When I was in middle school, I went through a short period of longing for a pair of Girbaud jeans. I lusted after the jeans. Despite having no sense of fashion or design, despite having nothing that would suggest I could afford Girbauds, or that my acquisition would be anything but a despirate attempt at fitting in, I wanted those jeans more than anything I’d ever wanted before in my entire life.
It didn’t matter what color. Hell, I’d even go for a size too big. I wanted them. I needed them.
I was under the assumption that I could earn some points in those jeans. That my tormentors would lay off for a few hours, knowing, “Well, he’s a total dork with fear in his eyes who looks like Screech, but hey – he’s wearing Girbauds!” As if simply wearing a green pair of overpriced jeans would propel me into being invited to parties and sleepovers and lunch conversations.
And then, one day, my friend showed up with a pair.
I knew he couldn’t have afforded them, so I asked where they’d come from. “TJMaxx,” he replied. TJMaxx. “An oasis,” he might as well have said. “Heaven and salvation” is all I heard.
It wasn’t to be, though. My dad dutifully took me out there (after some gentle convincing that getting $85 jeans for only $40 was an absolute bargain) but the racks were empty. It was a shot in the dark, and I had missed terribly, my aim off center, my arrow landing in a pile of Jockey boxers and white t-shirts.
I never got those jeans. A few years later, I broke free from my dorkitude through punk music – a scene that wouldn’t have just laughed at the notion of buying $85 jeans, but threatened to tear them to shreds and make Anti-Flag patches out of the remains.
But you couldn’t have told me that at the time. I was absolutely convinced my ticket to freedom was located somewhere in the over-dyed denim of French fashion.