Today, like millions of other Americans, I’m wearing my jeans. Unfortunately for me, unlike the rest of the country, my jeans apparently suck.
Kish, Russell, and Richard are unanimous: my one pair of jeans should be thrown out immediately, if not doused in pitch, placed on a funeral pyre, and lit on fire in some kind of quasi-Viking ceremony that involves chanting. As they explain it, everything about the jeans is wrong. They’re too light and too blue. They’re embarrassingly frayed at the bottom of the legs. They’re too baggy. They’re very worn, and a few holes are visible here and there. When I wear them, Russell says I look like a deranged homeless guy. (Of course, I’m not sure you can blame the jeans for the “deranged” part.)
The concept of jeans has changed since I was a teenager. In those days, you had one pair of jeans that you wore until they basically fell apart and your Mom threw them away. Patches were cool. Fraying was cool. Holes that were created by your wearing the jeans (as opposed to fake, manufactured rips) were cool. The whole idea of jeans was about comfort, with a bit of counter-culture rebellion thrown in for good measure. I’m confident that, if my ’70s self saw my current jeans, they’d get the thumbs-up sign.
But, at some point between the ’70s and now, things changed. Jeans became a fashion item. People started to buy multiple pairs of jeans, and what was a multi-purpose article of clothing became specialized. People needed jeans in different colors, flares and straight legs, “destroyed” and non-destroyed, with different pocket designs. Pocket designs? I don’t know if my jeans even have one, because I’d never think of looking at a pocket as part of the jeans-buying decision-making process.
So, I’m reconciled to the fact that my jeans should be the source of humiliation. I don’t care. I’m not wearing them to make a fashion statement, I’m wearing them because they’re comfortable. I cling to the old ways. Oh, and one other thing — I’m cheap.