By Ned Hickson
I have a favorite pair of jeans I refuse to give up, and which, over the last few years, my wife has attempted to eradicate on six different occasions. She hates these jeans because, according to her, they are "ripped, frayed and embarrassing." Particularly when I forget to change them before going out somewhere in public, such as our front yard. Her attempts to get rid of my jeans have escalated from them being "lost," to an incident last week in which she claimed my jeans "spontaneously combusted," forcing her to put out the flames with the nearest extinguishing device: A meat cleaver.
She later apologized for hacking my jeans, telling me she reacted instinctively to a dangerous situation. I told her I understood, and that, instinctively, I planned to continue wearing my newly perforated jeans, at least until the remaining threads give way to the force of gravity and I am suddenly de-pantsed.
Probably while raking the yard.
There was a time when my wife actually liked seeing me in these jeans. Whenever I wore them I'd get...The Look -- an eyebrow raise and quick scan of inventory suggesting the merchandise might be leaving the shelf before I could announce my blue light special. Now when I put them on all I get is a roll of the eyes suggesting I hold a clearance sale to reduce some of my inventory.
Does that mean I'll stop wearing them?
Of course not.
That's because I'm a man. And as a man, looking good isn't nearly as important as proving I can still fit into the jeans I wore eight years ago, even if getting them on requires a case of cooking spray and an electric winch attached to the bumper of a Chevy 4x4. It doesn't matter that the waist is so tight my spleen is temporarily relocated behind my ears. Or that the contents of my pockets look like they've been vacuum packed.
"Is that a 1964 penny?"
"How long until the impression on your leg goes away?"
"Depends. One time I had a Susan B. Anthony dollar that lasted a month."
"I hear you. I've still got a bruise from my car key -- see?"
"Wow, you're good."
This illustrates a fundamental difference between how men and women think. Women by their very nature are theoretical thinkers. For example, just because fitting into the same jeans they wore in their early 30s is now like trying to stuff eight pounds of hamburger into an espresso cup, then, "theoretically," those jeans no longer fit. (Naturally, there are women who are exceptions to this rule, as anyone who watches daytime talk shows can tell you.)
Men, on the other hand, think in terms of practicality, i.e., if we can practically button our jeans without losing all feeling in our legs, then they obviously still fit. It doesn't matter that our mid section is hanging over our belt like an overproofed dinner roll. What matters is that we are in our jeans, and therefore "practically" in the same physical shape we were during our early 30s. Assuming, of course, that we were shaped like an inverted milk jug.
So, yes, I will continue to wear my "ripped, frayed, embarrassing" and now recently cleaved jeans. In fact, I may even wear them when I get home tonight.
Unless my wife has hidden the cooking spray again.
You can write to Ned Hickson at:
The Siuslaw News at P.O. Box 10, Florence, OR 97439.