“Those are the tightest jeans I’ve ever seen on a man,” my then-roommate Josh told me one day in our kitchen, circa 2008. Far from an insult, I was pleased by his assessment.
For years my sartorial choices broached a common gender assumption that dudes should not be wearing pants that seemed lifted from their girlfriend’s closet. Yet there I stood, my lower torso crammed into red jeans, a peculiar frame from a discarded Wes Anderson film.
A recent paper in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry broke character and elaborated on the physical trauma a woman’s skinny jeans inflicted on her legs. As a man with robust thigh muscles, I can personally testify to what should be the glaringly obvious constraints of skinny jeans.
You will say goodbye to the following activities:
• Climbing stairs too fast
• Bending over
• Being asked if you know what the score is on the big game playing on the bar’s television
• Doing kung-fu moves on the dance floor
• Approaching a member of the opposite sex without a palpable cloud of reservation about whether you are going to flirt with them or trade fashion tips
You will say hello to these new activities:
• Learning to saunter (not run) in public
• Doubling the time it takes you to get dressed
• Scouring undergarment racks in department stores to find a pair that does not leave a visible line
• Mastering the knee-bend-leg-prop against the wall look because that’s the extent of your range of motion
• Being asked for a lighter (constantly)
• Being suddenly enlisted as a confidant for women looking to try out new clothing
During the years in which I cultivated my perfect storm of shoulder-length hair and genital-gripping denim, it wasn’t necessarily all gravy. There is a seedier side of the fashion coin that I was exposed to:
• Being constantly eye-banged or leered at by both sexes in public
• People doing double-takes when I walked out of the men’s restroom
• Rolling the dice at the supermarket checkout line on whether I’d be called miss or ma’am
• Men at rest stops knocking on the bathroom stalls adjoining mine
• Being asked if I knew where to find (insert the name of any drug)
• Girlfriends daring me to fit into their jeans and then not talking to me for hours after I succeeded
Sure, skinny jeans are the enduring fashion accoutrement, leapt upon for their constant reminder that you still look good, possibly better than your peers. However, as I get older, I realize that it’s not out of the question to look good, if not better, in a solid pair of slacks and a shirt with buttons and fabric that cover the full length of your arms (goodbye tank tops). More tangibly, the prospect of siring children is a possibility I don’t want lopped off by a slow-motion denim guillotine ...