essays

Pants!

jeans zipperSometimes things strike me as very odd. Sometimes I just stop and think about things that the rest of the world (or most of it anyway) seems to take for granted. Like laughing.

I'll be sitting in a room with my friends and we'll all laughing and having a good time and it suddenly occurs to me how weird laughing is. Or the fact that every single person in the world goes to the toilet and has to use TP. I think of this especially when someone thinks they're really something special and other people worship them. Like celebrities and politicians. Yeah, they all have to use that roll of paper.

Sometimes I wonder why blue jeans have become like part of a uniform all over the world. People wear them day in and day out and they don't even give it a thought. They put them on and head outside where nearly everyone else on the street is wearing them. If everyone was wearing the same shirt all over the world, we'd really think about the conformity going on. What makes pants different? And why jeans? They're really not all that comfortable, are they?

Why have I worn jeans since I got my first pair at the age of six? They were those kind with the red plaid flannel lining and the elastic waistband. Do you remember those? I bought my first pair of Levis 501s, which would become my basic signature pants for the next 40 years, for $8.00 in 1966. During the 70s I wore flares and during the 80s I wore boot-cut, and in the 90s and early 2000s I went back to the straight leg.

Levi jeans labelEventually, the 501s began to get less comfortable for me (probably old age or something) and I moved over to whatever stretch denim low-rise jeans were on sale. Thankfully, modern stretch denim is nothing like that ugly crap they made in the 60s. Those were awful--with side zips. (Of course, they weren't as sexy as those in the picture because they weren't tight and we wore white Keds, not stiletto ankle boots!) I mean, really, what's the point of a side zipper? Well, I can imagine... Probably a sexual deterrent since back then only teenagers wore blue jeans.

Nowadays I wear sweats at home, and lounge pants. You know the kind. The kind with the Three Stooges, rubber duckies, or Corona labels on them? If I go out, I wear my jeans. I've just never found anything I like better. I intend to be buried in my jeans, hopefully Levis 501s--if I can afford them again by then.

Steph Waller is an author and composer. Her Rock novel, With a Bullet, which takes places in lat 70s London, is set to be published in Spring 2010. Read more at Incurable Insomniac and StephWaller.com.

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