Back in the day before women had decent jeans (by decent, I mean they fit) we had girls’ jeans, which fastened on the side and had saggy seats. If you were not built like Venus, the crotch hung down to your knees.
Believe me, I was grateful to have these jeans, ugly as they were. (We didn’t know any better). I had to beg for months before my parents would consent to get them. My sister, who was built like Venus, didn’t seem to care one way or the other whether she got to wear jeans or not.
Back then, jeans were a new thing for non-farming, non-laboring lifestyles. Nobody wore jeans to school – not even boys. And girls were not allowed to wear pants of any type to school. Plus, we lived in New England, a more formal culture than others in the U.S. In spite of that, the teenagers of my generation were just beginning to make jeans a fashion statement. (Even in New England, adults never had a chance).
When I was 15, we moved to a small town in Ohio where my sister and I experienced profound culture shock. Life was much more casual. Boys wore jeans and motorcycle boots to school and girls wore jeans everywhere except to school – even to the movies. Hallelujah! Cooler than cool.
One day I noticed the jeans of one of our friends fit her perfectly and had a fly in front. When I asked her about them, she told me they were boys’ jeans and they would solve my baggy-seat problem.
Wasting no time, I began another campaign, nagging my parents endlessly to let me get boys’ jeans. It took a while, but I finally wore them down. I was elated on the day my father took me to town to get a pair of boys’ jeans. We entered a small dry-goods store and the cutest boy in the world approached us. “May I help you?” he asked. And my father said, “Yes. My son, here, wants a pair of jeans.”
I have no idea how I was able to actually proceed with the buying process and walk out of that store with my boys’ jeans. I was humiliated beyond imagination, and probably turned multiple shades of red. I know I didn’t say a word the entire time we were in there. It was a long time before I spoke to my father again, too.
Decades later I can laugh at that story and give my father credit for a good zinger, although I couldn’t do the same thing to a child of mine, especially a teen-ager. I don’t think he had any idea he was scarring me for life. But the best thing was, even though I had paid a high price for them, I wore boys’ jeans until the fashion world woke up and made the girls’ jeans we have now.
Care to share your most embarrassing moment?
Live your purpose every day.