One of my favourite scenes from the movie Grease is when Sandy agrees to let Frenchy pierce her ears at the Pink Lady sleepover. The two girls are in the bathroom, needle poised to earlobe, when Sandy suddenly starts screaming and begging Frenchy to stop. In response, Frenchy simply shakes her head and says:
“Sandy, Sandy… beauty is pain.”
While in that scene, Frenchy may have been referring to having one’s ears pierced with nothing but an ice cube, a virgin pin and a prayer, to me, she could just as easily have been talking about skinny jeans.
Skinny jeans: they can be a woman’s best friend, and her worst enemy. Sure they look great, but both finding the right pair, and getting the damn things on (or off) in the first place, can be a struggle.
I bought my first pair of skinny jeans about three years ago, and while I have repressed most of the memories surrounding that shopping experience, I recount just enough to know that I was in no hurry to do it again. So much so in fact, that when the seams of my beloved skinnies began to fray, and the belt loops, weakened from continuous hoisting over my ever-expanding muffin top, ripped off, I continued to cling to those bad boys like Rose Dawson to an old door frame. I simply could not face the prospect of doing it again.
Well this weekend I decided that enough was enough. No more excuses. No more waiting till I lost those last 5 pounds. I was going jean shopping.
As I neared the store, I gave myself a little mental pep-talk. You can do this, I said to myself. A pair of jeans do not define you. But all of that quickly flew out the window when I walked in and was accosted by 10 different long-haired, 19-year-old, sales associates, all asking me if I “needed help with my denim ”
You have no idea.
Two salesgirls quickly took me by the arm and led me around the store on a whirlwind blitz, piling pairs of jeans into my arms. It sort of felt like the makeover scene from Clueless.
Before I knew it, I was in the dressing room with a dozen pairs of jeans to try. I decided to start out with something called “jeggings”.. which are basically a lightweight jean that can be worn almost as a legging. Sounds pretty amazing, right? Well, as soon as I put them on, I thought so too. I felt like I was wearing pajamas. In heaven. And they looked great, too…….. from the front. Unfortunately, as soon as I turned around… well let’s just say they took the expression “business in the front, party in the back” to a whole new, unwanted level.
Since the junk in my trunk precluded the possibility of jeggings, , I had no choice but to move onto the standard denim. In an effort to preserve my fragile ego, I had decided to try every pair in a size bigger than I normally wear. But even then, getting these death traps on was still a huge ordeal. My calves were having none of it, and let me know this by fighting their denim captors every step of the way. Finally, after a bit of wiggling and yanking. and a lot of prayer, I finally got them on.
“They look good” said the sales girl. “but you’re going to want to go down a size, because they stretch out”.
DOWN a size?? Are you f*&*king kidding me??
I stood in the changeroom, sizing up the smaller pair like a welterweight about to face Muhammad Ali. Knowing I was going to have my ass handed to me, I considered throwing in the proverbial towel. F*&k skinny jeans, I thought. Sweatpants are so 2012. But then I heard Frenchy’s words, spinning through my head like a dream reel: “beauty is pain, Breezy… beauty is pain….“.
Armed with my new (and probably f*&ked up) mantra, I yanked those bad boys off the hook, and began the encasing process. To say it wasn’t pretty would be an understatement. I won’t go into all of the gory details, but let’s just say that a lot went down that day. Fabric was negotiated with. Zippers were coaxed. Tears were shed. Water breaks were taken. By the time I got to mid-thigh, I was sweating so much, I worried my perspiration would cause premature dye-transfer.
Finally, in a tornado of limbs, sweat and fury, I yanked the curtain back and emerged: hair soaked with sweat, pride laying somewhere on the floor. Expecting to look like a product of Oktoberfest, I braced myself for the onslaught of my own reflection.
Huh. Not half bad. I thought. I mean, if you ignored everything above the waistband, and of course my face, which was already beginning to exhibit signs of PTSD. “I’ll take them”. I declared. “But can I wear them out? Because if I take them off, it might be another 3 years before I get them back on”.