Much to my surprise, we found all-one-color, boot-cut, normal-rise jeans in my actual size (well, what we thought was my actual size, which is to say, somewhere between 8 and 12) almost immediately. Laden with an armload of them, I trudged off to the dressing room to try them on.
The first pair, not bad, but still a bit "meh."
The second pair, ditto.
By the third pair, I was starting to have second thoughts about the whole thing.
By the fourth pair, I had something of an epiphany, chose a pair at random from the ones I'd tried on, and returned to where Rob waited patiently -- okay, not so patiently and with, I'm sure, an inordinate amount of sighing and eye-rolling, but let's just pretend he was patient -- by the jeans rack.
I handed him several pairs of jeans to put back, keeping the one I'd decided to buy.
"So, you found one, huh?" he greeted me.
"Yeaaaahhh," I said slowly.
"What, did you just decide to settle for something 'cause you're tired of looking or do those really fit?" he asked curiously.
I sighed. "No, they fit fine."
"Are they comfortable?"
"Yeah, they're comfortable."
"So why do you have that kicked puppy-dog look on your face then?" Rob asked, exasperated.
I sighed again. "Well, I figured something out in there, when I was trying on the last few pairs."
"And...?" he prompted.
"The problem isn't with the jeans. The jeans are fine," I replied. "In fact, probably most of the jeans were fine."
I paused and took a deep breath. "I just now figured it out. It's my body IN the jeans that I don't like!"
It was, sadly, true. Granted, I'd had my doctors urging me to gain weight for over a year. After many months of trying to eat more and put the weight I'd lost due to illness back on, I'd finally succeeded and was where I was "supposed" to be. But you know, I'd gotten so used to being skinny enough to just grab whatever and look like the pictures in the catalogs, it was something of a shock to be back to a more normal size. I had curves again, not just a pair of hipbones to hang some jeans off. I actually had, as the song says, "back." Even though I felt like I looked healthier, and better overall, well -- the catalogs and magazines didn't have people that looked like me on them, or at least, not the me with the extra weight.
The end result was, I just didn't look "right" to myself. However, recognizing that what I thought I "should" look like was, unfortunately, unhealthy, I decided to just grab some jeans and deal with it, hoping that my body image issues would work themselves out somehow.
Rob looked at me for a minute. "Uh, can't help you there," he said.
"Yeah, I know. And there's not really a lot I can do about that, so I figured I'd better just go with what fit and was comfortable."
We put the rest of the jeans away, and walked in silence over to the checkout stand to pay. The mission, as it was, was complete: I had obtained jeans that fit. I made a mental note that next time, perhaps I should add "and that I like the way they look" into the mission parameters. For now, however, it was accomplished.
And hey -- I got some fuzzy jammies out of the deal, so it's not all bad, right?
The conventional wisdom in women's wear is this: if you find something that fits, don't just buy that one thing. Rather, stock up on several in the same size by the same manufacturer immediately. This goes for shoes, sweaters, dresses, skirts, and especially -- ESPECIALLY! -- jeans. Unfortunately, I'd forgotten this crucial bit of wisdom when I'd bought the one pair of jeans that I liked over a year ago. During our quest, I'd searched for the same manufacturer in the same style and size, but to no avail.
I was sitting at home, a bit bummed out over the whole jeans-shopping experience, when it suddenly hit me. One word, one tiny little word that could have saved me this entire miserable experience! One thing that could have made this all irrelevant and unnecessary. One thing so important and yet so common that I hadn't even thought of it.
I'm speaking, of course, of eBay.
I was horrified that I hadn't thought of this simple solution before! It was like not noticing that I'd measured the recipe for the sushi rice wrong until after making up an entire batch of it! What the hell was wrong with me?
I beat myself up mentally for a few minutes, before giving up and pulling up eBay on the web.
Tentatively, I typed in "Jones New York Sport jeans" and waited for the results. Sure enough, not only did several pairs appear, but they were all in the exact size and style of my own favorite pair! I could have avoided this entire debacle just by using eBay in the first place. Dammit. DAMMIT!
I stared at the screen for a few minutes, thinking of all the horror I could have missed. The hours in the dressing rooms, trying on pair after pair. The despair of seeing how nothing seemed to fit quite right. The agony of going out and trying again, all the while knowing that it would probably be an exercise in futility.
I took a deep breath and shrugged. After all, adversity builds character, right? Sure. Sure it does.
I hit a few Buy-it-Now buttons.
My new jeans should be here in a week.
Next time, I promised myself, next time, it would be eBay FIRST and damn the retail establishment!
I just hope I remember that next year when jeans shopping season comes again.