The denim debacle

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As losses go, this isn’t a big one. I shouldn’t even care. Still, I’m sad about it. It’s hard to accept that the best jeans in my closet – and possibly the world – are on their last threads.

At least nothing tragic happened. By all measures, the jeans lived a good, long life. They’re dying of natural causes — namely, years of use and the friction of putting one leg in front of the other thousands of times. All those steps have led to an unfortunate hole.

Why would I say goodbye to my favorite jeans over a harmless hole? Don’t some people pay crazy money for new jeans with gaping holes? Well, yes, they do. Deliberately “distressed” jeans became a huge trend. But my jeans have a hole that can’t be called a fashion choice. It’s located south of the zipper in what I’ll call the “crotchal” region.

The hole started so small that I kept on wearing them. (Clearly, I was in the denial phase.) But then it frayed and grew a little more every time I wore them. And if the hole keeps growing at its current rate, I’ll be able to get a Pap smear without taking my pants off.

So, it’s time to let go. I’ve just got to focus on the good times we had. We were together through so many errands, date nights, road trips, school events, and dog walks. They were the pair I reached for most because they somehow aged into the perfect blend of “fitted” but “not too tight” – the proverbial Goldilocks of denim.

All that frequent wear and washing over the years made them so soft and smooth that it felt good to slip them on day after day. They were the jeans that never once judged me when I covertly unbuttoned them beneath the hem of my shirt after eating too many chips with queso.

They walked with me through thick and thin until they wore so thin that they began to vaporize in the most unfortunate spot. So, I went online to order a pair exactly like them, only to find the one word I never wanted to see: “DISCONTINUED.” Not just out of stock but out of existence. Forever. You can imagine my shock. Sometime during the pandemic, the manufacturer ditched denim entirely and switched to sweatpants and joggers.

So now I have to find the same kind of denim chemistry with a new pair. But blue jeans are like snowflakes. Even the same brand, style, and size can fit differently from one pair to the next.

Ordinarily, I’d love an excuse to go shopping, but looking for jeans is a unique form of misery, second only to swimsuit shopping. It’s like dental surgery minus the laughing gas. There’s no laughing when you’re stuck in a poorly lit dressing room with a pile of denim rejects. At least the dentist is kind and doesn’t make me feel bad about myself. But there’s no way to numb the sharp disappointment of leaving empty-handed after trying on a half dozen pairs of jeans that have made you question your life choices.

Even online shopping makes me miss my true-blue buddies. Despite their age and the R-rated hole, my old jeans were high-rise, slim-fit classics. No wide-leg nonsense or funky flares or jeggings hijinks. Just jeans, plain and simple.

Speaking of choices, why did scientists figure out how to clone sheep but not the perfect pair of broken-in, aged-to-perfection blue jeans? No offense to sheep, but I think we know which one the world needs more of.

So, I ask you, dear readers, is there a way to perform CPR — crotchal patch resuscitation — on the best pair of jeans I’ve ever known? Is there a tailor in the house?

If not, I’ll fold them lovingly for the last time and place them in their final resting place, thanking them for their years of service. Goodbye, old friend. Of all the jeans in all the world, you were my perfect fit.

Gwen Rockwood is a syndicated freelance columnist. Email her at Her book is available on Amazon. 

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