by Walker Hawkins
Yesterday, Rahul taught us about product placement throughout the ages. That’s because he’s in Wharton. I am too, but I’m not boring and I talk about cool stuff through the ages. Have you noticed that everyone these days seems to be popping their collars? If you haven’t, you’re probably reading this while wearing a pear of JNCOs. Anyways, what you might not know about this trend is that this is not the first time the collar pop has appeared in history. Actually, there are multiple times in history where the popped collar played an integral role in the culture of many ancient civilizations and the development of the world as a whole. Here is a brief Punch Bowl explanation of collar popping through history:
The popped collar first appeared around 440 B.C. in the city-state of Athens, the birth place of democracy, tragedy, and the pomegranate. During this time, it was very common for the wealthy to distinguish themselves by wearing collared togas (If this is hard to visualize, just think of anything Jennifer Lopez has worn to the Grammys; the neck is covered, but there are nipples everywhere) As for the popped collar, it was used much in the same way that the colors red and green are used at sorority parties today. A collar that was down meant that person had a girlfriend*, while a collar that was popped meant that person was single. Before the popped collar, it was impossible to tell who was available and who wasn’t. The popped collar allowed the Greeks to avoid that awkward “Oh sorry, but I have a boyfriend” conversation that we all know so well. (Note: the rich, scholarly men of Greece believed that women were inferior and, therefore, only other men could truly satisfy their intellectual and physical desires. Like most things invented by the Greeks, this is still true today.)
The Roman Empire:
After the fall of Ancient Greece during the Peloponnesian War, the popped collar seemed to disappear. However, it re-emerged around the time of Jesus Christ. At a time where Christianity was just beginning, Jesus had a very hard time discerning who was a true believer and who was not. Therefore, the popped collar was devised to allow true believers to be clearly distinguished. If you read the Gospels close enough, you are bound to come across a popped collar reference, such as: “And Jesus said, ‘Go to all your neighbors, telling them that the Lord has come. If they accept this truth, tell them to pop their collars so that everyone shall know that they are true believers. (Luke 34: 4-6). (Quick fact: Judas did not betray Jesus by kissing him on the check, but rather by popping Jesus’ collar).
The October/November Revolution (The Bolshevik Revolution):
After the fall of the Roman Empire in the mid-fifteenth century, the popped collar went on hiatus. Just like Blink-182, the popped collar decided to take a break, which if fine, but after a while, you just need some Blink, you know? I mean, I don’t know about you, but “What’s My Age Again?” is my anthem. Not to sound cliché or anything, but that album made me feel again; I used to put “Adam’s Song” on repeat and cut myself for hours…Anyways, the collar pop was resurrected during the Bolshevik Revolution of October/November of 1917. Although a definite minor point in Karl Marx’s Communist Manifesto, the popped collar was to be used as symbol of victory by the communists. After the government had been overthrown, all commies were to pop their collars in celebration. Just imagine Aaron Carter popping his collar and then multiply that by ten thousand; yeah, the Bolshevik Revolution was that sexy. Subsequently, all party officials were to have their collars popped at all times and failure to do so would result in immediate expulsion from the Politburo. Although this may seem a little harsh, it was always better to be expelled from the Politburo than to hear Lenin say those dreaded words, “Hey, I heard it’s really nice in Siberia this time of year!” (Fun Fact: Stalin did not actually delete Trotsky from pictures, but rather had his collar un-popped; not only was it less time consuming but also much more believable.)
Well, there you have it, a brief history of collar popping. Although it seems to have a much different meaning today, the popped collar has been around for centuries and will most likely reappear sometime in the future. At times it has been a symbol of resistance or a symbol of victory or, in the case of the Greeks, and indicator of who was up for some of the mouth sex. Whatever the reason, the popped collar is an incredibly interesting phenomenon and will continue to be so for as long as we live. Some historians even believe it dates back further than Ancient Greece; in Jerry Falwell’s translation of the Bible it states, “And on the seventh day, God sat back, relaxed, and popped his collar.” Either way, I just do it because girls love it and I just want some of that mouth sex.