I'm not your bitch, don't hang your shit on me.

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Package pants

The pants are hanging on one of the racks near the check out counter, by the back of the store. I’ve seen them there before and didn’t try them on because I didn’t have the time (or the patience) since H&M is always full of people and it’s hard to get a change room when they’re busy. Now, I do. I walk over to the rack and start to move the hangers so I can get a better look at the pants.

They’re made of brown tweed with black flecks. The fabric is wool and doesn’t feel cheap and flimsy. Also, they’re lined, which eliminates the scratchy feeling associated with many wool fibres. They’re flat front, with a straight leg, and a small cuff on the bottom. Let’s hope they look as good on me as they do on the hanger.

The tags are mostly hidden, or missing, from the pants, so I’m digging inside the waistband to look for the sizes. Success! There are small sizes, which is uncommon since most stores carry mid-to-large sizes because they sell more of them. I pull out a 30 and 31 (they don’t have any 28s) and make my way towards the change rooms.

The line-up isn’t excessively long at this time of day, probably because most of the tweens and teens are still in school. But, for some reason, the shoppers insist on bringing 10 different articles of clothing into the room at one time. I don’t understand why since they never buy anything and always use the insipid excuse of “nothing fits” when they throw their fashion rejects to the change room attendant.

By the time I get to the front of the line, both the attendant and I look exhausted (and a tad irritated). Out of a feeling of camaraderie, he asks me how many pairs I have slung over my right arm and ushers me into the disable change room. There are immediate stares from some of the other shoppers, but I don’t care. I thank him and give him a smile.

Once inside the rather spacious room, I throw off my mitchel onto the wooden bench, and undo the top button of my jeans. I walk towards the pants, hung up on the brushed silver knobs and look for the 31. It’s always a good idea to try on the larger size if you know they’ll be too large – instant boost of self-confidence.

After the shoes are slipped off my feet and the jeans peeled off my legs, I take the pants off the hanger and try them on. Before doing a little turn in front of the three-sided mirror, I know they’re too large. I don’t even bother slipping on my shoes. It’s not that they look terrible, but I can stick my hand down my pants and still have room for hard-cover book.

Off go the 31s and on go the 30s.

When I slip on the other pair of pants, the first thing I notice is they’re slimmer. Not by much, but it is noticeable. After pulling up the zipper and latching the clip, I look up at the mirror, and pull my shirt up to see the waistband. They fit quite well on my waist. The tweedy wool has a nice weight and falls nicely, with a little break over my shoe.

As I take a few steps towards the mirror I do a little turn. Even my butt looks good. Normally, designers tend to cut pants with too much fabric, as if every man is carrying a wide load. H&M know their customers are more body-conscious and wouldn’t approve of being able to insert a watermelon in their backside.

But, there’s something wrong with the pants when I turn around. It’s a bump, like a distinct fold. I brush my hand down the fabric and realize what it is. I begin to laugh. The sound echoes and bounces off the walls and high ceilings of the change room.

“Oh my God. Is that what I think it is?!” I brush the fabric once more to make sure and begin to laugh again.

“I can’t wear these out in public. They’re indecent!”

I turn around in front of the mirror a few more times, agape at the reflection.

“If the world didn’t know my religion then, they sure as hell do now.”

It’s not that the pants look awful. Quite the opposite. They look really good on me, as if they were custom-made. The only problem is they show my malehood to the extend that I should be walking around with a large, black bar in front of my crotch. They’re package pants.

A few more turns in front of the mirror justfies my answer: I can’t buy these pants. If I did, I couldn’t wear them in public.

The shoes are unslipped, I unlatch the clip, undo the zipper, and pull off the pants. I hang both of them up on their hangers, as they were before (working in retail for years makes me appreciate all the work that goes into presenting the product). My jeans come back on as well as my shoes. I throw on my mitchel, pick up the pants on the hooks, and walk out of the change room.

“So, how were the pants?” asks the attendant.

“They didn’t fit,” I say, knowing they fit too well.

I pass off the two hangers to him and he smiles. He knows I must’ve worked in retail before because they’re perfectly hung and folded on the clips.

To be honest, I do like the pants. Very much, so. But, I don’t know if I’d be comfortable telling everyone that I was a Catholic even without opening my mouth.