Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Lagerfeld Shmagerfeld

My fashion sense is for shit, which is strange because I lived in New York for years so you’d think some of that style would’ve sunk into me like the cool osmosis of a contact high.  I’m a jeans & t-shirt guy, or button-down to give me some sense of semi-accomplished man.  Sometimes I feel like an orthodox Jew who wears the same thing everyday with no sense of what decade we’re in.  Rumor has it that Einstein streamlined his wardrobe to free his mind to ponder the ponderous and not get weighed down in materialism.  Other than that, not much we have in common.  

I’m a deeply menacing 5’5” (5’6” with Jewfro) with an average build, yet shirts nor pants fit upon purchase.  Every item must be hemmed to fit my laughably non-standardized human body.   This makes shopping a challenge. 

I’ve usually stocked up on t-shirts at The Gap, mainly because the 3 for $20 is a bargain during unemployment stints.  Or perhaps because I clumsily rationalized that t-shirts “hand-crafted” in Asia, by Asians, are closer to Jew-size.  That was before American Apparel made shirts that feel dreamily akin to an afternoon on a floating Maldives cabana after making love with a beautiful fiancé for the 9th time with the glow of her perfect infinite smile laced deep into my soul.   I’m single, can you tell?  

Gap t-shirts fit so well I dared extend my range to the jeans.  I asked this cute sales girl why the 31W / 28L combo is such a rarity?  Cute Sales Girl said I shouldn’t compare myself to others “because I was handsome and perfect for my size.”  The movie in my head took a twist and I thought if we fall in love I could piggyback on her 40% discount.  Then she said you should try Gap Kids – the boys jeans might fit better.  How I went from her bedroom to stroller in 3 seconds still astounds me. 

Adult male MANnequins at The Gap looked cool, put-together.  They knew how to layer and were always looking off into a vague nearby paradise.   But they glared at me like I snuck into the party.  The BOYequins in Gap Kids were friendly, adorable, like the perfect miniature husbands that wives and moms dream to have. 

In Gap Kids, I noticed my brain beseech the BOYequins for the sartorial counsel I was missing as a single guy without a lover.  I wanted to believe that moms shop there because they have enough control over their little boys to costume them the way they wish they could their husbands.

{Confession: I’m currently a single guy who has a list of childrens’ names in my wallet because everyday I dream of being a dad - but this story was a while ago when getting laid was higher priority.}

Like a non-dog-owner in a dog park, sometimes it got a bit weird.  
Most conversations with the Gap Kids moms started like this:

MOM: How old is your little boy?

ME: Um, I’m actually here for myself.

MOM: Really?  But you’re…

ME: An adult, I know. 

To smooth out the awkwardness I’d ask a question about layering, if denim really does match with everything, or with one mom this happened:

MOM: How old is your little boy?

ME: Um, I’m actually here for myself.

MOM: Really?  But you’re…

ME: An adult, I know.  (Beat)  How do you feel about zippers versus button-fly jeans?

Of course my innocent inquiry went misunderstood.  She felt ambushed, as if I was preying upon her in neutral territory like the innocent waterhole that is Gap Kids.  As much as my Youporn search terms might indicate I dig Milfs, on strict principle I never hit on married women.  

A million times worse, one mom bizarrely fretted over the specter of the criminally fucked up P-word (pedophilia).   Because I was in Gap Kids looking for boy-jeans?   I was mortified until an older saleswoman came to my rescue and told me that some of these moms are irrationally overprotective and she was surprised that that mom didn’t have one of those allegedly child-friendly leashes on her kid.  I don’t have any children (that I know of) but I’d instantly fire the putz that licensed the patent on those leashes.   

Yet a few moms pitied me because it was “cute” that I was in Gap Kids, as a grown man, trying on kids jeans.  A few even generously opined on how the jeans fit after I tried them on in those little dressing rooms built for little kids NOT GROWN MEN.

Overall, I felt like I Gary Coleman’ed myself in search of the perfect fit.   After two shopping sessions on separate days and many memorable conversations later, thankfully kids jeans don’t fit.  Gap Kids wasn’t the denim Shangri-La I dreamt of.   At 37, my jeans saga persists and I’m still stuck somewhere between any jeans store and the nearest tailor shop. 

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