American Icons: Yoga Pants Inventor Ryan McLatchy
I remember the first time I saw them like I’m still in the moment as I type this. So vivid. So amazing. It was my freshman year of high school. It was November. A Wednesday. My buddy and I stayed after school to throw some weights around in preparation for baseball season, really just hoping our coach would pop his head into the weight room and spot us mid-lift, earning us some pre-season dedication points. After a half-assed, beach muscle, leg and core-neglecting gym session, we headed to the locker room to change clothes, grab our backpacks and head home. On the way out my buddy asked me a question that would forever change my little 25-curious-boners-a-day adolescent life. “Hey, my sister has a volleyball game starting in the main gym in about five minutes. You want to watch a little bit of it?” I’m thinking, “Volleyball? A chick sport? I have better things to do, pal.” Then I remembered a key element to this equation: his sister Tiffany, who we referred to as “Stiffany” when he wasn’t around, due to one of the greatest sets of Christmas hams my virgin eyes had laid eyes upon, played volleyball. She was a senior, and she was physically peaking.
“You know what? Fuck it. I’m in. Got nothin’ better to do.”
We walked into the near empty gymnasium and took our seats. I was enthused. Not overly-excited, just moderately enthused at what could potentially occur on this blank, sexually-yearning canvas of a volleyball court. Visions of bouncing chest hammers, sweat tussles and naked post-game towel whip fights danced through my head at 100 mph, but I remained cautious, trying not to get my hopes up. Then the girls took the court to the rousing applause of all 18 people in attendance. Part of it was probably the painfully lackadaisical environment of a girls’ high school athletic display, but in that instant, trancelike tunnel vision set in as my eyes fixated on one of the greatest goddamn innovations man has ever created. I’d seen spandex before, but never in this form. There was 16 to 18-year-old volleyball tail scattered around, seemingly nude from the waist down with painted on royal blue shorts. It was beautiful. And there were 30 of them. I don’t even know if Stiffany and her Hindenburgs were present that day. In fact, I doubt I could have identified a single girl on the court, as my line of sight never drifted north of the navel region. Wide-eyed and slack-jawed, I nudged my friend and pointed while failing to muster a single word, just a muttering mess of nonsense.
“I know, man…I know,” he responded.
I had never felt so heterosexual. I didn’t even know it was possible to be as heterosexual as I was in that moment. I came for a couple hams, but I left with a shopping cart full of USDA prime beef and a million page mental flip book etched into my sexually corrupt mind. I became an ass man that day. A proud one.
Then there’s Ryan McLatchy. He took this athletics-only stretchy material, applied some American ingenuity and turned them into socially appropriate, and oh so sexy, pants. Something I found interesting about McLatchy is there is very little information about him available to the public. He’s like a ghost. It’s as if he dutifully laid this incredible gift at the doorstep of the hetero male, then crept off into a lifelong slumber of anonymity. He gets it, though. He realizes the good he’s done by pioneering these female figure embracing super pants. McLatchy is a simple man. He doesn’t need the recognition. A better man than me or you. If I was able to hang my hat on my “American Icon: Yoga Pants Inventor” trophy, I’d pair it with a closet full of the same tee shirt. I’d wear it every day, and it would say, “FUCK YOU I INVENTED YOGA PANTS” in enormous block letters.
Step out of the shadows and claim your American Icon trophy, Mr. McLatchy. There is a line of about three and a half billion hombres ready to shake your hand and buy you a beer.
The true genius of the yoga pant lies in its equal appeal to both men and women. Men want to see them on women, and women want to see them on themselves. Men like their propensity to show the true unencumbered form of her lower half. Women like their comfort and their supportive pull-everything-in-tight effect. They feel good because they look good. It’s a win-win.
Great Moments in Yoga Pants History
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