Wednesday, 29 February 2012


Happy fifth Wednesday in February! We haven't had one of those in twenty-eight years, in case anyone was wondering. On Wednesday 29th February 1984 I was deep into a my second term at junior school, in the class of a delightfully old-school, cardigan-wearing, blackboard rubber-throwing, quiffy-haired teacher who has long since departed this world. I had a full complement of grandparents (now none), a new-found love of the most wonderful sport known to man (still have that), not a care in the world (no comment), and no idea why I had no desire to join in the games of kiss chase that took place in the playground most lunchtimes (worked that one out now). I occasionally wore jeans.

I haven't worn jeans since I was eleven years old. I had never liked them, a fact which I had made very clear to my parents on a number of occasions. But one day the following leap year, 1988, I was presented with a new pair of jeans. I was annoyed - upset even, and decided to draw a line. Over a period of a couple of weeks my protests about the jeans became repetitive and ferocious; both qualities I rarely exhibited. One day the conflict came to a head and I was forced to wear the new jeans. Exhausted, exasperated, but not defeated, I played my trump card - I cried. This was partly calculated I suppose, but the tears were borne of genuine frustration and anguish. This was an event so rare that it shocked my parents, who, realising they had underestimated the strength of my feelings, never asked me to wear jeans again. I think the offending garment made its way to a charity shop some time later.

The thing is, I'm not sure why I don't like jeans. I think other people can look fine in them - attractive, even, but the idea of wearing them myself has alarmed me for as long as I remember. Other clothing aversions (shorts, certain types of shirt) have come and gone over the years, but this one persists. In recent years I have worn trousers which are not dissimilar to the jean in style, yet crucially, nothing resembling denim. I can, I think, categorically state that I will never again wear jeans. I don't think it was ever a stylistic objection, and it certainly isn't a phobia. My family and friends wear jeans and always have done, so there was no apparent reason for me to develop such a strong aversion to them. Perhaps it was merely an extravagant way for the eleven-year-old me to prove a point to my parents, which has grown into a lifelong habit. Either way, I'm jeans free since 1988, and staying that way.


Jane and Lance Hattatt said...

Hello Ben:
Well, if the man with the Levis in the launderette did not persuade you on the jeans front, then surely you will remain jeans-free for ever!

He did not convert us either!

Happy Leap Day!

Ben said...

Jane and Lance,

I can honestly say that advert had no effect on me whatsoever. Maybe I was a little young!

Splendid to hear from you.

Anonymous said...

The childe Ben
Apart he stalks in joyless reverie,
His despised denim jeans rejected
(pace Byron)
Love, Alec xx

Ben said...

I'm honoured to have moved you to poetry.
Ben x