Last week I had two pairs of black pants. This week I have none.
If this doesn't seem like a tragedy, please remember that finding pants that fit is nothing short of a miracle given my particular hip-to-waist ratio plus the fact that I have 6' of leg to cover.
Now, this story has it's roots all the way back in my days of working retail. I don't know the average lifespan of a pair of pants in the normal woman's wardrobe, but my husband seems to go through pants with alarming speed. Thankfully, he's a little easier to clothe than I am. Most of the pants* that I currently own are older than my marriage. Having only been married 4.5 years, that's not really that big a deal.
Last week, I had 1 pair of pants at least 10 years old (black), three approximately 6 yr pants (2 the same brand & style, one black, one brown, and a charcoal pair from the same store), one 18 month old pair (tan), and one 6 mo old pair (grey). That was plenty of pants for working. I had more than 5 days worth of work-appropriate pants for the 4 days of the week that I needed such things. All was well with the world. Yes, some of my pants seemed aged, perhaps even approaching "venerable" as far as pants go, but I was content. They all fit reasonably well. Some were getting a little shorter than I like, but not embarrassingly short yet. Some didn't quite fit in the waist or thighs, but it was all pretty good. Decent. Acceptable. I was content in my pantedness.
A few weeks earlier though, it was a whole different story. There was the Great Pantsless Scare of 2011.
The GPS (heh) of 2011 started with the awesome Laundry-Doing Explosion of 2011, which was a multi-week extravaganza culminating in more loads of laundry than I have fingers on one hand being done while I wasn't even home.
A little background information to help you really appreciate the awesomeness of this event. Long ago, in the beginning of our marriage, there were some "rules" about doing chores where in we divided up the things we did and didn't like to do and one of those rules was that one person would do the laundry while the other did the dishes. Not at the actual same time, but rather in the rotation of "chores that always have to be done because we keep eating and wearing clothes" one person would be responsible for one of those tasks and the other task fell to the remaining person. That rule has since gone the way of the dodo. Now, we just do stuff as it needs to be done. Of course, "doing the laundry" means specific things in this house.** It involves transporting clothes from their current location (dirty clothes hamper, basket I have appropriated for dirty clothes because the hamper was full, bathroom/bedroom floor because I couldn't be bothered to transfer them to the afore mentioned locations, etc.) to the washer, putting them in the washing machine, running the washing machine with the appropriate cleaning fluids and the clothes inside, transferring clothes from the washer to the dryer, turning the dryer on with the clothes inside, bringing clean and dry clothes back into the bedroom or living room (also known as the "staging area"). Folding and putting away the laundry is not part of "doing the laundry" and is the sole responsibility of the owner of the clothes because we each have certain ways we like things done and neither of us can keep straight how the other likes it, or what gets folded versus what gets put on hangers and all that.
So... the Laundry-Doing Explosion of 2011 was amazing and awesome for several reasons. First of all, not only did my amazing, intelligent, attractive and sensitive husband do laundry, he also folded MY laundry. Yes, he braved the multitude of rules and regulations that I impose upon my clothing after years in retail to help me out and fold my clothes. What he thought should be hung, he left alone, and that was totally fine. I was giddy over a basket of folded clothes that I hadn't touched since the last time I took them off. What followed were many wonderful days of getting clean, folded clothes out of the basket (because since I didn't do the washing or folding I somehow reasoned with myself that I didn't have to put the clothes in drawers or anything either). I wore some skirts and a cute dress because I saw clean tights on the top of the pile. I didn't wear pants, but I wasn't worried about it. That is until I was worried about it, and I got worried about it when I ran out of cute tights. Then I went in search of pants. I checked my closet, in the pants section.*** No luck. I looked in the pile of clothes that had yet to be put on hangers. No luck. I looked through the dirty clothes, just in case they happened to get overlooked. That happens sometimes, no matter who is doing the laundry. Still no luck. So, I pulled out another skirt and went to the office without cute tights. I came home determined to find my pants and I looked high and low and far and wide and everywhere except in the folded basket, because who folds pants? I mean jeans, sure. But pants? Pants go on hangers. I ranted to my four-legged audience that my husband had stolen, eaten, ruined, hidden and otherwise removed my pants from the plane of existence in which I lived. Finally, I decided that to take my mind off the horrible loss of pants, I'd put away my socks and under things into drawers.
And lo and behold! My pants were there! In the BASKET!! Since my darling, sweet, considerate, talented husband had been not only the do-er of the laundry but a folder of clothes, I certainly wasn't going to complain about his obvious oversight, but I did tell him my pantsless lament.
None of that has anything to do with the death of two pairs of pants in the space of five days, but it is an important part of the state of less-pants-than-I-think-is-appropriate that I find myself in today... in so far as I know the terror of coming up pantsless when a search for clothing begins.
Now, you may have noticed that the oldest of my pants are the black ones. And if you were an astute type person, you may have understood the peril inherent in that fact, since most women wear their black pants like 100 times more often than any other pair.
The strain of wear and tear became just too much to bear for my favorite black pants on Monday. They had a lovely cuff to them, but after all the things they'd seen and done, they just gave up the ghost... and by "ghost" I mean "ability to hold the very fabric of their being together, which is really just fabric because they're pants." Of course, when it came to which particular part of the ghost it was going to give up, it chose a portion that had seen the most... strain and thus became unwearable because I don't believe in showing the public parts of me that aren't freckled and my freckles mostly stop at the knee. Besides, pants that don't cover your thighs sufficiently stop being sufficient. Sadly, they were taken home and put out of their misery.
I had a moment or three of panic when I remembered that I had a very specific need to wear those pants on Fri & Sat as part of a costume for this thing I was doing, and since my vest for said costume was black, I needed black pants. I didn't have time to go shopping beforehand, but I soon realized that I had another pair of black pants, though not as fabulous because they had no cuff, and not as old, but still feeling the strain of my ever-expanding assets. Still, I wore the pants of Friday with no issues and all was well. Saturday, however... well, thankfully I have friends who will tell me when I'm sitting in the dressing room with my used-to-be-pale-pink-but-have-been-washed-so-many-times-that-they're-practically-white underpants visible through the crotch of my black pants. Yeah... the seam over my lady parts decided to stop being... you know... sewn together, thus leaving me partially exposed. And this is before we had to sing! It was... hilarious but disconcerting. So, after determining that I couldn't stand with my hand over my crotch while singing a slightly lusty song, never mind the fact that I need to hold a microphone with one hand and snap with the other, we started looking for other options. Safety pins, super glue, black marker... thankfully we discovered that when I was standing, the tear wasn't visible, so long as I didn't wiggle too much. The show did indeed go on and I didn't flash anyone except my friends in the dressing room which is sort of a minor miracle since it wasn't until we were on stage will all the lights on us that I remembered that being on said stage put the average eye-level of the audience slightly below the wardrobe malfunction in question. After the (thankfully) brief song, there was much giggling about the horrible timing of my pants' complete and utter failure in their primary goal: to keep my underthings from being seen by the masses.
Thus the death of pants and the very annoying need to go pants shopping again! I like to limit that particular brand of frustration to bi-annual trips. This is clearly a breach of etiquette. Still, I cannot be without black pants. They're the staple of innumerable outfits. Two brown (one dark, one light) and two grey (one dark and one light) pairs of pants may be numerically enough, but not situationally satisfactory.
*When I say "pants" I mean "trousers" or "slacks". I do not mean jeans or denims or khakis (whatever their color). I know that's pretty vague, because technically all of those things are pants, but though squares are rectangles, I call them squares. So, I call jeans "jeans" and Dockers-esque pants made of cotton canvasy type material "Khakis." Just so we're clear.
**I'm not even going to get into the difference between "doing the dishes" and "cleaning the kitchen" because that is also a square vs. rectangle debate
***Yes, there's a pants section. Pants used to be located in the color group where they belonged like everything else, but I wear them more often than any of my 9,000 shirts in all the colors of the rainbow, so I grouped them up together so they would be easier to find.