Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Jean Pool

If you are looking for a good way to humble your opinion of yourself, might I suggest spending an afternoon shopping for a pair of white jeans? No, not just white jeans--really bow to the trend and set your sights on finding white skinny jeans. No easy feat for me, considering I am a shortie and my thighs are the size of tree trunks, give or take an oak tree or a sapling.

I spent last Wednesday on a frenzied hunt for said jeans, determined to score a pair for the weekend and for an upcoming trip to Texas. Friends, I am not exaggerating when I say that I shopped so hard I was in a full upper lip sweat. I went in stores I have never entered in my shopping lifetime, which is saying a lot since I consider shopping both a hobby and a talent of mine. I have been honing my retail skills since I was a mere babe in a stroller.

By my count, I tried on 25 pairs of denim before finally settling on a pair. That pair is not great, mind you, just better than the 24 previous pairs that I endured. I tried modern skinny, cropped, cigarette slim, ultra skinny, straight leg...pairs with zippers no longer than two inches, pairs with stretch, pairs that were assured to slim (lies!). I draw the line at bedazzled jeans; I rocked those in the 90s so hard I see no need to repeat the offense.

I am embarrassed to report that I even got desperate enough to try a pair of Not Your Daughter's Jeans, and I believe by the brand's standards I should be considered the daughter in that description. I deemed myself Not Desperate Enough for These Jeans and got the heck out of dodge before anyone saw my shame, lying crumpled on the dressing room floor of Dillard's.

As this torture entered its second hour, I found myself cracking under the pressure. Asking myself questions like: do Pajama Jeans come in white? Does anyone really look at the bottom half of an outfit, anyway? Could I sew Spanx into these? What if I just made sure no one saw me from behind?

At one point, I even got madcap enough to allow a salesperson to help. This is never a good idea for me, because they are determined to fit a square peg in a round hole and will waste your time bringing you items that in no way fit the criteria of what you are actually seeking. I tell Well Meaning Sales Lady that I am seeking a pair of white skinny jeans. She nods enthusiastically and returns with one pair of white flare bell bottoms which make me look like a sailor on Fleet Week, a pair of white cargo pants in some sateen fabric that is reminiscent of a Queen performance, a pair of black pants, and a striped top.

What has happened here? The lines of communication have gotten seriously crossed. Being the people pleaser I am cursed to be, I try on one obligatory pair of bell bottoms, discover they are about a foot too long and even more ridiculous on my person than they were on the hanger, and thank Maleeka on my way out the door.

Some place close to the intersection of Are You Kidding Me and Too Stubborn to Quit, I finally found #25, the winning jeans. By that point, my back was aching (probably from all the work shimmying pairs of jeans the size of Build-a-Bear clothes up and down all day), lip gloss long since faded, hair disheveled, spirits in the tank. I could barely muster the energy to redress and stand in line to pay for those beauties, but one cannot abandon a mission, especially when the mission has been as tedious as the Great Jean Hunt.

But I did it. Mission accomplished. I came, I saw, I conquered (well, eventually, anyway). And now: I'm almost afraid to wear the things. They should be protected, preserved, kept away from things like moths and dirt and ketchup stains. My advice to you would be when you find that needle in the denim haystack, buy two pairs. Because now all I can think is that by putting wear and tear on these babies, I am just moving myself closer and closer to another shopping adventure for a replacement pair. Maybe by then we can finally make sweatpants trendy? Now that would be in-jean-ious.

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