"Papacito, you don't need relaxed-fit jeans. Have you lost weight or something?"
For me, someone who has wrestled with a weight problem my entire life, clothes-shopping has always been an exercise in desperation and denial. Even as a preteen I was always trying to convince my mother and the salesperson at our local clothier, Meyer's, that I didn't need to limit my choices to the clothes in the "Husky" section of the store.
For the last 20 years I've hated the fact that the only clothing store I could find a wide (pun intended) selection of pants in my size, 46x30, was Rochester Big & Tall. I used to console myself by telling my wife that at Rochester Big & Tall my size was actually for the smallest and shortest of its customers. They barely have any pants with waist sizes lower than 46, I would explain to her, desperation and denial defensively creeping into my voice.
I had bought a bunch of size 44 pants about three months ago, some at Rochester Big & Tall and others from the Land's End catalog, because even size 44 pants can't regularly be found at Banana Republic or the Gap.
But this week, with my weight dipping below 220 and my size 44 relaxed-fit pants falling down with increased regularity, I wandered into the local jeans store a few blocks from Serious Eats world headquarters. It's one of those stores that caters to people my son's age. The music is always blasting there, and the always pleasant salespeople treat anyone over 40 like an indulged grandparent.
I asked for plain-front size 42x30 jeans in both black and blue. My smart and cheeky young Latina saleswoman couldn't have been more helpful. Without her help I had grabbed a couple of pairs of relaxed-fit jeans to try on. I wandered out of the dressing room after slipping into the black jeans. They were borderline falling down, and there was so much extra material in each pants leg it looked like each of my legs was draped with a sail billowing in the breeze.
"Papacito," my knowing salesperson said with a smile. "You don't need relaxed-fit jeans. Have you lost weight or something?" And just like that she went back to the shelves to bring me some regular-fit jeans. Regular-fit jeans. Wow! I was speechless with pride. The jeans you see in the photo here are the jeans she brought me to try on.
After having worn my new regular fit jeans for the last two days non-stop I am feeling pretty confident about my weigh-in, though Robyn and I did eat a more than substantial meal at a restaurant I am going to review shortly. Here we go: 219. Same as last week, but surely not the same as it ever was. Not when I need regular-fit jeans. Papacito, indeed.