It all started when I was in my second year of law school and my wife and kids went to visit her parents for a few weeks and we decided to save a little money by subletting our house and having me sleep on the couch in the basement apartment of our friend Justin, who happens to be gay.

Justin and I were good friends, so I thought it would be fun to be temporary roommates. But I didn’t realize how completely unacceptable my daily fashion choices would be.

Every morning before I’d head out the door to class, I’d get at least a disapproving look, if not an outright lecture. Sometimes it was my choosing the wrong fabric or color for the current season; other times the color scheme I had chosen “just didn’t work.” I began to dread the scrutiny. On days when I had escaped in the morning while he was still asleep, I’d rush to get home before he did because I just knew he would not approve of what I’d worn that day. Once he caught me frantically changing clothes, and just disapprovingly shook his head in disappointment.

Finally, he decided to take matters into his own hands. He presented me a pair of capri pants (a.k.a., “spants”). “No way,” I protested. “I’m not wearing those. Aren’t they, like, totally, well, you know, gay?” He pled with me to at least try them on. I finally relented. “You look totally hot,” he assured me. He then gave me a somewhat tight-fitting t-shirt that read “Left Coast” on the front. “You’ve got to wear this with them,” he insisted. Left Coast? I was skeptical. “It doesn’t mean you’re gay,” he assured me. (Not that anything is wrong with that.)

One thing led to another, and next thing I knew, he had persuaded me to wear the “ensemble” to school. As I walked into class the next day, a fellow classmate, who happens to be gay, approached me and exclaimed of the capris, “Glad I’m not the only one who’s going to be wearing those this summer!” He then examined my t-shirt. “‘Left Coast.’ Right on.” He stepped back to give me the once-over and then asked, “Who dressed you this morning?” “Uh, my, um, gay roommate,” I stammered. That clearly didn’t come out right. I fumbled for an explanation. “Well, you know, my wife and kids are out of town for a few weeks, so I’m just, you know, living with this friend…” An adequate explanation eluded me.

Others were not nearly as enthused. “You trying to bring back the pirate look?” another classmate questioned sarcastically. Some just whispered to each other, pointing in my direction. Isn’t that guy Mormon? Is he also gay? Is there such thing as a gay Mormon? As the mockery continued throughout the day, my self-consciousness turned to indignation. Hath not a capri-wearing man eyes? Hath not a capri man senses, affections, passions? If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh?

As I trudged home at the end of the day, a light breeze cooling my half-exposed calves, I reflected on the intolerance and mockery I had suffered for the sake of my pants. Sure, it was unpleasant. But, you know, I’d willingly endure such scorning a thousand times if it meant that my children might see the day when men are judged by the quality of their character and not the length of their pants (shorts?).

My experience raises a number of important questions. Are capris long shorts or short pants? Is the wearing of capris a reliable indicator of sexual orientation? If so, how is the wearing of capris to be treated under BYU’s revisions to its Honor Code? Are capri pants properly classified as the “fine apparel” we are warned about in the scriptures?