It was touching, yet intrusive, all at the same time.
On one hand the act was thoughtful and beyond reasonable spousal expectation. On another, it proved a little uncomfortable that such personal, delicate information was retrieved in a manner that can only be seen as invasive. Some secrets a girl just wants to keep to herself.
It started with the opening of a gift. The satisfaction on my husband’s face was tangible, maybe even somewhat smug. He squirmed in anticipation as I slowly undid the wrapping paper adorned with homemade bow, an abstract concoction that only he could mastermind. While opening the box, I glanced at my spouse, who looked as self-assured as I can ever remember, and I held up the item that brought pure, unadulterated joy.
It really is quite sinful that a single article of clothing should invoke such happiness. My first venture into the world of denim delight occurred in the fifth grade when Gloria Vanderbilt released the fancy pants with the curious swan on the back pocket. Consequential years introduced Jordache and Calvin Klein, which I accessorized cleverly with various colors of high top Reeboks, exuding a misleading confidence in an outfit complete with the spiral perm that caused kinky hair to sprout all over my head.
I am nothing, if not a fashion icon.
During adolescent years, it was more about the brand name than the bottom fit. As a gravity fighting adult, it became about jeans that disguised, lifted, or transformed the God-given flaws I hope to find explanation for in Heaven. Reasonable priced outlets like Gap and Banana Republic assisted in this area, but I always found that their shape lasted about as long as the hamper basket remains empty in my laundry-ridden home.
Oh, then, I discovered a pair of jeans that melted away all the swiss cake rolls previously eaten, all the cheetos consumed by the handfuls, all the cookie dough devoured straight out of the package.
I was shopping with my friend Kara in a boutique that I only dared visit during the end of the year clearance sale. The sales lady followed me around the store, with a pair of jeans hanging off the crook of one arm and an evil tape measure in the other, imploring me to try on the item that she felt would transform my current look.
(In my defense, my children were very young and very needy, and the elastically challenged sweatpants I happened to be wearing were from the designer rack at TJ Maxx. Stained and worn out, but designer nonetheless.)
It seemed as though the lady had singled me out, and the other customers were beginning to notice my new tag along friend. She became more emphatic, her voice increasingly high pitched, and I had little choice but to take the item offered, mercifully ending the retail crescendo that was certain to attract all neighborhood dogs.
A little miracle happened in the dressing room. I pulled back the curtain, stepped onto a platform facing the way too truthful mirror, and time seemed to stop. Faintly, I could hear angels singing in the background.
Not only were the jeans a perfect fit, but also somehow, they had magically replaced the body that had birthed three children with the figure of someone who had not yet experienced the unfortunate shift of the coxal bone - a maternity dance I like to call the hipbone shuffle.
The jeans, as the devil would have it, were not a part of the clearance sale. I paid a kajillion dollars for denim, an impulsive purchase that was spurred on by the waistline wonder that had occurred before my very eyes.
I immediately called my husband to confess the impetuosity with which I had treated the credit card. He was very understanding, stating that he wanted me to have nice clothes, adding sweetly, “I mean it’s not like you spent a $100, is it?”
“Joni, are you still there?”
The second mortgage I procured to purchase those jeans prevented me from buying an additional pair in the following years. I also knew that there needed to be some distance between my husband’s memory of the obscene price and the resulting heart palpitations. While John is a talented physician, he hasn’t quite mastered the skill of giving CPR to himself.
Those jeans have been with me now for over five years. While they show a little wear, the shape and function have held up remarkably well. I have tried other brands, but none have quite lived up to the performance of the miracle jeans I was introduced to on the platform years before.
The fact remains that these hips can only be tamed by the best of denim.
In the days leading up to Christmas this year, my husband began the search for the jeans that years ago had instigated renewed confidence in me and uncomfortable chest pains in him. Scientific by nature, John knew that the task before him would require a gathering of evidence to support the denim concept, including abstractions of observable phenomena expressed as quantifiable properties that he would then coincide with scientific laws that convey the relationship between said observations.
In layman terms, my husband looked carefully at the inside of the waistband to find the brand, style, and size of jeans I considered my soulmate and then located that exact pair using the World Wide Web. Eureka!
It has taken me a bit to get past the idea that my jean size is now swimming around in a brain that houses other important information like symptoms of Hypercholesterolemia and the latest stats of his Fantasy Football team. But the joy of being reunited with a pair of jeans that have mercy on my waistline inadequacies makes up for any feelings of discomfort experienced.
Really, I have never loved my husband more. Now, if he could only find me a pair of pink, high-top Reeboks.