left or the right.) It came up this morning in connection with my Jon Hamm moose knuckle / freeballing posting; Mike McKinley noted that from the photos, Hamm dresses right.

The idiom isn’t exactly a euphemism, but it is a delicate way of referring to personal information.

There are lots of sites about the matter. Here’s the beginning of a posting on Stephen Metcalfe’s blog (of 7/9/12) that exults in dressing left and  disparages those who dress right:

Dressing left and dressing right are terms that most men, at least those who wear suits, know.  It’s a term used by tailors when fitting suit pants.  To “dress left” means that one keeps one’s male appendage shifted in the general direction of the left trouser leg.  Likewise for the right.

According to medical researchers, most men should dress left.  This is basic biology,  The left testicle is lower than the right.  It was made to swing to the left.  Swinging right is uncomfortable.  Perhaps this is why right dressers are often in bad moods.

I dress left.  Way left.  Far left, filling the pant leg.  I have always dressed left.  I will always dress left.   It’s just the way it is.  I do not and cannot go right.  It defies logic.  It does not compute.  When I am with people who dress right, I feel like a member of the Star Ship Enterprise listening to Klingons without the help of a universal translator.

I feel that left dressers are open minded.

I feel that those whose appendages sway right are often – pardon the pun – rigid and dogmatic.

And on from there. Brain anatomy comes into it eventually.

It does appear that most men do dress left, and that this is tied to the fact that most men’s left testicle hangs lower than the right. But this isn’t universal. My right testicle is lower, and I’ve apparently always dressed right — well, at least since I first considered the issue. Maybe some men cross over, just from a habit they developed early in life. And men with “tight balls” don’t have one lower than the other, so they could easily hang either way.

And yes, it’s in OED2:

intr. Of a male: to allow the sexual organs to be on one side or the other of the fork of the trousers. [very carefully phrased]

1966   Guardian 18 Mar. 10/4   You..find an amusing piece by John Morgan on Carnaby Street—‘We are “dressing” in the middle this year, man,’ a pop singer explains.

1967   New Statesman 31 Mar. 450/2,   I detected some sag on the right-hand side of the trouser front and got the fitter to pin it back. ‘No no no!’ said Roy… ‘Mr. Silver dresses to the left.’ The fullness on the right was critical.

1969   Guardian 31 July 6/1   All those little male problems like dressing to the right or left.

One Response to “dress left/right”

  1. Dance belts | Arnold Zwicky's Blog Says:

    […] a comment on my “dress left/right” posting on Facebook, Mike McKinley asks for a posting on dance belts. (We seem to be in the Crotch Zone at […]

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