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A World of Variety in Plain Old Denim
I had to buy some new jeans the other day, which was traumatic in more ways than one.
Perhaps it’s a symptom of the complex world in which we live. Maybe it’s a reflection of the ever-changing nature of our human population. Or possibly people in the jeans industry simply don’t have enough to do. At any rate, jeans-buying has become very confusing.
First you have to figure out which brand to buy. In my youth, the answer was simple: Levis. They were the gold standard of jeans. All the cool kids wore Levis.
There were other brands, of course, chiefly Wrangler and Lee, and then there were the store brands. In the status-conscious world of the playground, store-brand jeans were the mark of the true doofus. Woe to the kid who came to school in a stiff new pair of store-brand jeans. At recess, he’d be left standing at the doorway. Of course, that might also have been because the jeans weren’t broken in yet and he couldn’t move his legs.
Anyway, it’s different now. These days, you have to sort through a bewildering array from a variety of manufacturers, ranging from people who have always been in the jeans business to people who make jeans as a sideline to making tuxedos to people who make jeans as a sideline to making hot air balloons. And you don’t have the Playground Fashion Guidelines to help you.
Then you have to choose what kind of jeans to get. Traditional cut? Skinny cut? Loose cut? Big Butt cut? High waist? Low waist? Fred Mertz waist?
(For those who don’t know, the Freds are the ones that you pull up to your armpits.)
Like I said, confusing. And traumatic if you’re me, and you have a bad association going back to a jeans-buying expedition of your kidhood when you Mom marched you up to the saleslady in the boys’ department, pointed to the selection of non-Levis, and said “He needs something in a size 6. Husky.”
Husky. The size for fat boys. The way my fat-phobic mother said it, “Husky” sounded criminal. She might just as well have asked for a size 6, Ax Murderer. It was so embarrassing I didn’t want to take home the balloon offered with every purchase.
I might also point out that these words were coming from the same mother who insisted we eat everything on our plates at dinner. Go figure.
Anyway, that’s where the jeans trauma comes in, or part of it anyway. I start looking for jeans and my brain just sort of locks up knowing that no matter how I am going to do it, in the store or online, I am going to be presented with about 246 jeans possibilities, none of which will be completely right for me. I end up making my jeans selection by employing the time honored Eeenie-Meenie-Miney-Mo method. And then I wind up with a pair of uncomfortable pants, pinching and binding and trying to strangle me, which is another kind of trauma altogether.
Which gets me to the most traumatic part of the whole jeans-buying process I went though the other day. Jeans, that most utilitarian of clothing, have gotten ridiculously spendy, especially the ones I chose: The Under-The-Gut cut.
And I didn’t even get a balloon.
© 2011 Mike Redmond. All Rights Reserved.
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