Monday, October 26, 2009

The Denim Dilemma

I need a new pair of jeans.

(I know what you’re thinking: “What? Really? I waited all weekend for denim drama?” But just hear me out and I’ll make it worth your while or we’ll give you your money back. Guaranteed.)

I’ve been told that when most human beings need a new pair jeans they are just able to go out a store and buy them and then wear them.

For as long as I can remember, jean shopping somehow always turns into an elaborate, painful process for yours truly. What makes buying a new pair of jeans so difficult for me (or, the reason I make buying a new pair of jeans so difficult) is that I’m both very picky about the style and the fit as well as being very cost conscious.

You can have your cake, I want my jeans to be cheap and to and fit right too.

My reasoning was justified the process this past spring when I found the perfect pair at a local department store. They fit better than I could have ever imagined and only cost $30 (and you thought that introduction column was just a throw-away. All part of the plan, my friends. All part of the plan).

But a funny thing has happened ever since I got married and have had delicious home cooked meals prepared for me every night: my jeans have starting shrinking. I can’t figure it out, but it is getting harder and harder to get into my favorite jeans now.

Must have something to do with the altitude, right?

Last week I stopped by the same department store to pick up a pair of the same jeans, just in a slightly larger size, but was not ready for what I was about to encounter. For some inexplicable reason that will forever escape my comprehension, stores always think they have to get cute and “upgrade” everything. In this case, the particular brand of jeans that I had originally bought – and fallen in love with – has now been replaced by a Premium collection.

So it’s the same brand, but it supposedly better.

But here’s the catch: it’s not.

I reluctantly tried on the new style, thinking it couldn’t be too much different than the original.

It was.

I’m really hoping this is just a temporary fad, but in case you haven’t noticed, men’s jeans are really tight these days. I felt like I was trying on a pair of women’s jeans because there just wasn’t enough… uh… room. And these were supposedly a larger size than the ones I already own.

I raced home from the store and immediately drew up a battle plan. I knew there had to be a remaining pair of my jeans at one of this store’s many convenient area locations, so I literally mapped out every branch of the store within a 20 mile radius of my house and lied in wait for the weekend.

This past Saturday morning, my Wife and I woke up early and packed snacks, blankets, and bottles of water for the search because we had no idea how long we’d be gone. We were in it for the long haul.

We got to the first location on our map and began digging through their racks and racks and stacks and stacks of jeans. Do you have any idea how many different types of jeans there are now?

As far as styles go, there is bootcut, cargo, carpenter, loose, low rise, loose-low rise, relaxed, slim and straight.Just to name a few.

Once you’ve chosen your style, you have to select your color and wash. You can have an acid washed blue or a tinted dark blue. If that doesn’t suit you, what about a vintage medium or blue or whisker washed black?

At this point I just wanted to find a pair of regular, blue jeans, but now realize that I have no concept of what that would even begin to look like.

And sure we definitely found a few remaining pair of my jeans at most of the stores, but they were always the right width but wrong length or wrong width and right length. My Wife even almost talked me into a similar brand that almost fit the same. We got as far as the check-out line before I finally came to my senses.

I couldn’t settle for a consolation pair of jeans. I would resent them every time I put them on. Once you’ve tasted steak, it’s hard to go back to bologna.

Despondent and dejected, I limped home and crashed into bed; ready to give up on the night. Like Michael Corleone at the end of "Godfather: Part II", I stared off into space, slowly accepting my new cruel reality: for the rest of my life, I was doomed to either wear my jeans that no longer fit or settle for an inferior product.

In that moment, my Wife sat down next to me, opened up her laptop, went to the store’s website, found the right jeans in the right size and style and placed the order.


Well… sure, anyone can do it the easy way.

Later my style-conscious buddy Paulie was laughing at my trials and tribulation and asked why I can’t just go to an actual jean store and spend a little more for an actual brand of jeans. I asked him how he can live with himself spending more on a pair of jeans than most people spend on rent.

“One of us obviously has a problem,” he said. “I’m just not sure who.”

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