Skinny Legs and All

Skinny Leg Jeans

Skinny Leg Jeans

March is here. Today is St. Patrick’s Day, Sunday is the first day of spring, and tomorrow night is the university ball.

If you have never had the pleasure of going to a Czech ball, you should put this on your bucket list. Czech balls are what would happen if an American prom, a church picnic, and Caligula had a love child at a hunting lodge. Click here for more on Czech balls.

As much as I enjoy the ball, it does drudge up a bit of stress for me. While drinking is encouraged, blacking out and falling down are not. I will be in a room with dozens of students at the same time and not all of them like me. I really want to win something at the raffle.

And I have to dress up.

Every year, the day before the ball I dig into my closet and find the suit. It’s not even my suit, it’s the suit that a friend left behind that lives in my closet. It sort of fit me. An inch too long in the legs, an inch too tight in the waist. Though I overlooked these misfits, I probably looked like a guy who had left himself in the dryer just a bit too long.

This year is different. I have dropped a good deal of my belly, which means I feel better and look better. I don’t sweat during exerting activities such as blinking or mailing letters anymore. However, none of my clothes fit anymore. This is great, but makes me look like a boy who snuck into his dad’s closet and played dress up.

So, for the first time since I got accepted to prep school, I go suit shopping. And since I have the fashion sense of a Chinese communist party member, I need a partner in crime. And that is where Marketa comes in.

Marky is young and smart and possesses a fashion sense. She is also my friend and will make sure that I don’t go to the ball looking like Willy Wonka. Which is exactly what I’d do if I were left to my own devices.

We start at Marks and Spencer where most of the suits are “slim fit.” Though I have lost weight, I can’t imagine that I would fit into “slim” anything. I try one or two of the jackets and they are too snug.

We head off to H&M, and one or two other places. The shops are booming with the shopping people. I have never been one of these people. I like people who enjoy shopping for books and food, who like a good shot and a beer; those are my people. These people are different. They have fauxhawks, furry collars, designer T-shirts so ugly I wouldn’t clean my toilet with them, pre-sliced jeans that cost more than my computer, Gucci sunglasses (at 7 pm), and shiny man-purses.

It’s Friday night and I try to fit myself into the brain of people who would rather be shopping now than out at a pub or in a restaurant. I wonder if I can do it, if I can understand the shopping people. While I try, Marky and I have a good time making intense fun of them. We stop only to discuss more pressing matters, namely which pub we’ll go to after one more stop.

By the time we reach Zara, Marky and I have made two goals: to find a suit not labelled “slim fit,” and then to get to a pub as quickly as possible. “Slim fit” has become the phrase of the evening.

Zara is trendy; Zara is filled with the shopping people. The term “slim fit” is ubiquitous. It’s on everything. It’s to the point that I truly wonder if there is an epidemic of slimness afoot.

Finally, Marky chooses two slim fits and drapes them over my forearm. And just like my mom did when we shopped for my prep school suit, Marky points me to the nearest fitting room and waits outside.

I slip on the pants and immediately realize the pants are skinny legged. Not slim fit, but skinny-legged pants. As in pants with very skinny legs. If you consort with a youngish demographic, then you have seen these things. These are jeans (and pants) that look sort of like stockings with pockets and a zipper. They grip the wearers legs tightly and if they are worn by a man, they display his shortcomings to the world around him.

There is some triumph in the fact that I actually fit into this “slim fit” suit, but I look ridiculous. The men in my family have been fitted with short, thick, Hobbitt-like legs, and as a result none of us have ever fit into something or looked reasonable in something which had skinny legs.

I look like an elf and I feel like an elf. I push open the curtain and share this with Marky. She winces, orders me to take them off immediately. I close the curtain.

As I peel off the pants, I can’t conceive of a thought process that would result in someone with a penis buying skinny legged pants. But then I understand that these are the precise sort of pants the shopping people would buy. And a little wiser, a little humbled, I understand that trying to understand the shopping people would be wrong. They are not my people.

We put the suits back on the slim fit shelf, and run to a pub to be with our people.

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