"Why don't they just do this with women's jeans, anyway?" asked Rob.
I shrugged. "Women are used to being oppressed, I guess," I replied. "Hell, if the men's jeans had sizing like the women's then guys would just go shopping with a friggin' Uzi. Nobody wants to see that kind of carnage in the Wal-Mart."
"So, what are we looking for?" he asked, getting down to business.
I wasn't quite sure, but I seemed to remember that Charlie wore a 36x30, and that I could fit into those all right. Of course, that was before I lost weight and gained some of it back, so who knows.
"How about we start with 30 waist and go from there," suggested Rob. Rob seems to think I'm smaller than I actually am, God bless him.
"Uh ... maybe 32," I offered. I grabbed a 32x32, a 34x30, and a 36x30 just in case. "Let me go try these on and try to get a baseline."
I carried my findings back to the dressing room.
It soon became apparent that 32 was a no-go, and that 30 was the correct length. 36 waist was a bit too large, and 34 wasn't really too small, but was snugger than I liked. I decided that 34x30 "relaxed fit" or 36x30 "regular fit" was probably what we were looking for. I started to feel better almost immediately. The choices in men's jeans were, after all, fewer and much more reliable than the women's, so I had to find something.
I came back out and informed Rob of our new criteria: boot-cut, 34x30 relaxed or 36x30 regular. We looked around for awhile, when something occurred to me. "Hey, Rob," I said, "do they even MAKE men's jeans with boot cut?"
"Of course they do," he said. "Um, I think they do."
We kept looking, but were not finding boot cut. Maybe it was just a girl thing. After some time, Rob sang out in triumph, "Here we go! Boot cut!"
My spirits lifted a bit, and I went over to examine the find.
I shouldn't have gotten my hopes up.
"Rob, these are low-rise," I pointed out, bravely keeping my voice from breaking.
Rob looked a bit crestfallen, and examined the jeans as though hoping to see a different label. "Oh," he said. "Yeah. Sorry." He put them back, and I took a deep breath and regarded the stacks again.
"Okay, well, maybe we can do without the boot-cut," I said.
Rob looked at me reproachfully.
"Hey, dammit, I just want a pair of jeans, man! This is getting crazy! At this point, I'll settle for just something that fits!"
"Okay, okay." Rob went back to the search.
I won't go into detail about what followed. It's still too painful to think about. Suffice it to say that nothing was quite right. I even tried on a pair of jeans that were so stiff they could practically stand up by themselves. Those were about the closest we came fit-wise, but they were so godawful uncomfortable, I just couldn't bring myself to buy them.
"I'll bet if you dumped a bottle of Downy in there, they'd soften up," offered Rob hopefully.
"No. No way. That's it. We're done." I'd had it.
"Aw, come on, there's still a few more we could ..."
"NO!" I said a bit too forcefully, making curious heads turn toward us. I lowered my voice a bit. "No, seriously, man, that's it. We are so done here."
We wandered up to the checkout stand, where I bought some batteries. Hell, at least I had something to show for the last hour and a half. I almost gave up, but it was at this point that the decision was made to make it a personal mission.
"So, where do you want to try next?" asked Rob.
I thought it over. There was one place that had seldom let me down. I could almost always find something there. And it was cheap too! "Let's hit Ross," I said.
And just like that, we were off.
[to be continued here]