Wednesday, April 17, 2013

"Those are supposed to be 'skinny' jeans?": Or Why You Shouldn't Go Shopping With My 8 year-old Son

Three years ago, I bought an amazing pair of $30 skinny jeans from H and M. I took my daughter with me, who was three at the time, and my son, who was six. I let them play on my Iphone and I worked quick. In under fifteen minutes, I was on line to pay, flattering and very affordable jeans in hand. I could not believe my good fortune. It was a once-in-a-lifetime denim-shopping experience.

After wearing those jeans every day for three years, they have expired. Its not just the hole that ripped the left knee in two; though that alone is a deal breaker, as I've never been the type to rock the "ripped denim" look. Its also the fact that $30 jeans just don't hold up to hundreds of washings. The fabric got thin and threadbare, the jeans became stretched out and I started to look like the Saggy Baggy Elephant. After that happened, I wore then for another six months. Finally, I could not ignore the bleak truth that was staring at me in the mirror: I needed a new pair of jeans.

Even in my previous life before kids, when I loved to shop, I always hated shopping for jeans. I feel like there are exactly two kinds of jeans: amazing, transcedent jeans which make you look like Megan Fox and awful, irremediable jeans which make you look like a soccer mom on laundry day. There is nothing in between. And since the transcendent jeans comprise approximately 5% of the denim population (1% of those under $100), I know from the get-go its going to be fucking pain in the ass.

But a few weeks ago, I could put it off no longer. My disgust at my own reflection outweighed my aversion to jean shopping. So I told Primo we were going to have mother/ son time and we boarded the subway to Soho.

"Where are we going?" he asked once the subway doors had shut.

"Oh, you know, here and there." I was evasive: "We'll get lunch!"

"Mommy," he asked, "Are we going" -- here he paused, the word so loathsome, it took him a second to spit it out --- "shopping?"

"I just need a pair of jeans," I promised, "We'll be in and out."

And because he's 8, he didn't know any better.

Until an hour and a half later, when we were still in H and M, in the dressing room, me trying on the fortieth pair of jeans that fell into the "I'd rather wear a rucksack than these" category. The problem this time wasn't that they were soccer-mom-y. In fact, it was just the opposite. In the three years since I went denim shopping, skinny jeans have evolved from tapered and tight-fitting to vaccum-sealed. Also, you no longer have to option to choose anything else, at H and M at least, where the choice is between skinny, super-skinny and ultra-skinny.

This cut of jeans, which reveals your every curve, is absolutely perfect if you have curves only in the places you want to have curves, which is to say, you have curves instead of bulges. For the hordes of  20 year-olds under 110 pounds that swarmed the joint, I'm sure these jeans work great. If you are a 36 year-old mother of three who hasn't hit the gym since just after the millennium hit, they are not so ideal.

Primo put it best when he asked, "Is the name skinny jeans supposed to be a joke?"

"What do you mean?" I replied, scrutinizing my butt in the mirror. Were they really that bad? I wondered. Maybe I was supposed to see my panty line?

Primo elaborated: "Why are those called skinny jeans if they make you look fat?"

I gasped. Then laughed.

"You are totally right," I replied, "These re the pits. They should rename them 'Fat jeans.' But then who would buy them?"

"They should re-neame them "Jeans that make you look like a rolie polie little lady!'" Primo shouted, terribly impressed with his verbal flourishes.

"Ok, now you're taking the joke too far," I warned.

Like that has ever worked.

"They should call them 'Jeans that make Mommy's legs look like sausages!'"

"Enough!" I barked, "That's mean."

"It's not an insult," he protested, "Sausages are very nice."

I glared at him.

"Besides," I went on, "Mommy likes her body just the way it is."It was a lie, obviously, but I have to promote a healthy body-image for the yuongesters.

"Just not in these jeans," I added.

Then we left and got rice pudding down the street.

I'll go back to try again, only by myself next time.