When I was 14, I desperately wanted a pair of jeans. I had never worn a pair before then. My dad was against them and said, “Only gangsters wear jeans.”
With my dad pleading, crying and throwing tantrums never worked. The silent treatment didn’t work either because he believed anyone under 30 shouldn’t talk too much anyway – so that always backfired.
What did work were written requests in letter or essay form. He loved those. So I did just that. Wrote him a letter titled, “Why I NEED jeans,” one day and left it on his pillow just before school.
A week passed and there was no mention of it. That drove me crazy but I knew him well enough to not pester him. This is very hard when you’re 14 and believe that the root of all your social problems in school is because you’re the only one who doesn’t wear jeans.
10 days later, I came home to two things. One of them was a pair of jeans! My very first pair! The other were notes and comments about my writing style which I completely bypassed. I finally had a pair of jeans. My life would be perfect from this point on.
This is a good place to mention these were probably the world’s ugliest jeans. The extreme tapered cut resulted in a very tight leg bottom; so tight around my ankles such that it often felt like it was cutting my circulation. That wasn’t the worst of it. The waist had no belt loops. Instead, there were two wide flap like ropes on either side that I needed to pull to fit my waist, much like a potato sack. The flaps, once pulled, just hung out on either side of my waist and moved about vigorously when I walked. They definitely attracted a lot of attention on a windy day. They could easily have been the world’s noisiest jeans too.
I still wore those jeans every other day for an entire year even though the waist flaps often got caught on door knobs. I hated them, I loved them, they didn’t solve any of my problems. But it was the first time my dad had let go of his stringent rules and taken my opinion into consideration. I had a whole list of letters I intended to leave on his pillow right before school. To me this was a new beginning.