Sexy Ape Trousers


I will be referring to the pants company under discussion today as Sexy Ape Trousers (SAT) because I'm not sure I want them coming by Thutopia as they did the last time I talked about them. (Read that post and its comments for context.) For the same reasons, I will not be linking to them today. (But links are available where you just clicked and read.)

sexy ape trousers

When I wrote that post I thought the whole Band of Brothers "application essay" thing was rather silly, but it was not until Moriah noted that SAT seemed to be saying "Prove to us you are WORTHY to wear Sexy Ape Trousers since you obviously aren't wealthy enough to do so." --- which she then hashed as #brandidentityFAIL --- that I realized this was exactly it: They want me to grovel.

And so even though Ninja Marshall wrote to allay my concerns, I never did write them for the discount. Here's his comment in full (in case you didn't read it at the link above):

    I'm really glad to to see such a robust discussion here. Let me explain the "Band of Brothers" program a little more.
    There is NO essaying! We ask guys with careers in public service to write to us and let us know of their interest in the program and our brand, and then we offer them a very large discount (such that we do not make money on those purchases).
    We don't do this to pat ourselves on the back. We do it to express gratitude. Our CEO is the son of an immigrant and a schoolteacher. My mother worked nights as a nurse my entire childhood. We have all of us benefited from public service, and we want to give back in the way we're most able: through our company.
    Our pants cost a lot because they are manufactured here in America from the best imported fabrics, not because we're padding out wallets. Trust me, we're running a lean team here!
    I will gladly answer any questions about our company, our policies, and/or our products--just email me at ninjas@sexyapetrousers.com.
This all happened, if you are good at math, 571 days ago. Thursday night (567 days ago), I suddenly felt inspired to shoot them an email, using the submission form on their website.

(I should mention here that although I lose my lunch at the thought of spending over a hundred bucks on a pair of pants, the idea of pants that actually fit me properly is quite attractive. Plus, SAT has corduroys in freaking awesome colors (see images above).

Before I sent the email I did at least look to see if I could find out just how much the Band of Brothers discount is. I found this guy who thinks that "Prices aren’t bad either (most are between $110 and $130), but what I thought was the most amazing thing was the Band of Brothers discount they gave me for working the field of non-profit/human service." (Holy belly but I clearly need to get me some of that nonprofit action where $130 for pants ain't bad.) Another guy said the BofB price is 50% list which, though a lot, would probably worth it if they're as great as claimed.

Anyway, this is the note I sent them:

    I am a teacher and I am interested in a nice pair of pants for a change. Please --- tell me more!
This is the reply I received Friday morning:

    Just write up a brief application about who you are, what you teach, maybe why you got into it and we'll let you know!
I dunno, man. That sure sounds like the application essay Marshall said I wouldn't have to write. I suppose you have to filter out all the cheap hipsters who want to take advantage of you, but what the hey? You'll let me know if why I teach is a good enough reason to warrant sixty bucks off your orange pants? I have a hard time not agreeing with Moriah at this point: Since I'm not rich enough to afford Sexy Ape Trousers, I must make my supplication and pray that you will judge my public-servant worthiness sufficient and then, by thy grace alone, perhaps I'll get a checkout coupon?

#brandidentityFAIL indeed.

Look. I appreciate what your company is trying to be with the quality and the fit and the sewn-in-USA stuff and everything. And I appreciate the gesture to me as a teacher --- I really do --- but your phrasing implies something else. For all the talk about how mom was a teacher, writing "To determine if you are eligible for a Bonobos Band of Brothers discount, write us explaining who you are, what you do, and why you believe you qualify" suggests something less friendly than lordly. We are lowly pilgrims and you are the petulant god whose ways are mysterious and unknowable. Yes, you say that you "aim to accept all applications," but why must your phrasing make me feel like I'm about to rub my face in the dirt?



I really want a pair of orange corduroy pants. That fit nice.

And no doubt my hyperconsciousness of rhetoric is making me see things not intended by the Sexy Ape ninjas.

But still. It just makes me feel a little cheap.


  1. Just write up a brief application about who you are, what you teach, maybe why you got into it and we'll let you know!



  2. I absolutely think that you should write them. I think they're absolutely trying to skim out the jokers.

    And as a head of a customer service department, I can tell you that my customer service ninja skills aren't always strong.

    Could be that the ninja at SAT simply didn't phrase it because that day his ninja-fu wasn't up to snuff.

  3. If the application was to state why THEY should pay TH to wear their pants, then it'd be different.

    In this case, they're asking you to justify why you should get a discount--in other words, they're asking you to justify why you should give them your money.


    And now I'm dropping F-bombs in my head, so I'll bow out of the conversation.

  4. Moriah - I can see why you would take that sentiment from the words on the page. It could absolutely be construed that way, but judging by the initial response by the SAT team, I think that it's more likely that they're just trying to weed out the riffraff, of which Sir Theric is certainly not part.

  5. It's not about the email. It's about the supplication-to-get-in-our-pants program itself.

    I guess my point is, why does Th--anybody--need to prove he's worthy to receive a DISCOUNT?

    Either discount the pants or don't, but making a big production out of buying something (online yet!) is about six kinds of wrong. (Well, you know, not EVIL or SINFUL wrong. Just socially questionable and possibly DSM-IV categorically wrong.)

  6. .

    As I'm currently in this middle of this article, that joke made me elOHel.

  7. I'm with Daniel on this one. They're just trying to be nice to some people that are doing something they value. It's not like they're trying to make a profit off of you explaining what you do. And being mad about them wanting to be sure that they're NOT MAKING PROFIT for a good cause seems rather silly to me. And being mad about them making profit seems rather silly to me too since if they didn't make a profit, they would have to shut down the company and sell NO super awesome pants to anyone.

  8. .

    I'm not "mad"; I'm just not impressed with their rhetorical style.