duck-shaped pain


7 October 2002
Me and the dreaded 27 inches.

Today, I have been in the thrall of Advanced Pants-Related Happiness. It's an odd feeling, really. There are so many things out there that should provide the same effect, but fail: chicken burritos for lunch, being charged 54 cents instead of the usual 81 cents for your morning coffee refill, learning a bizarre Spanish verb tense [1] that doesn't really correspond to any English verb tense, parking in the shady spot on the nicest street closest to campus. Nope -- I'm relying on pants these days.

The pants that thrill are in actuality, sort of plain. They're a dull, army-green, with the usual assortment of pockets. Straight-cut legs that please instead of ones that taper in evilly, starting at the knee and resulting in tiny ankle holes.

Pants, especially new pants, especially dark green pants that look sort of skater-y, sort of outdoors-y (as these do) are exciting to me because they are such a struggle to find. Because although I am a reasonably tall 5'8", I have the inseam of a hunched-over, 4'10" grandmother. All pants are too long for me, at least normal pants. Which is why I look forward to summer, and prematurely bemoan the passing of cropped pants from the stores: at least with them, I have pants that are not too long.

Every fall, it is the same thing. I hunt and hunt and hunt for pants that I can wear without tripping over. Sometimes I am lucky, and find normal pants in normal departments that suit my tiny, stubby legs. But more often than not, I try on umpteen pairs of pants, often ones that have legs so long that my feet can't even find their way out of the bottom of them. I am left standing in the dressing with yards of cloth pooling on the floor by my invisible feet.

This weekend, with fall approaching fast, I decided I needed some appropriate pants, since all the pants I have are very summery, made out of paper-thin, easily wrinkled fabric. But finding pants in my size, in a short length, is difficult. I went to many places, and researched many pants. I found petite-length pants that were too long for me and absurd woolen knickers. Short, yes, but I am not a ten-year-old boy circa 1910. Nor am I in the mood for anything that can be even described as "kicky." Unfortunately, I found little of anything. Pants this year seem to be running extra long, so that people can present the illusion that they do not have feet at all, and if they do, these feet are clad in my other fashion nightmare: tiny pointy little shoes with high, toothpick-wide heels.

At this point, Pants Hunt 2002 was going nowhere, so I even deigned to go into the scary plus-size clothing store where all the clothing is embroidered, where no possible inch of fabric is free from being covered with embroidered cats or apples or lighthouses (a popular motif here in the desert) or shit like that. They, at times, make their pants short. I located the short pants, which were much too long and made me look like a middle-aged repressed schoolteacher. Which was incredibly depressing.

As you can guess by the pants-addled bliss in which I began this entry, I did eventually find some pants. At Wal-Mart, of all places. I stopped in just for pen refills and walked out with three pairs of pants which are the right length and somehow managed to be exactly what I wanted out of pants. They don't make me look old or dumpy or scary or incredibly unproportioned in the ass area. And they were a whopping $13 a pair. So what if they don't last long? I have pants!

[1] The present progressive.

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