I’ve had the same pair of jeans shorts for about 25 years. I don’t even remember when I bought them, although I’m pretty sure I got them secondhand. They were never new; they were always comfortable and faded. They used to be too big, but over the years, I’ve grown and they’ve shrunk, and we’ve met halfway. There was a big stretch during the 1980s when I was always pregnant and the jeans shorts were shoved into the back of the closet, replaced by a pair of shorts with stretchy fabric for my belly, but sometime after With-a-Why was born, I rediscovered the old jeans shorts and I’ve worn them happily ever since.
But lately, the shorts have been looking a little frayed and faded, even for me. I know from experience that when denim gets so thin that it’s almost white, an embarrassing hole is about to appear, and often at the most inconvenient moment. So when my daughter suggested we stop at an outlet mall on a drive back from Bison City, I said, “Great. I need a new pair of shorts.”
I found jeans shorts in the first store we looked. They were short shorts, like the ones I was wearing, and were just as comfortable. I’m happy to see short shorts back in the stores: I remember the decade when long shorts were in style and every pair I tried on came down to my knees. Long shorts only make sense if you’re the height of Boy in Black, which I am not.
Here’s the oddest thing though. The shorts that I tried on were practically as beat up as the shorts I was wearing. The denim was faded. The shorts had wrinkle marks on the fabric as if elves had been wearing them. Then I noticed a hole on the right side, just at the hip. Yes, a hole. I could poke my finger through and touch skin.
“What poor quality,” I thought and grabbed another pair off the rack. But this pair had a hole IN THE VERY SAME SPOT. I looked through the shorts. Every single pair had a hole.
“They’re distressed,” my daughter told me. “That’s in style.”
She wasn’t kidding. The holes were on purpose. Yes, some company makes denim shorts, then deliberately fades them, adds ugly wrinkle marks, and even rips holes in them.
I was muttering about the ridiculousness of it all, when suddenly, the thought hit me. I didn’t need a new pair of shorts. It turns out that the pair I’ve been wearing are in style! And when the inevitable hole appears, they will be even more stylish!
Clearly, I’ve been setting some kind of fashion trend and didn’t even know it.
I was setting up the tripod to take a picture of the shorts when the little neighbor girl arrived and begged to take the photo. She’s kind of wild with my camera, so it’s just as well that I planned to crop out my face for the blog. I was trying to smile, but instead, I was muttering through clenched teeth: “Put the strap back around your neck! Don’t touch the lens. Stop swinging the camera! Just snap the photo!”