Bell bottoms. Flares. Elephant flares. All the older kids in the apartment complex wore them, as did so many of the dancers on American Bandstand and Soul Train. I wanted a pair, real bad, and I finally got a pair!
They were elephant flares, of a dark blue, light weight denim. They made the most satisfying thwap thwap sound when I walked, and they swayed magnificently when (figuratively) joining hands with the kids on Soul Train to form a “Love Train.”
I loved those “dancing pants,” they made me feel as cool as those kids on TV. I started asking for platforms and an afro. I was told no, and “don’t let your father hear you say that.”
I understood what my Mother meant – my Dad didn’t like blacks, and he wouldn’t dig my burgeoning Black Pride. But everything he’d say about them didn’t seem to apply to the black kids I knew from school. This marked the first time I knew my Dad was wrong about something, and my elephant flare dancing pants became a symbol for “Father Does Not Know Best.”
Watch a Soul Train line dance to "Love Train."