Sunday, June 5, 2005

I Am Pantsless No More

While I wasn't looking, all my pants shrunk. I can't really imagine how something like that would happen, because I can see how a single pair might shrivel in the dryer but all my jeans? It's a mystery.... At least I was left with a single pair of pants, a pair which, oddly, was a little too big for me when I bought them but now seems to fit just right. Spooky.

So I needed more pants and I had a gift certificate to JCPenney, left over from Christmas when my old-timer cousins decided to buy me what was in all likelihood a hideous sweater or a plaid button-down shirt even though every year I pray to Santa that they'll just give me some money, like normal people I only see on special occasions once a year. This attitude of mine started when I was maybe five or six, and despite my youth I was still smart enough to see that this was the only time people would be handing me free shit and there was no sense wasting those freebies on clothes, which Mom would pay for anyway. If all my aunts and uncles and cousins n-times removed combined their Lord & Taylor's and Penney's and Macy's kids section gifts just once, they could've gotten me what I really wanted — a Nintendo, otherwise forbidden in my parents' house — and I would've been the most popular kid on Kempshall Terrace during those all-important formative years. But instead, Christmas after miserable Christmas, these relatives handed me one turtleneck sweater after another.

And then Queer Eye for the Straight Guy started, and it dawned on me that at least half my wardrobe came to me via Christmas and birthday gifts, straight off the department store clearance rack. On one episode, Carson complained that he was in a "sea of plaid," and I thought, "Shit, that's my closet. Damn my relatives and their bad taste! They're clearly to blame for me not getting any girls." And that was it: no matter what the cousins give me, it's going back to the store. I might not like the store, but at least I get to choose my wardrobe, because I'm such a big boy.

That's how I wound up with a fifteen dollar gift certificate to JCPenney, which if you list all the department stores that people who watch Judge Judy shop at, it's the gayest.

If you're a department store, and you happen to be, say, Barneys New York or Nieman Marcus or Saks Fifth Avenue, it's alright to be effeminate and even emasculated since your male clientele is obscenely rich. Look at Sex in the City: effeminate man + money + a full set of teeth = Prince Charming. But let's say you're not all in silk ties and Italian leather shoes, your floors are dirty and your wardrobe is full of shirts with the names of baseball players stitched on the back. You're not getting any action, at least not any female action. So that probably explains why I'm at JCPenney.

Now I have to buy pants, and as if someone at Levi's thought life's not complicated enough, we've got Classic Fit, Regular Fit, Relaxed Fit, Relaxed Boot Fit, Loose Fit, Loose Boot Fit, Easy Fit, Comfort Fit, Husky Fit, Baggy Fit, and, what the hell, Chewy Fit. I've also gotta hunt through piles of denim looking for my size, 30 x 30, and for some reason JCPenney seems to only have inhuman pants sizes designed for fantasy creatures, like 42 x 28. What sort of freaking troll has a 42 inch waist and 28 inch legs? Frankly, I think there ought to be a cap on the size of pants they make, and you're over the limit then you've gotta walk around in your underwear until you're humiliated enough to take a few inches off your girth.

I must've messed up the entire men's section at Penney's looking for my size, but eventually I found some jeans in the Regular, Relaxed, Relaxed Boot, and Comfort Fit varieties. Time to find the dreaded fitting rooms, which I usually avoid and not only because the fittin room floor is always invariably made out of discarded size tags and straight pins. I don't know where the hell all these straight pins are coming from, because it's not like there's anything with straight pins in it on the store floor. Maybe there's some guys bringing a sewing kit into the fitting room, which just makes me uncomfortable. But anyway, the real reason I hate the dressing room is because the store invariably hides the fitting room away in the most emasculating place possible. At a sympathetic store you might find the fitting room near the socks and boxer shorts, which is great cause in thirty seconds you'll be standing in your underwear in front of a full-length mirror but first I have to see all these packages with pictures of semi-naked built guys, so I have something to compare myself too.

Worse is Old Navy — at every Old Navy I've been to the fitting room, a unisex fitting room naturally, is right smack in the middle of the bikini section or all the bras and panties (not sure who the hell is buying underwear at Old Navy) so you feel like a pervert going in there. The girl with the radio headset watching over the fitting room, making sure you walk out with the same number of clothes that you walked in with: she doesn't help.

Boy, I wish I were a woman. Then shopping for clothes would be easy.