I can’t wear skinny jeans, because I have beefy man legs, mighty logs of muscle and sinew, the end product of hundreds of thousands of years of evolution. Ancient man spent his days running from prehistoric beasts, jumping with simian fury and squatting around the fire. Here’s a short list of the men who can wear skinny jeans: Iggy Pop, The Pumpkin King, moody beanpoles with eating disorders and those with unusually narrow pelvises. If you own and wear a cape or a top hat, you can wear skinny jeans. If you need skin-tight pants that hug your hips, then do as Batman does and wear tights. Regular men should not wear skinny jeans.
I’m writing from experience here. I have tried to wear them. I went to a popular discount department store in New York City on a hunt for a pair. Not because I wanted to change my personal style. But for the primary reason men try to dress better: the women in their lives suggest it. Not that my girlfriend suggested I wear skinny jeans. I’m sure she’d be happy with “clean” jeans. But I figured, if I am going to be fashionable, then I should try to emulate the well-dressed denizens of the trendiest neighborhoods. Once through customs, I studied the various hipster astronauts from well-heeled suburban enclaves on exploratory missions to the grimy city. They all looked cheap, in an expensive way. Their filth looked applied rather than earned. They all wore jeans that looked like they had to be peeled off. I took notes.
I’m not saying all men aren’t proactive when it comes to their personal style. I’m just saying that if it weren’t for women, I would probably wear a picnic tablecloth as a muumuu. I have a very close friend who is a sharp dresser. Over the years he has taught me the virtues of having personal style.
Before, I suppose my personal style could be described as “Frat Chic”? “Hobo Couture”? “Star Wars Action Figure Hoarder Casual”? I used to have one set of “church clothes” that I wore to job interviews. I also had a “date shirt” that’s somewhere between “purple” and “disgusting bruise.” Plus: jeans. Baggy, saggy jeans. I mean, over the years I’ve had girlfriends and close friends who are girls who helped me transition my wardrobe from homeless stoner to someone who could feasibly get a job at Best Buy. But my friend, the clotheshorse, taught me two endearing fashion lessons: 1.) if you dress seriously, people at work take you seriously; 2.) if you wear a tailored suit, women will pay attention to you more. Heck, if you wear a nice tie and shirt, women will forgive a little belly. Enough to talk to you, at least.
He was a good influence on me, fashion-wise. And I was a bad influence on him, especially during one memorable bachelor party. But that is a ribald and bawdy tale of adventure for another time. It’s not like I listened to him totally, either. I still wore T-shirts that read “World’s Greatest Fill In The Blank.” And even worse: I still wore baggy jeans. To be fair to myself, I don’t think a lot of guys know how to buy jeans. They don’t teach this in school. We wear baggy jeans because they’re comfortable. Because they help us with our body issues – baggy jeans make a guy feel less chubatronic. The male of the species isn’t raised to feel comfortable wearing tight clothes that actually fit. Women are, of course.
I found myself trying to buy new jeans because a woman I was dating made an off-hand reference to my jeans, which I kept pulling up. She was refreshingly blunt. “You don’t know how to buy jeans, do you?” Ack. I didn’t know there was a way to buy them. You just grab any pair that have a waistline two sizes bigger than yours, take it to the counter, and change into them in a fast food restaurant. She shook her head. The instructions she gave me stuck with me. It’s just too bad she never saw the results of her tutelage.
This brings me back to my girlfriend and fashion upgrades and my desire to dress better for her because you can’t take a hot chick to a fancy dinner date at Red Lobster looking like your mom and Walmart dressed you.
There I was shopping. Like any dude, I am hostile towards shopping. It’s boring, there’s no beer, and it can be intimidating. The instructions from my long-ago fling were thus: find a pair of very dark jeans that fit “snugly.” What happened next was like a weird version of Goldilocks and The Three Bears. Eventually, I would find a pair of nice jeans that were like the final bowl of porridge in the fairy tale. Just right. One pair was too big, and I knew this because I was very comfortable in them. And one pair was too small — skinny jeans. I felt like I needed to butter them so I could slide in. They were my size. But they cut off all circulation. Instead of accentuating my … masculine property … the jeans pressed my chandelier of love into my thigh in an aesthetically upsetting and physically uncomfortable way. I couldn’t walk, because I couldn’t bend my knees.
How did I look? Like a “Slim Jim” meat snack with far too much “Jim.”
If you’re a rock star, wear whatever you want. You’re a rock star. Wear a pink boa, kilt and feathery musketeer hat. Wear skinny jeans. But if you’re a regular dude, buy a pair of jeans that feel just a little tight. That means they fit. Don’t buy skinny jeans. For one, you’ll never be able to escape a rampaging saber-tooth tiger while wearing them.