I don’t know what it’s like for men when they have to go buy a new pair of jeans. But it’s Pure Hell for women. Magazines routinely offer “helpful” articles about how to choose the “right” cut of jeans for each body shape. There are tips about the percentage of spandex, how low the rise is, leg width, inseam length. Then there are the different washes and finishes. Back pocket size and placement. There are the brands to consider: Your mother’s Calvin’s and Gloria’s fit very different than Not Your Daughter’s or 7 for All Mankind. It is, simply put, a complete denim shit show. Women love shopping for the perfect pair of jeans as much as buying a new swim suit. I personally enjoyed prepping for my colonoscopy the same day I chaperoned a first grade field trip to the zoo more than shopping for jeans. The different characteristics that determine the perfect ratio that provides both comfort and a flattering fit is mind boggling. And still, it doesn’t matter what the articles say are the best brands and cuts for your body shape. What matters is the deep exhale when you put the perfect pair on, and you just know it– the second you turn around and look at your ass in the mirror. You just know. They feel right, and they look gooood. And you’ve found a moment of peace and slice of heaven under those flourscent lights.
Such is the process of dating and finding someone you want to go out with more than once. You may have very specific criteria of who you’re looking for in an ideal date (ethnicity, age, height, profession, hobbies, etc.), but when it comes down to it, it’s more of a magical mix of stuff that comes together, and you just feel it, and know “Yes. I’d like to spend more time with him and get to know him better,” in a butterfly-in-the-stomach sort of way. The ones that were very nice and fun and “Oh, that was nice,” are just…nice. Nothing wrong with them, those premium jeans are all the rage this season. Your friends say they look fine on you. But you’re just not feeling them. They’re not quite right. You might feel pressured or obligated to buy them, give them a try–maybe you’ll grow to love them. After all, everyone says you look great in them. But we all know how this story will end. You’ll never wear them and you’ll regret spending so much money on them. The “Meh” Guy who is a perfectly decent and upstanding guy never lasts if you don’t feel it.
So when you shop for jeans, you walk into the dressing room with your arms full. You try them all on. You may find three or four that you like, but you can’t decide. There’s something you like about each one of them. You can’t afford to buy them all. So what do you do? It’s not an easy decision. When you are in the initial process of dating someone, and before you decide to commit to this one person to see where it goes, it can be confusing, after all, no one’s perfect. A series of first dates with potential suitors. Some second dates. Some third dates. Lots of talking and texting in between. A lot of this overlapping. A lot to consider about each one. Something to like about each one, and no huge deal breakers. Some days you just want to say, “I’m just browsing,” and other days you just don’t feel like shopping at all.
Trying on different jeans. Trying on different relationships. You only have so much time to allocate. And at some point, you need to make a decision. You’re not supposed to compare. You’re supposed to judge each one on its own merits. The impractical pair with the embellished back pockets that you love? Or the versatile pair that you can’t go wrong with? You can’t buy both. you can keep trying each on, but at some point, you need to pick one. Or walk out empty-handed.
This is why I have over 30 pairs of jeans in my closet. I haven’t found the perfect pair. So I keep amassing them for different seasons and occasions, and some days some fit better than others. Maybe this will be the story of my life. But I hope not. I’m still on my quest to find the pair that makes me sigh.