Flash-forward 10+ years to last Friday. I met a friend of a friend at a happy hour, and he was wearing a suit, and green cotton socks. My friend and I were pointing out the folly of this, and I said, "There's nothing wrong with those socks, but you should wear them with sweatpants, not a suit." He said, "If you wear sweatpants, you've given up on life."
OMFG! My entire ill-fated college relationship flashed before my eyes. If more than one person held this view, was it possible my X was RIGHT? I do not currently own any sweatpants--they have been replaced by flannel PJs with Ralph Wiggum on them--but the thought still haunts.
Luckily, my friend J is much smarter than me, and when I told her this story she immediately said that they must both have gotten it from the same source. "It was probably a Seinfeld line or something," were her words. A quick Google showed she was exactly correct: in the pilot of Seinfeld, George wears sweatpants, and Jerry says:
You know the message you're sending out to the world with these sweatpants? You're telling the world, "I give up. I can't compete in normal society. I'm miserable, so I might as well be comfortable."
So not only are my ex and this other dude both just repeating a very old line that they probably don't even know is a line, but the sweatpants thing is referring specifically to wearing sweatpants outside the house. It's totally irrelevant to my life. I feel pretty awesome about this.