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Forever in Blue Jeans

Updated: Oct 1, 2022

My first pair of jeans were Toughskins from Sears.

My Calvin Klein, size none-of-your-business, “skinny” jeans were critically injured last week, when a hole formed on the inside of each leg. The cause of injury was excessive upper thigh abrasion.

These jeans have gotten me through the pandemic. They effortlessly stretched when I bent down to clean the dryer lint trap. They served as my apron while I baked a complicated cake for Christmas. I felt their warmth as I waited on a half-hour line at the Seafood Shop in Wainscott to buy the salmon I had ordered ahead.

I saw the holes coming. Week by week, the amount of fabric between my thighs decreased. The denim faded to white. Warp strings appeared as the weft wore away. The material became paper thin, like an expertly sliced piece of lox.

It seems my thighs have come between me and my Calvins.

Although the 2020 pandemic party invitation said “pants, optional,” I wore my blue jeans anyway. I could have bought the sweatpants that constantly come up on my Instagram feed – each pair advertised as softer than the pair before – but my Calvins are just as cozy.

They’re better than sweatpants because jeans have pockets. I can keep my phone in them and count my steps. That data is important. At the end of each day, I know exactly how many times my thighs have rubbed together to contribute to the destruction of my precious Calvins.

The cycle is vicious.

Why don’t all women’s clothing have pockets? Do we not have the same right as men to warm our hands or carry our keys on our person? Why are we shackled to our handbags? Finding a dress with pockets is like winning the football World Cup. It’s worthy of screaming, ripping off your shirt, and running laps around the Bloomingdales dress department, high-fiving the salespeople.

After we pass the Equal Rights Amendment, the next item on our agenda should be “pockets for everyone.”

And why did it take a global pandemic for us to realize that we want to wear comfortable clothes all the time? This could be a huge leap for humankind.

Have you ever noticed how at ease people in futuristic movies look? In Star Trek, they travel at warp speed, have food replicators, and inter-planetary cooperation. They probably couldn’t have made those technical and societal advancements if their uniforms weren’t pajamas. Their comfort enabled them to solve the big problems.

Think how far we as a society could evolve, if all our clothing had a 1000 thread count.

My history with denim isn’t notable. My mother didn’t let me wear dungarees, except for my Sears Toughskin after school play clothes. The dress code in high school was no denim. I once had a pair of designer Guess jeans, size 2. The kind you have to lie on the bed to zip.

Then my Russian peasant genes took over and my body morphed into something more suitable for surviving famine in the Steppes. My thighs became an emergency pantry, in case the Czarina cut our food supply.

It took the addition of Lycra to get blue jeans back on my borscht belt body.

Any woman will tell you buying jeans is fraught. It’s humiliating, like shopping for bathing suits, yet requires a PhD in denim fabrication. We have to consider waist height – high-rise, mid-rise. low-rise, mile-high or ribcage high. There’s the length and hem. Do you want long, short, cropped, capri? Destroyed hem or regular hem?

The fit can be skinny, curvy, curvy skinny, super stretch, flex, boyfriend, straight leg, boot cut, or wedgie. That’s right – Levi’s has wedgie jeans: Jeans that replicate the sensation of being bullied in middle school.

This column isn’t long enough to get into denim price points, brands or colors. There are hundreds of shades of blue. Macys’ website sells over two thousand styles of women’s jeans. The fact that I owned jeans I wanted to wear every day of a pandemic is a miracle. I can’t face shopping for another pair.

I have to fix the Calvins.

Iron-on patches have come a long way since my mom repaired the holey knees in my brother’s school trousers. The fabric is thinner, and it has a little Lycra in it to allow for movement.

I bought a pack of 20 patches with four different hues of indigo from Amazon.

This presumes I know how to iron, which is barely true. I don’t iron. I’m lucky enough to have a housekeeper who does, and before I hired her, I sent my wrinkly stuff out to the dry cleaner. Expensive, I know, but some things are better left to the professionals. I also don’t cut my hair, repair my car, or perform my gynecological exams.

Operation Repair Calvins went as well as I thought it would. When I do housework, I’m like a slapsticky sitcom. I couldn’t get the ironing board to stand and had to rest it on the Christmas ornaments bin we haven’t put away. I couldn’t figure out how to turn the iron on and had to download the Rowenta instruction guide. Do you see why I farm things out to the pros?

No matter, the patches have been applied. Operation Repair Calvins was a success.

I’m so happy, I’m going to put away those Christmas bins right now. After that, I’ll tackle inter-planetary cooperation. And I’ll do it comfortably.

Published in The East Hampton Star on January 28, 2021.

Photo by engin akyurton Unsplash.

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