The Public Eye

printed 11/15/2019

The ancient proverb says time and tide will wait for no man, which means, in our modern culture, that you can’t avoid getting older and entering that stage in life where you can’t find a pair of blue jeans that fit like they should.

Even though manufacturers produce all kinds of different jeans cuts these days — regular, slim fit, flex, relaxed, tapered, straight leg, boot cut and whatnot — the one thing they don’t make is a pair of jeans for the older man whose good life has gone to waist and his rear-end has headed so far south you could put a leash on it and take it for a walk.

That is to say, the shelf on which good-fitting jeans used to sit, has succumbed to gravity, thus leaving his pants at the mercy of that same force of nature.

Being a jeans-wearing person for most of my life, it has occurred to me that I have entered the Seven Dwarfs stage of denim distribution: Droopy, Baggy, Sloppy, Saggy, Hangy, Billowy, and Pointless.

In other words, if I buy a pair with the correct waist size, the legs will look like stovepipes in which I could walk around at my leisure without showing any movement.

If I buy something a little tighter in the waist so the legs fit better, the top half of me will go numb at some point in the day from a lack of circulation.

Naturally, clothing companies aren’t inclined to cut jeans for people like me, who have developed something of a lamb chop silhouette.

Where this leaves me is this:

“Oh no!” she says as I enter the room wearing my brand new pair, “You’re wearing Old Man Jeans!” which means I am either wearing the waist up under my armpits (referred to at home as the “creep level”) or they are riding at half-mast with about 20 extra inches of inseam between the tops of my shoes and belt.

If there’s one thing that’s not allowed in my house, it’s Old Man Jeans. They either look right or they don’t, which is why I found myself recently standing at a store’s customer service counter being glared at by a woman as if I was a hangnail: mildly irritated, and ready to remove me with her teeth.

“Yeah?” she says.”

“Well, yes,” I replied, figuring I could loosen her up with a little humor. “These pants turned out to be smaller than I am in the waist, a little fatter than I am in the legs, and too long or short, depending on where they take off from the carrier deck.”

“So, whaddaya want?” she asked, clearly unimpressed by my snappy repartee, although I might have gone too far with the carrier deck reference.

“I want to return them.”

“Why?”

“Because these jeans are …”

“Yeah, yeah,” she says. “I know just want you need.”

“Really?”

“Yes, Porky Pig jeans.”

“But Porky Pig didn’t wear any pants.”

“That’s right. Next.”

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