Crystal Clear Strategy

DATELINE MIRTHOLOGY — “All it takes is patience, Ben. When you’re right, sooner or later the world sees things your way,” Crystal Britches said of Fayetteville.

I set up an interview to hear what she thought of the football stadium’s new clear bag rule.

We were sitting on the steps of the Walton Arts Center, just renovated after 25 years of hard culture. We’d walked our lunches over from food trucks. I wondered how she’d keep from marring her usual transparent plastic pants on the white concrete then saw she was sitting on a scarf.

She spotted my glance.

“You know it’s to keep the slacks from abrasion, not cush’ for my tush, honey,” the elder stateswoman of progressive locals said. “I’m never out of shape. I spend 15 minutes at the barre in my den every morning, then of course yoga and meditate.”

Illustration of bags permitted at University of Arkansas football games
“Each ticketed fan is permitted to bring in only one clear bag and/or a small clutch purse. Fans are encouraged to arrive early, know which items are prohibited and avoid bringing a bag, if at all possible.”
University of Arkansas NewsWire

On Aug. 4, the University of Arkansas announced in the “Clear Bags Offer Razorback Fans New Game Day Flexibility” news release that conventional sacks, purses, packs and the like would be banned from Reynolds Razorback Stadium allowing only see-through bags and not too large at that. This flexibility begins with this coming football season.

Crystal is a former ballroom dancing champion, from eons before the TV contests, which she mocks. Indeed her legs are her finest physical attribute. We began to bond, in an eccentric aunty to gentleman way, upon my reporting on her in the aughts. I had told her my mother felt the same way, proud of her gams into her 80s. Mom did dress far more traditionally, after all she was a Fort Smith girl.

This wasn’t exhibitionism on the part of Crystal Britches. She still expected and got admiring looks — from all ages and several preferences — when she strolled through the Farmers Market on the Fayetteville Square on most Saturday mornings. But she held on to the decades-old theory of humidity improving skin tone and overall health.

How’s that? Think steam baths.

She figured out how she could live in steam for hours with plastic jackets and slacks. I’ve been covering her since 2008 in the Chronicles of Crystal Britches.

Kmart's Stansport Men's Vinyl Rainsuit with Hood, Clear
Stansport Men’s Vinyl Rainsuit with Hood, Clear, from Kmart.com

She buys clear vinyl rain suits in bulk, online now (not one to buy local only, she checks China’s Alibaba.com first). The sets remain a discount store staple. A good thing because the plastic clothes don’t wear well.

No hedonist, she wears clothes under the sheeting — colorful cotton T shirts above and beige duck cargo shorts below, nearly year-round.

“Razorback fans ought to be fine with gallon freezer bags to carry what doesn’t fit in their pockets,” Crystal said. “Weapons, legally concealed or otherwise, still will be banned from campus athletic events, but allowed elsewhere on campus under the new state law.”

“They still allow one discrete pouch, the size of a sunglasses case,” I said.

“Yep, fans will have to first walk back to their vehicles after their tailgate parties to put their guns back under the seat or the glove box,” she said. “I have my own take on the Benjamin Franklin quote:

Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”

“I’ll take my liberties right along with my safety,” said the Ozark latter-day Mae West.

“This ‘flexibility’ they emphasize took me a while to figure out. It’s the different between a full bag ban and rolling coolers in. Looking ahead, do you have advice for Stage 2 of the Razorback Stadium plan?” I asked.

It only stands to reason in this erosion of everyday convenience for the sake of theoretical threats that the UA continues to implement the Southeastern Conference Bag Policy with a ban on opaque outerwear starting with the 2018 football season. Mesh fabrics, however, will be allowed for breathability for those hot early games and predictably fishnet for the Halloween week game..

“Honey, I am looking forward to it,” Crystal Britches said. In my 70-plus years I’ve found that the most conservative people wear the most interesting underwear.”

Photo of MOTO Clear Plastic Straight Leg Jeans
MOTO Clear Plastic Straight Leg Jeans from TopShop.com

She laughed and pulled out her cell phone from her large and, yes, opaque purse.

“The fashion world is already on this — invisible jeans for $100. I’ve just ordered a pair,” she said. “I’m not waiting a year. I’ll wear these for the Sept. 9 game against TCU.”

The article she showed me ran in April in Business Insider, “Topshop Now Sells Clear Plastic Jeans — and No One Knows What to Wear Them With.”

The store’s description reads:

Think outside the box with these out-of-the-ordinary clear plastic jeans — guaranteed to get people talking. In a straight leg cut, they feature classic pockets detailing and are cropped at the ankle bone. Ideal as a statement piece for a festival or costume party, take the look to the extreme with a bikini and sequin jacket or dress down, layered under an oversized jumper or asymmetric hem dress. 100% Polyurethane. WIPE CLEAN ONLY.”

The picture confused me. “Won’t those be too tight for your cargo shorts?” I asked of my friend, whose frizzy silver hair flowed softly to her shoulders.

“Darlin’, come fall Victoria’s Secret won’t be.”

©2017 Ben S. Pollock Jr.

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