Bad news, boys: Your pants aren't being entirely honest with you. Abram Sauer came to this "devastating realization" while trying on size 36 pants in H&M, only to wonder why they were so tight. The answer? Vanity sizing, as it's called by pants manufacturers. H&M's size 36 pants were relatively honest—the waist actually measured 37 inches—but most other stores were very, very generous, with size 36s ranging from 38.5 inches (Calvin Klein) all the way to 41 inches (Old Navy).
"This isn't the subjective business of mediums, larges and extra-larges—nor is it the murky business of women's sizes, what with its black-hole size zero. This is science, damnit. Numbers!" Sauer writes in Esquire. Even worse, a recent study shows "men with larger waists were twice at risk of death compared with their smaller-waist peers. Yet, most men only know their waist size by their pants—so if those pants are up to five inches smaller than the reality, some men may be wrongly dismissing health dangers."