They’re browner. And they don’t really reach my shoe tops. When I go like this, they do. But I’m not going to go like that all day. My posture is bad enough as it is.
It’s too bad because it’s late. I’m already at the bus stop and the bus is coming. Walk home to change pants at this point and my whole day is off. But then, so are these pants.
They’re a little tighter. The only brown belt I have goes one extra hole. They flare like a pair of pants I used to have that I never wore. They looked and felt great until you got out into the sunlight and you realized just how shit-colored they actually were. They needed just the right kind of anti-shit-colored shirt. And frankly, no such thing exists. So they hung in the closet and once in awhile in a blind grab I’d put them on by mistake and then stand there in the mirror wincing. Too shit colored.
But these aren’t those. These have a nice sheeny brown to them that I’ve never seen before. They wear nice, they’re just a touch short. Worse, they’re not mine. They are no doubt the product of reverse thievery. People I don’t know breaking into my house to hang pants in my closet.
Did I grow two inches overnight?
I may have simply reached that time of life my Uncle did. He’d see a great sale on coats and find this incredible full-length camel’s hair winter coat for half price just his size and run up to the cashier with that certain light in his eyes–can’t believe your luck!–that kind of light. And he’d purchase it at a great discount and take it home to hang it in his closet for next winter and discover that there were two exact replicas of that same camel’s hair coat, unworn and just bought from previous years, hanging there waiting for him to wear them. Or for the California winter to reach freezing. That’s the worse part, I think. He grew up in Chicago but had lived in LA for 30 years. Maybe one day a year on a cold day he could wear a camel’s hair coat.
My mother was the opposite. She became a schlump in her old age. She had been a very handsome and well-dressed middle-aged lady, but she just got bored with it all–the stockings, the shoes (her collection rivaled Imelda Marcos’), the sleek dresses. She had a great figure ’til the day she died when it shrunk a little. But she reached an age where she just couldn’t be bothered with any of it. I think there was a freedom of sorts in this. The rules of ladyhood just didn’t apply to her anymore. For us though, it was a little disconcerting. One day, she went from Chanel to ripped jeans. Like that.
For me the rules still apply. I like getting dressed, looking nice at work. I don’t do it for others, I do it for me. I like picking a tie, a shirt, a pair of pants, socks, a sport coat. I like putting them all together until they make something of me. And that’s exactly the process I followed today, but these aren’t my pants.
I know what you’re thinking. Either this guy is crackers, why am I reading this, or this is too close to home I’d better check the tag on my underwear they’re feeling tight.
But wearing these pants feels wrong. I didn’t buy them, I’ve never seen them, I don’t know how they got in my closet. I’d never wear trousers without pleats. These are pleat-less. And there’s something yellow in my tan shoes that just doesn’t jibe with these bluish-brown pants. It feels like I’m in a clown show. Floppy shoes, a big polka dot tie. I might as well paint my face.
Every day is different they say. You’re never exactly the same person from day to day. But today’s me is wearing stupid pants.
So clearly, today’s me is just going to have to suck it up. Stay away from mirrors and reflective store windows and forget about the pants. It’s not about the pants. The day it becomes about the pants, you’re in trouble. No deep problem can get solved with pants. But geez these are ugly. They hang on me like a jib sail in the horse latitudes.
Look. I’m older now. I know the secret of hats. When I was younger I could never wear hats. Because I was always looking in the mirror, waiting for the hat to become cool on my head. It never did. So if it couldn’t become cool on my head in the mirror, I couldn’t make it become cool as I walked around town.
Now I know. The point of a cool hat is the jaunt. It’s spirit. It’s faith. It’s not “Am I cool?” as you walk the streets. It’s “Aren’t I cool. I am so effing cool. I define cool. Look at me.”
So that’s what I have to do with these pants. Pathetic choice that they are. Eschew mirrors. Believe in cool. Walk with a spring in my step like I’m fucking Donald Trump. And dare anyone to call them ugly. They’re not. They’re beautiful. Beautiful short brown pants without all those horrible pleats. I’m gorgeous. You don’t have to tell me how good I look. I know it. I own it. John Gielgud. Laurence Olivier…
But these aren’t my pants.