Ain’t I A Pair?

So the time has finally come for me to buy some new jeans. This is something I’ve been putting off for some time, maybe because I was expecting the trend of ripped jeans that was so big in the ‘80’s to come back into style, although even back then I was never exactly fashionable. In fact when the jeans I wore every day to high school finally did rip at the knees, which didn’t take long because that was also the era of the stonewashed look which was brutal on fabric, I decided to look hip by sewing up the holes with bright green thread and I started an exciting new fashion trend that absolutely no one else picked up. And if I really wanted to be fashionable I’d probably stop wearing jeans and treating every day at work like it’s casual day, but I’ve never been comfortable in slacks, only in denim, really, even though the name sounds like it’s supposed to suggest comfort as well as a certain panache, a je ne sais quoi, a joi de vivre, a sacre bleu, a passe le moutard, a serge de Nîmes, mais c’est une autre histoire. I used to work with a guy who wore shorts all the time, no matter what the weather was like. The temperature could dip well into the negatives and he’d come in wearing a heavy coat but basically bare from his knees to his ankles. He explained that he only felt comfortable in shorts and even though I wasn’t exactly the same way I felt we were sartorially related. We both shared the principle that comfort matters because you don’t look good if you don’t feel good, clothes make the man, clothing is the suit of armor in which we battle the world, a stitch in time is a physics problem, you can’t make a sow’s ear out of a wolf in sheep’s clothing but you can pick your friends and you can have your cake and, as my grandmother used to say, that bright green thread will never be seen from a trotting horse. I also have a pair of black jeans I wear on more formal occasions, and even a pair of beige jeans which may not be slacks but who’s going to look closely enough to know the difference ?
And I hate to throw away a pair of jeans. It just seems environmentally irresponsible, although denim is cotton so it’s biodegradable. At least some of my shirts have the possibility of a second life. A friend told me that when it was time to retire one of my paisley shirts she wanted to use it in a quilt, and just the thought makes me feel warm. Certain items of clothing just stick with me, and I also know it’s time to wash them when they start sticking to me, but that’s another story. Every time I get rid of an old pair of jeans I feel there should be a certain ceremony, a time to say, goodbye, mon frere et pair, you served the lower half of my body well.
Actually I’m really just stalling, or rather avoiding the stall—which is what the changing room in stores should really be called. I know it’s possible to buy clothing online but I still prefer to do it the old fashioned way, pulling things off a rack and trying them on, because my body changes and what fit me a year ago won’t necessarily fit me now, at least when it comes to the waistline. I’m not getting any taller or shorter, although it’s frustrating to me that I’m below average height and that makes it difficult to find any pants that don’t go down below my feet. I also get unnerved in changing rooms because I always worry the mirror is two-way and while I doubt anyone would want to watch me what if they are? I know it’s not really going to be that bad and that I shouldn’t get so worked up, but worrying this much isn’t something I can just overcome. It’s part of me, it’s who I am. It’s in my jeans.

24 Comments

  1. Kristine Laco

    I didn’t see the end coming but when I got there it all made sense. Good luck on the search for the perfect pair and pass the mustard (grade 10 French don’t fail me now).

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      I thought as a Canadian you were inherently fluent in French. Also you should never see the end coming, only going.

      Reply
  2. BarbaraM

    https://emailmg.ipage.com/roundcube/?_task=mail&_action=get&_mbox=INBOX&_uid=203185&_token=Pbr6xo39ZHWtpsrVQwlv5Ja7zCkMp47r&_part=2.2

    I don’t know if this will work, but from a different perspective, I give you the best Levi’s ad ever (or so I’m told).

    Reply
    1. SkyeEnt

      Needed a password – was it this one? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wT4DR_ae_4o

      Reply
      1. BarbaraM

        No, it was the one where the cutie used his jeans to tie a car to his bumper, took the girl and then released the boyfriends car from his bumper.

        Reply
        1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

          So not this one then:

          Reply
          1. BarbaraM

            No, not that one either. I don’t understand why you can’t open it…it opens immediately when I click it. https://emailmg.ipage.com/roundcube/?_task=mail&_action=get&_mbox=INBOX&_uid=203185&_token=Pbr6xo39ZHWtpsrVQwlv5Ja7zCkMp47r&_part=2.2

            Reply
            1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

              Well, go figure, I’m still being prompted to log in. Clearly the world’s greatest jeans commercial must remain a closely guarded secret. That’s a new trick with advertising: don’t let anybody see it. It’s how they generate interest.

              Reply
      2. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

        I hope that’s the one because that’s a great ad for jeans. I was half expecting the guy to turn out to be Elvis.

        Reply
    2. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      It didn’t work, but if the ad provided below is the right one then, yeah, that is a pretty great ad–although I never could get into button-fly jeans. Or out of them, which is why I’ll stick with a zipper, as long as the zipper doesn’t get stuck.

      Reply
  3. Red

    Two thoughts:
    First, you can always test the mirrors. Touch the mirror with the tip of your fingernail. There should be an empty space between your nail and its reflection if it’s a normal mirror. (The reflective surface is painted to the back side of the glass.) If your nail looks like it’s touching its reflection, GET OUT OF THERE!

    Also, like you, in high school I did my own thing with my jeans. I doodled all over them in permanent marker. After laundering, I’d re-doodle over the faded ink, the exact same thing. I was dedicated.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Funny enough the place where I finally went to pick up some new jeans the changing rooms were in a cube in the center of the shopping area, so there was no way anyone could be behind the mirrors.
      And doodling on jeans seems like a really cool idea. I was never that artistic, but the important thing is personalization. We are, after all, all individuals.

      Reply
  4. Ann Koplow

    Ain’t we a pair, Chris? I related to almost everything you wrote here, except for the bright green thread, because I didn’t have the je ne sai quoi to sew (or to take French, for that matter). Thanks for the comfort of your jean-ial blog.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      I really cotton onto what you’re saying here and I’m sure there’s a denim pun, but I can’t seem to think what it could be so I’ll just zip it. I always imagine your sartorial style to be above the mundane denim anyway.

      Reply
      1. Ann Koplow

        Denim is sometimes part of my style, Chris. Somebody at work recently gave me a denim vest she had made and no longer wore because I denim-strated wearing a blue jean skirt and jacket one day. And, my first car was an AMC gremlin with a Levi denim interior.

        Reply
        1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

          An AMC Gremlin with a Levi denim interior sounds like the greatest car ever. I’ve only known one other person who drove a Gremlin. She named it “Fritz” because it was always on the…anyway it was worth it just for the fun of driving it. Like denim it’s all about what you feel comfortable in.

          Reply
  5. mydangblog

    I love jeans. I probably have about 20 pairs, only ten of which currently fit, but I can’t seem to let them go. People call jeans and a jean jacket the “Canadian tuxedo” so I guess it’s in MY “jeans” too!

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      “Canadian tuxedo” is a phrase I’m going to have to remember. I used to have a jean jacket back in the ’80’s, back when I was stitching up my jeans with bright green thread, but, funny enough, I also had an old tuxedo jacket I’d usually wear with my jeans. Yes, I had a weird sense of fashion.

      Reply
  6. Bryce Warden

    I love how you go off in different directions while maintaining a consistent theme. For some reason I had a visual flashback of the Grey Poupon commercial from the late 80s when you went on the French rant. Brains are weird.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Brains are so weird–someone just described the brain as “a mass of soggy bacon” to me–and I think we all go off in different directions. We all just need to learn how to enjoy it.

      Reply
  7. SkyeEnt

    If he only wears shorts he’ll never wear out the knees…There seems to be a fashion lately for jeans that have worn just down the front and then been re-woven in a ladder. (Did ripped jeans go out of fashion? oops!)

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Ripped jeans were in fashion and then went out of fashion and now seem to have come back, although I don’t know enough about fashion to be a reliable judge of what’s in and what’s out right now. Since you mention shorts, though, that reminds me of a guy I worked with who only wore shorts no matter the weather. In the summer it was understandable. In the depths of winter it was quite disturbing.

      Reply
  8. theenglishprofessoratlarge

    Classy last line!

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Like David Bowie I always try to end on a high note.

      Reply

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