Tuesday, July 17, 2007

The weighty responsibilities of pants

One of the odd side effects of Crohn's disease is the vague sense of emasculation you get. If you're a guy, anyway. And not literally. But my crack medical team has me taking calcium supplements, which Walgreen's packages in a very manly pink-and-purple box. If the color scheme wasn't enough, they're called, helpfully, "Calcium for Women." It's cool, though. They taste pretty good. Better than the fish oil capsules, anyway.

My real preoccupation, though, is a strange level of concern with my pants size. Seriously. Compare the number of references to my pants in this feature before April (9) to references since the surgery (4). Okay, not a good example. But really, the fear of dropping a pant size or two is always out there, since it represents losing weight, which in turn represents my intestines, again, trying to kill me. A heavy thought to lay on Dockers, to be sure.

But pants have again been playing on my mind recently. I wore blue jeans today for the first time in more than three months. Not something that should be commemorated with a bank holiday, but it's also not something I ever expected I'd say in my life. Frankly, three hours without wearing jeans used to be a long time. One of the key reasons I've spent a career in public radio is the general acceptance of blue jeans as business attire.

But the abdominal surgery kept me from wearing a belt for a month, and I feel about as comfortable wearing jeans with no belt as I do wearing a monocle, or a New York Yankees cap. And the thing was, after a month, I decided I liked the three pairs of pants in the rotation, none of which required a belt. The beige convertible pants, the beige sort-of-but-not-really-khakis, and the olive linen pants eliminated all the excess angst of the dressing process (which, to be fair, was not much to begin with).

Two months in, I still hadn't worn a belt. But I started getting weary of finding new ways to wear a pedometer, a key card, and a cell phone with no belt, so I gave in. And finally, after three months of wearing the same three pairs of pants at work (with thanks to the patience of my co-workers), I added the jeans to the rotation this morning.

Maybe I'll wash the other three pairs now.

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