Blue Jean Blues

Blue jeans are getting lower waisted every day. I've practically developed a repetitive stress disorder just from all the rubbernecking I do, often in disbelief at what I'm seeing. Full bellies, several inches below the navel are now brazenly displayed, not to mention the tops of butt cheeks and the oh-so-sexy errant low-rider thong strap peeking out.

The thighs of these blue jeans also seem to be getting narrower, while the flares are getting wider, and the fit is getting tighter--thanks to Lycra and new "stretch technology." They've also been showing up for a while now with those annoying and increasingly provocative worn-out patches that seem to be part of a new erogenous zone marking system for a very strange tribe.

I'm not a member of that tribe, and those aren't my erogenous zones, sister. The women wearing those jeans are 16, or wish they were, and I am nearing 40.

But 40-year-olds want to wear blue jeans too! We grew up in jeans and are now being forcibly excluded from a foundational fashion staple. There just aren't many blue jeans out there that are designed for 40-year-old female bodies any more. And I'm even talking about 40-somethings who have stayed in shape. Some of us are actually serious hotties in our own right. But we look and feel ridiculous wearing or even trying on the kinds of jeans that our little nieces are wearing, and that we once wore too (without the Lycra, mind you) when we had no hips and sticks for legs back in 1975.

So what's a hot mama to do? I've patched my sexy ripped-up Levi's from the 90s so many times now they're not even sexy anymore--but oh, the way they fit! You know, the hot cowgirl look: lean, athletic, ready for clubbing, hiking or making out against the car in the parking lot. The wholesome bad girl look: it worked with boots, heels, sandals or running shoes. Ultimately versatile, and the women and men of my generation find this look infinitely more attractive than the retro-faux-whatever grunge statement of marketing slavery that is going on out there now.

Women in their 40s are essentially being held hostage by increasingly pedophilic standards of beauty in this society. Look at the scandal over the artsy sepia-toned images of half-clad pre-pubescent models Calvin Klein has been assaulting us with over the last few months.

So what's the answer? Well, I confess: I went down to my local, corporate-owned blue jean store a few weeks ago...seeking solace in variety. I figured that they have so many different styles of blue jeans, there had to be one to fit my adult body, as well as my mature sensibilities.

I found one pair of jeans (labeled "Classic") that are made for normal thighs, have a comfortable fit, are slightly tapered and sport no embarrassing tribal markings, but they were nowhere close to the sexy cowgirl jeans of the last decade. For one thing, the waist is too high, like those "ladies" jeans from the 80s.

But I bought them, and wore them constantly, until one night when I was standing in line at the supermarket and noticed the woman behind me in line, who looked like she was in her late 40s, checking me out and smiling. Not personally being gay, but always thrilled to be checked out, I smiled back.

"Excuse me," she said, "I just couldn't help noticing your jeans. They look kind of new, and so--well, normal. I'm just wondering if you could tell me where you got them?" I laughed, told her the brand name, and shook my head sadly as she walked away. She wasn't checking me out--she was just desperate for my jeans!

I'm not the only cowgirl with blue jean blues, it seems. Maybe it's time to do away with gendered jean stylings altogether. Isn't part of the sexiness of jeans their androgyny anyway? I'm not sure who it was that decided it was time for hip hugger bell bottoms to make a comeback, but I have the feeling that whoever it was has a big grudge against women. Very few of us look good in those jeans, but that doesn't stop people from trying.

My idea of the perfect jeans (hip slung, casual slim fit, tapered leg) look great on women and men. While the fashion world seeks the ideal feminine in the boyish figures of little girls, real women may just have to wear jeans designed for guys in protest. And if enough of us start doing it, maybe they'll bring back the real "classic" jeans: the ones that even a hot 40-something can look good in.

And that may be the answer, ladies. Next time you go jean-shopping, that'll be me over in the men's section, searching for the perfect fit.


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