On August 9, 1964, President Lyndon Baines Johnson decided that he needed some new pants, so he got on the horn and called the Haggar Clothing Co. based in Dallas, Texas, and ordered himself up a new set, along with some shirts and jackets. That call has become something of a classic among presidential archive fans, for entirely obvious reasons: in his colorful, home-spun style, Johnson uses vivid language in describing “the crotch, down where your nuts hang” as well as describing an area we would today call “the taint”: “where the zipper ends, round under my ... back to my bunghole.” (Hilariously, LBJ belches right in the middle of that last description.)
Johnson lets on that his weight varies by “10 or 15 pounds a month”; add in the fact that Johnson nicknamed his penis “Jumbo” and it’s quite clear that the man needed a fair amount of space down there, lest the pants “cut” him “just like riding a wire fence.” Ouch. Any guy who has worn pants that are a bit too tight can relate.
Here’s a full transcript, from American RadioWorks:
Operator: Go ahead sir
LBJ: Mr. Haggar?
JH: Yes this is Joe Haggar
LBJ: Joe, is your father the one that makes clothes?
JH: Yes sir—we’re all together
LBJ: Uh huh. You all made me some real lightweight slacks, uh, that he just made up on his own and sent to me 3 or 4 months ago. There’s a light brown and a light green, a rather soft green, a soft brown.
JH: Yes sir
LBJ: and they’re real lightweight now and I need about six pairs for summer wear.
JH: yes sir
LBJ: I want a couple, maybe three of the light brown kind of a almost powder color like a powder on a ladies face. Then they were some green and some light pair, if you had a blue in that or a black, then I’d have one blue and one black. I need about six pairs to wear around in the evening when I come in from work
JH: yes sir
LBJ: I need…they’re about a half a inch too tight in the waist.
JH: Do you recall sir the exact size, I just want to make sure we get them right for you
LBJ: No, I don’t know—you all just guessed at ‘em I think, some—wouldn’t you the measurement there?
JH: we can find it for you
LBJ: well I can send you a pair. I want them half a inch larger in the waist than they were before except I want two or three inches of stuff left back in there so I can take them up. I vary ten or 15 pounds a month.
JH: alright sir
LBJ: So leave me at least two and a half, three inches in the back where I can let them out or take them up. And make these a half an inch bigger in the waist. And make the pockets at least an inch longer, my money, my knife, everything falls out—wait just a minute.
Operator: Would you hold on a minute please?
[conversation on hold for two minutes]
LBJ: Now the pockets, when you sit down, everything falls out, your money, your knife, everything, so I need at least another inch in the pockets. And another thing—the crotch, down where your nuts hang—is always a little too tight, so when you make them up, give me an inch that I can let out there, uh because they cut me, it’s just like riding a wire fence. These are almost, these are the best I’ve had anywhere in the United States,
LBJ: But, uh when I gain a little weight they cut me under there. So, leave me , you never do have much of margin there. See if you can’t leave me an inch from where the zipper (burps) ends, round, under my, back to my bunghole, so I can let it out there if I need to.
LBJ: Now be sure you have the best zippers in them. These are good that I have. If you get those to me I would sure be grateful
JH: Fine, Now where would you like them sent please?
LBJ: White House.
LBJ: Now, uh, I don’t guess there is any chance of getting a very lightweight shirt, sport shirt to go with that slack, is there? That same color?
JH: We don’t make them, but we can have them made up for you.
LBJ: If you might look around, I wear about a 17, extra long.
JH: Would you like in the same fabric?
LBJ: Yeah I sure would, I don’t know whether that’s too heavy for a shirt.
JH: I think it’d be too heavy for a shirt.
LBJ: I sure want the lightest I can, in the same color or matching it. If you don’t mind, find me somebody up there who makes good shirts and make a shirt to match each one of them and if they’re good, we’ll order some more.
LBJ: I just sure will appreciate this, I need it more than anything. And uh, now that’s a..about it. I guess I could get a jacket made outta that if I wanted to, couldn’t I?
JH: I think that—didn’t Sam Haggar have some jackets made?
LBJ: Yeah you sent me some jackets some earlier, but they were way too short. They hit me about halfway down my belly. I have a much longer waist. But I thought if they had material like that and somebody could make me a jacket, I’d sent them a sample to copy from.
JH: Well I tell you what, you send us this, we’ll find someone to make it
JH: We’ll supply the material to match it
LBJ: Ok, I’ll do that. Uh now, how do I—can you give this boy the address because I’m running to a funeral and give this boy the address to where we can send the trousers—don’t worry, you’ll get the measurements out of them and add a half an inch to the back and an give us couple of an inch to the pockets and a inch underneath to we can let them out.
JH: What you ‘d like is a little more stride in the crotch
LBJ: Yeah that’s right. What I’d like is to give me a half a inch more then leave me some more. Ok here he is.
JH: Thank you, I’m glad you enjoyed the others
Here’s a cute animation of the call by Tawd Dorenfeld for Jesse Thorn’s Put This On: