When I walked into the department store with my mom I was one unhappy camper. I was one of the three 16-year-old girls in Minnesota that hated shopping and I’d spent my day making that clear to my mother. However, she wasn’t having it. She felt that the clothes of my last identity phase were silly, and they were, but I wasn’t about to admit that. Since I’d outgrown my black attire and my “woe-is-me” attitude, it was time to get a new wardrobe. I was moderately stomping my way through the store in huffy defiance with heavy sighs when my mom spotted a pair of jeans that she lifted off the rack. Somehow, to this day, mom knows what will fit me better than I do. That’s when we first met. It was instant attraction.
You were low rise, but not too low, and boot cut, with just a tiny flare, and you were extra long, because my mom said I have ostrich legs. Inside my head, I wanted to try you on and take you home and outline you in the chaser bulbs you see on old school movie theatre signs, that’s how awesome you were. But I was still a teenager, and I didn’t want my mom to see my sudden change of attitude because back then it was impossible for me to admit defeat or that I was wrong, so I kept a cool exterior. Looking back I think she knew I was excited, but she let me keep my illusion of dignity. Thanks for that, mom. So we went to the dressing room and I tried you on. Mom was right. We were MFEO (made for each other). You hugged me in all the right places, covered flaws, and made my butt look great while not making me feel like I was showing off. You fit me like the sleeve cover of a good book, an outward illustration of the story that is me. I had to have you. Thus began our long-term relationship.
You were the first pair of jeans I’d wear after I washed my laundry. You were with me during every important moment in my life that called for casual clothing from live concerts and festivals, to my first date ever. You were my lucky jeans I’d wear for finals even into my first years of college. Through the years you began to fade, but I didn’t mind. Your denim just got softer. Eventually, your hemline began to fray with exposure to my life. I didn’t mind that, either. It just added character. After another year or so, your fabric began to get really thin, and you tore in the knee. I remember my gasp of surprise when I heard the unmistakable “riiip.” But I kept on sporting you with my favorite band tees and flannels until you were too ragged even for that. Then you transitioned into my work pants. You and I were a team. We got stuff done together. We painted the house I rented. We cleaned and did yard work together.
All of that ended recently when I was for some reason, wearing you in public. Maybe for nostalgia? I was walking into Caribou and I felt a breeze on my rear. At first, I didn’t think anything of it. I got my coffee to go and walked out the store. I felt that breeze again, colder this time, and I froze, my eyes wide and my mouth shaped around a silent O. So that’s why the guy at the register smiled big at me. You wore too thin and worked too hard, and left me feeling exposed. It was the end. You had reached your final breaking point and you just couldn’t handle it anymore, and thus marked the end of our 7-year relationship. You lived a long life and served me well. You were a part of the family. Rest in peace, my favorite jeans. I’ll never forget you.