Just about 20 years ago, I was living with a man, may he rest in peace, and it was not good. We reached a point where he took everything out of me.
I have never real been a jeans person. I was brought up in a household where ladies didn’t wear trousers, let alone jeans. I always had the odd pair for mucking about.
I left him, started a new job and moved. Not too much stress. Still, as is my way, we stayed in contact. Prior to getting the new job, I had been pretty much subsisting for several years. Jeans were not a necessary. I was unhappy with him. I gain weight when I am unhappy. He gave me jeans that no longer fit him. At my new job, there was dress down jeans Friday. The 20 year old used to laugh and say “Boyfriend jeans.” I was happier and walked tons every day. The weight melted off even though I had a big cookie every day!
I had been in straitened circumstances for a year. However, the following year, I bought a pair of jeans for me for nine dollars. I also had tons of vacation time and little money. One of my friends had a holiday voucher he hadn’t used for Montauk. I loved Montauk. This was in the very early aughts before it became a hipster destination. I paid my friend a nominal sum and headed East.
Now, in the early 80’s I had a share in a house in Amagansett with the 70’s high school cheerleading squad. They were preppy before it was a thing. They used to line up their Weejuns at the edge of the beach. I was so not preppy. Definitely, not a Weejun person. They slept in T shirts. I slept in lingerie. We would go dancing at Shagwong’s in Montauk. It was OK. I wanted to go to the Memory Motel. Yes, the Memory Motel Rolling Stones one. Memory MotelThe cheerleaders opted out.
Fast forward to 2001ish and me in Montauk. I made a beeline to the Memory. Well, in the intervening years, things changed. It was now a dive bar. Fine by me. Me and my 9 dollar jeans and flip flops walked in. Happy hour. Pool tables. Beer. My poison has always been Scotch on the rocks. I breathed it all in. The man I left did not like going out at all. And when we did, he accused me of coming on to everyone. It felt so good to be out and about. I walked, so no worries with drinking. And as always, men bought me drinks. It was a different world to when I had last been up and about. Men were trying to sell me on their prospects. Inevitably, I picked up someone, Billy. We went out for steak. And he asked me out for the next night. Dilemma – what to wear? I had already packed myself into the jeans. I had to do it again but with a changed top, one that could cover my packed in tummy. And please know, I HATE wearing the same thing twice.
So, we go out for drinks. And he said, ” I know that Susan likes to drink.” (Ya think) “but what else does she like to do?” Great question. I had fought so hard to retain what identity I had that there wasn’t a lot leftover. I forgot that I read, garden, cook, write. Lesson learned.
I bought other jeans and no, I never saw him again. I always packed my tummy into those jeans when I could. Sometimes, I couldn’t even zip them up. They became my gardening jeans.
Fast forward again to this past weekend. Life has changed and I own more jeans. But, and there’s always a but, I have lost weight and they don’t fit. And the rest were somewhere else. I don’t wear jeans in the summer. It’s the change in season so no clue as to where they are. The weather snapped and it was cool Sunday morning. I had to drive Tom to the blood bank. Gardening jeans! Hadn’t worn them in ages as gardening is something that’s been taken from me. And they were baggy. First time, ever. But… the spectral leg can’t be hidden. When this nonsense and that’s how I like to think of it, first started; I preferred to wear the spectral leg on the outside. It was a clear indication of what was not right with me. I wasn’t using the cane at that time. I nearly sacrificed a favorite pair of black leather pants because the spectral leg could not be seen. Now, because of the cane, I try to keep it hidden when I wear pants. But Sunday, I wasn’t even going to get out of the car. Tom was upset that it was visible. I am upset that I finally fit into the jeans, I don’t want to wear them in public.
Instead of representing the freedom they once did , they now represent the limits I face. It’s time to give them up and move on.