A Tale of Surgery and Jeans

A Tale of Surgery and Jeans

I haven’t posted in a week or so, because my husband had ankle reconstruction surgery last week, and ever since we got home we’ve been trapped in a nightmare reminiscent of how I imagine life in a Civil War medical tent might be. Time that may have otherwise been passed by blogging has been spent asking the internet stuff like, “can you ever die from too much pain,” and “are there mobile opium dens in Charlotte”.

A photo of my home


I’ve always thought that my husband Matt’s feet could really use some aesthetic improvement, but for some reason he wanted to focus on making sure his ankle works correctly, like realigning bones, repairing ruptured tendons, removing bone fragments, etc., instead of pleasing his wife by having plastic surgery (replacing his feet with more attractive plastic ones). Since writing about the miserable first few days post-op would probably feel like the emotional equivalent of getting my own ankle surgery right about now, I’ll hold off on that and tell a random story about some jeans. Obviously.

In college, I worked at a small clothing store in the mall that sold bridal gowns, prom dresses, and boutique clothing geared toward the middle-aged woman. Such a woman could come into our store and choose a tasteful mother-of-the-bride gown in taupe or navy blue, try a bold cropped jacket bedazzled with semi-precious stones, or select a new pair of Not Your Daughter’s Jeans (NYDJ) from a variety of colors and styles.

These jeans were a hot new product at the time, and we even had a little TV with a NYDJ commercial on a loop at the front of the store featuring size-0 women who would never actually wear NYDJ raving about how good they felt in them. They exuberantly explained how the jeans were designed to narrow the waistline and hips, and we watched as a woman aggressively stuffed her flab into its new rhinestone-encrusted habitat, leaving her immediately more confident, slender, and attractive. “I think you look slim!” one MILF crowed to another MILF in the commercial that never died. The video lured women into the store in droves.

College-aged Courtney modeling some NYDJ in the store, while also clearly avoiding all of the hair stylists in the world

But let’s bring the focus back to where it needs to be (on me). Ever since I was in middle school and found myself stuck with a sudden pear-shaped figure to go along with my glasses and buck teeth, I have struggled to find jeans that look right on me. I was in my late 20’s before I found jeans I really liked. They were skinny jeans that were a little bit on the high-waisted side, and as I zipped them up in the fitting room, preparing myself for disappointment and trying to remember how much vodka I had left at home, I felt a surge of hope. As the zipper closed effortlessly, the pair of pants was transformed into a magical garment that seemed as if it had been tailor-made to enhance my beauty and prepare me for a better life.

At my high school graduation

I wore that pair of jeans like a boss, as often as possible, for several months, dismissing all lesser pants from my life without hesitation, before I realized they were Not Your Daughter’s Jeans.

Yes, really. And I loved these jeans so much that I even went back to the same store to get another pair. And then I went back again, like some kind of shameless mom-jeans-obsessed freak. And then one time I couldn’t find any Not Your Daughter’s Jeans in the store, and I started to sweat. Eventually I selected a friendly-looking associate and pulled her aside, whispering anxiously, “Excuse me. I hope you can help. I can’t seem to find the NYDJ section.”

Blank stare from the associate as my eyes darted around to ensure that no one was in the process of recognizing me.

“…the Not Your Daughter’s Jeans section, okay? It used to be right over here. So if you can just point me in the right direction, I’ll get some and be on my way.”

The associate looked at me sadly, eyes filling with that familiar blend of pity and suppressed amusement I remembered from my own days in retail, and said, “We stopped selling those. Maybe I can suggest a different brand?”

Um, yeah right. As if any other brand would do. My anxiety evaporated and now I looked at her with pity. Never would she know true love for a jean. She would continue to look tiny and adorable in her (insert any brand name here because they all would work for her) jeans and never have an appreciation for the struggles of a middle-aged-shaped thirty-something woman.

What have we learned? Don’t judge the fashion trends of the nearly-elderly, my friends. You might find yourself wearing semi-precious stones on your clothing any day now. Oh, and if you’re secretly interested in having your own NYDJ, Nordstrom sells these bad boys nowadays and they have like 100 varieties to choose from. Just squeeze yourself into some horrible pants that never fit quite right, and head on over and invest in some mom jeans.

How you’ll feel in your new NYDJ: like pushing low-hanging light fixtures dramatically

Author’s note: this is not an ad for Not Your Daughter’s Jeans. I do not know any representatives from NYDJ, unfortunately. If you are a NYDJ employee and you think that your boss would give me some NYDJ for free in exchange for my writing this blog post, I would be open to that.

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