Thursday, November 19, 2009
Last Pants Standing
It started with twenty-four pair.
Black slacks. Tan khakis. Stylish trousers. Sturdy corduroys. Funky pants. Faded jeans.
Call it a riches of britches.
They came in a variety of styles and an assortment of sizes, but they all had one thing in common: they were too small for me to actually wear.
They were hidden all around my bedroom, some in a big plastic tub behind the headboard of my bed, some squirreled away on the top shelf of my closet.
I don’t know how it is for you, but there are two universal truths for me when it comes to pants: (1) as soon as pants get to big for me, I get rid of ‘em and (2) pants that I outgrow, I keep forever.
When I began my latest weight-loss journey this Spring, I also started a game that I affectionately called “Last Pants Standing.” Once a month or so (usually on a quiet Sunday afternoon) I’d pull out the entire pile and try them all on.
The pants that fit, I moved onto hangers in my closet. The rest got put back on the top shelf for another thirty days.
The largest pair of pants that I owned were a 42" waist, but most of them were 40’s. I’ve never been a fan of that 40 number, by the way. My first real weight-loss journey (remember, I’ve yo-yo’ed quite a few times) came when I was eighteen or so and my mother Shirley was buying me some work pants for a new job. I had just grabbed a pair of 38’s like I always did, by my mom insisted I try them on.
I still remember that sinking feeling of being in that dressing room and trying to stuff my gushing gut into those too-small slacks. I came out to get approval from the boss, who simply shook her head and handed me the dreaded 40’s.
It devastated me, and it didn’t help that my father Horace really laid in with the jokes. I remember we were having pizza that night for dinner, and I wouldn’t have any. I skipped dinner altogether that night, as I recall. That was the start of my first effective weight-loss journey, but unfortunately it wasn’t the end of the 40" trousers.
Which brings me back to those twenty-four pair, teasing me from the top shelf.
Each month, the pile comes down, and a slightly smaller pile goes back up.
Twenty-four down, eighteen back up.
Eighteen day, eleven back up.
Eleven down, five back up.
Now the 40’s are long gone and the 38’s have been retired as well. There are some 36’s still in my closet, but I’m mostly in 34's these days.
What started with 24 pair is now down to just two, a pair of 33" waist Eddie Bauer dress slacks (the EB ones always seem to run a little smaller, I noticed) and my a brand-new still-tagged pair of 32" Levi jeans.
I bought those jeans years and years ago, and they were my “goal” jeans. I never came close to being able to wear them; I’m not even sure why I bought ‘em, except, well… hope springs eternal, I guess.
This week, I tried on the dress slacks and they were still too small to close the clasp. I was about to just throw ‘em back up on the shelf and go about my business, but I had a “what the hell?” moment and grabbed the jeans (which I usually don’t even bother to try on ). I guess I just wanted to see how much work was left to do, now that I was coming to the end of the road.
I slipped the jeans on and pulled them up. I took a deep breath and pulled them to close. It wasn’t exactly what you’d call a perfect fit, but I buttoned them up and stood there dumbfoundedly gazing at myself in the mirror.
I couldn’t, in good conscience, move those 32’s off the top shelf, but I will one day very soon.