Lou fixed my jeans for my birthday.

Six years ago, in Austin Texas, I got giddy. I bought myself some bootcut jeans, some bright red cowboy boots and a stetson. Jack thought I was a real cowboy for a moment. They really do dress like that in Austin.

I still have the boots. I’ve worn them twice in Texas and once in London – (I looked a tit, it rained into them, and I got a blister). I loved the stetson though, but left it at some actor’s house over the course of a very busy New Year’s Eve. I have no clue which actor, but the house was almost certainly in Stokey. As for the jeans? I wore them out. I ran the pockets through with keys and phones and pens and bits. When I took them in to the local seamster to fix I got quoted £50 a pocket, so they’ve been on my shelf for years, unwearable without pockets as I’ll lose my keys and break my phone.

Lou got wind of this. She fixed them for my birthday. Then she tells me she doesn’t like them. That’s a labour of birthday love. I have the jeans back but I am going to be leery of wearing them around her. My instinct might have been to wear them every time I see her specially in honour of her fixing them, so it’s smart of her to break the news that they aren’t her favourite. A more ruthless person would have told me they were impossible to mend and have thrown them out.

“What sort of clothes do you like?” she goes on to ask me, and it makes me feel momentarily self conscious as it’s one of those things I know I’m supposed to have an answer to. I’ve occasionally been marched down the shops by people. I was a talking Ken doll for a few years, and about as much use in that particular relationship – but I looked great. My own taste in clothes is haphazard. They keep me warm. Usually.

I think back to my first girlfriend. The first time I saw her she was in a white summer dress in a garden and I fell for her. Textbook. But I was a teenager at an all boys school. “I like dresses,” I find my mouth saying. Then I add “people can wear what the fuck they like, though.”

I find myself thinking that usually I notice breath use, gesture, eye contact quality, and gait before I notice clothing. I’m more interested in the things that are less likely to be curated as they can lead to a quicker truth than the bits we throw over our skin. Not just for research although that’s part of it. Also just plain humanity.

I’m wearing my newly cancelled jeans as I write. I’ve been wearing them every day since my birthday, but not because I love them. Because they’re there and the pockets work. But it’s got me thinking about my wardrobe. I’ve got too much stuff now and I’ll be moving out of here before long. Maybe I should be ruthless and Marie Kondo it. Problem for Lou is that these jeans will spark joy, perhaps more so now because she fixed them. And that’s my only measure really – joy.

Nonetheless I won’t be wearing them to the audition tomorrow.

Author: albarclay

This blog is a work of creative writing. Do not mistake it for truth. All opinions are mine and not that of my numerous employers.

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