For jeans shopper, simple needs, way too many choices

Michael Mason

Michael Mason

So there’s this Valentine’s Day dinner coming up and I realized I didn’t have any decent jeans to wear . . . and oh crap, I can hear my mother’s voice now!  “You’re taking your best girl out for a special occasion and you’re going to wear jeans? Really?”

Jeez, Ma! It’s Billings, not Bozeman.  Anyway, here, jeans are acceptable for weddings, symphony concerts, brandings and funerals.  The No. 1 one rule to keep in mind, though, is that the only one ever permitted to wear freshly creased jeans is the dearly departed at a funeral, and then only if the loved one is neatly displayed in a traditional hand-made pine box.

All bets are off, though, if the deceased is propped up at a microphone in the Pub Station or stuffed into a dim corner with a frosty mug of IPA duct-taped to his hand. So, if you’re not dead yet and you’ve got creases in your jeans, you’d better be an International Monetary Fund hipster from Missoula. Or a touron on the way to Yellowstone to snap pictures of bison with that vintage Brownie Hawkeye hanging from an old black shoelace double-wrapped around your skinny neck.

Well, anyhow, on Saturday, I pop into my favorite discount clothing store, casually stroll through the ladies underwear department and over to the jeans corner to get me a pair that shows off my manly legs and other studly parts.

Easy peasy, right?  How tough could it be?  I mean there can’t be more than a couple of styles to choose from?  But no! The world has gone crazy since the last time I bought jeans.  Now I am faced with bundles and stacks and racks and hangers full of jeans I’d never heard of.

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Original, Straight (maybe for heteros only?), Slim Taper, Super Skinny, Skinny, Slim, Slim Straight (for skinny heteros only?), Boot Cut, Slim Boot Cut, Taper, Relaxed Fit, Relaxed Straight (for someone comfortable with their hetero-ness?), Comfort Fit, Loose Taper, Loose Straight (for a Hetero with questionable morals?), and don’t forget . . . Cargo.

They all sound like the names of cowboys pushing a bevy of beef to Miles City. “Yo, Slim, get together with Taper, Boot Cut and, oh yeah, Cargo, and round-up them loose dogies!”

Being a no-nonsense kind of guy, I wade right in, grab a bunch and head to the dressing room.

Of course, then I find out that all the styles come in THREE styles.  One that sits oh so slightly above the waist, heretofore known as Urkel style, one that sits oh so slightly below the waist (makes it harder for belly button lint to gather) and one that sits just a scoche above the pubic hair and just a little more than a scoche lower than our Big Boy’s Butt Cleavage. I take most of these back as fast as I can!

Leaving the dressing room, I eavesdrop on a guy modeling a pair of jeans for his wife and daughter.  Daughter says, “Dad, those look really great on you!”  Wife says, “Honey, you do look good in them.” He says, “Don’t like ’em!” Wife says, “Why, are they too tight in the waist?”  He whispers so his daughter can’t hear, “No, they squeeze my … you know.”  EEEEWWWW!  TMI.

Rooting around, I come upon a pair of skinny jeans with a 40-inch waist. Come on now, REALLY?  A FORTY INCH waist?  What does THIS guy look like? A freaking basketball strutting around on Great Blue Heron legs?

And then.  And then . . . I spot the Holy Grail, way off in a dusty, neglected corner.  An unnoticed, un-touched, virgin stack of Reg’lar leg, Reg’lar waist, Reg’lar cut, down-to-earth, real damn BLUE JEANS.  I buy all 10 pairs.  Now I’m set for a decade’s worth of Valentine’s Days, anniversaries, birthdays, weddings, and funerals.  Yee Hah!

Growing up on a steady diet of “Howdy Doody,” “The Three Stooges,” Mad Magazine and rock and roll left Michael Mason completely unprepared for normal society. He and his wife, Karen, live outside Joliet, where he serves as personal retainer to a formerly feral feline named I. Moulton Gateaux. This just may be the only job Michael’s misspent youth enabled him to handle.

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