Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Jeans and Fit

As an adult I have never bought, or worn, jeans. The last pair I ever bought were freshman year of High School, and only to satisfy my mother. I was soon disappointed to learn that my mother's satisfaction was connected to me wearing the jeans and not simply buying them. We compromised with a plan to wear them during laundry day. This work for her because I'd wearing jeans a few times a month, and I was happy because by being able to wash all of my other pants, I'd be able to go longer without doing laundry.

My others pants were primarily khakis, though I guess nowadays they're called chinos, or maybe there's a difference and I just can't tell. Sure I had a few corduroys, but even those were a beige color. In retrospect, this must have made me stick out like a sore thumb. I grew up in middle class Virginia were denim was king. My childhood town's economy was centered around a Wrangler jeans factory.

This whole anti-jean thing could to painted as my teenage punk phase, but that would be far more dramatic than the truth. I was a pretty mild-manner, responsible teen. I went to a private, Christian school, I took ballet. My only real experience with punks would have been through my father's record collection and though Patti Smith's legs are rarely visible on her album covers, The Ramones are prominently wearing jeans on all of their albums.

So if I was rejecting the style of pants that everyone, including punk rockers, were wearing what was I doing? They say that the clothes make the man, but what men wear khakis all the time: soldiers. And that didn't line up because during these early High School years I was becoming more and more of a pacifist.

The more I thought about my lack of jeans, and less it all made sense. If I couldn't figure out why I had started my khaki phase then why was I staying in my denimless rut? During Christmas break I went shopping with two old friends in order to find a pair of jeans.

After several hours of shopping, I returned home, jeanless. My mother pursed her lips in an unsatisfied manner and asked if I had found a pair that had fit. I explained to her that yes I, or rather, my friend Jeff, had found a pair of jeans that fit me. They were dark wash, straight leg, and very expensive. My mother brushed this last comment aside by asking again if they fit. Reluctantly, I assured her that they fit. Unreluctantly, she explained to me how when a fitting pair of jeans is found, one must buy them. That's how it works. Partially biting my tongue, I told my mother how though the pair of jeans fit me, jeans in general just don't seem to mesh well with me. I don't like how they look and I wasn't going to spend that much money on pants I wasn't going to wear, even if they fit. Plus, in the hat kiosk in front of the store they were selling some gray driver's caps that were cheaper than the jeans, and reminded me of a lawyer I use to know.