The Brotherhood of the Sedentary Pants


I’ve closed the book on a few dreams:

  • To play quarterback in the NFL
  • To play baritone saxophone in a studio jazz band
  • To be appointed Pizza Czar for the state of North Carolina by Governor Pat McCrory.

Let me tell you about a little dream of mine I’ve revived.

This dream is about a pair of jeans. Size 32 jeans.


I’m not the gazelle I was in my youth. Let’s be honest, a gazelle in my youth I was not. I wasn’t swine-like, or of hippo proportions. My animal match: A bulldog. A fleet-footed, quick-witted, sharp-worded bulldog, but a bulldog, nonetheless. All barrel-chested and not at all svelte.

As I reel in the years and my pant size drags along behind, the changes have been subtle. Buttons and zippers require more … concentration. It’s a human phenomenon. In maturing age, the river of life flows over our once jagged lines and adds a smoothness to it. We’re rounded out, softened.

All right. Cut the poetry; this is a dude’s post about pants, let’s not forget. Target brand Blue jeans, with a loop for a hammer and side pockets for a ruler and pencils, like a carpenter would wear. Circa 2000. I might have worn them once. They’re dark. They’re good looking, albeit grossly out of style.


They’re probably the nicest pants I have. I rediscovered them while taking inventory of every article of clothing I own.

(I really did this. I have 86 baseball caps, 47 T-shirts, 18 pairs of underwear. I could go on).

The outdated jeans represent something to me, something I’d forgotten as roomier pants covered these fly jeans in my drawer like sentiment over the skeleton of an anklosaurus. Hidden, preserved, but just waiting to be excavated.

I’ve said goodbye to many pants over the years. Some to charity, some to the great khaki hunting ground in the sky, after I’ve scuffed the cuffs severely or wrecked them with Polynesian dressing all over the left leg. But these – these I’ve hung onto.


They shed light where there is darkness. Not unlike what St. Francis of Assisi implored us to do in his signature prayer, to sow faith where there is doubt.

I’m not saying my pants are holy, but they stand for this ambition I have, the same ambition that can see my daughters on college soccer rosters someday.

The same ambition that makes me want to write like a champ for my champ of a boss.

The same ambition that just knows the Colorado Rockies will get back into the World Series sometime between this season and mankind’s colonization of Mars.

It’s the gumption that I’ll turn these jeans from fossil to colossal if I can just moderate my beloved pizza and stay faithful to yoga class and never stop moving and improving, on the disc golf course and the sideline and even casting lines with Grace into a lake of a sleepy Saturday morning.

And by colossal, I mean that I’ll give youngsters a reason to laugh at the old dude in carpenter jeans from Target. I’ll just smile, because I know if a bulldog plays quarterback in the NFL or fits back in his size 32 jeans, it ain’t by accident. And it’s worth the journey.


    1. Thanks – so far I’ve just been looking at them, but I have been tucking my shirt in more often. I think that’s progress.

  1. Letizia says:

    I have a pair like these myself – I can fit into them but they are so out of fashion that I don’t want to wear them. But I hold on to these jeans year after year, for some reason or another.

    p.s. 86 baseball caps!

    1. So, you can fit into your ugly pants? Maybe they’ll make a comeback, and you’ll be ahead of the game.

      p.s. I got rid of eight of them, so now I’m down to a manageable and respectable 78.

  2. Hey! One day at a time…If I can scream “YES!” orgasmic-ally in a family store dressing room b/c the tag now says “2” instead of “10”, you can do it too! I dreamed the impossible dream…and the tag is center-stage on my fridge! LOL

    1. I remember your post about the jeans! I need to link you up in this one. I hope I can contain myself when I get into these … hopefully, I’ll have some room to give, and won’t have to yell as a soprano.

  3. My husband has some jeans I’d like to say goodbye too…I can’t for the life of me understand while they are still in the closet. Maybe its for the same reasons as you…

    1. I could write another post about shirts my girls have given me for birthdays or Christmases or Father’s Day that I can’t part with, including a skin-tight black shiny ribbed v-neck.

  4. Teri says:

    You’ve got me beat in the baseball cap area. But I know you’ll kick butt getting back into those jeans. Keep the faith, brother.

    1. Thing is, with all those lids, I’ve worn out my Rockies cap to the point it’s grey, not black, is frayed and chewed-looking, and is missing the top button.

      Thanks for the encouragement. I’ve never wanted to be so out of style in my life (usually, it just comes naturally).

  5. Tamara says:

    haha, I read every book of the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series. Those pants were seriously magic. I was thinking today about dreams I’ve given up on, and one of them is quarterback in the NFL too. I just don’t see it happening! Now with the pants..I have similar pants dreams.
    Good luck to us!

    1. I’ve never read them or seen the movies, and I had to Google it just to make sure I had the right wording. Seems like a serious chick flick to me.

      (I’ve never even seen The Notebook, but I’m pretty sure I sad through Dying Young and probably some stuff on Lifetime starring Judith Light or Meredith Baxter Birney, or maybe both).

      Definitely good luck to us both. And I think if we get into these magical pants we have, we ought to at least get an invite to training camp.

  6. 86 ball caps and 18 pairs of underwear. I can see where your priorities lay. Good luck getting back into those jeans. You’ll need to have a hammer handy when the time comes. You know, to accessorize.

    1. I know, what do you make of that sort of ratio? I wonder what that says about me as a man. I have, i think, 14 pairs of pants.

      I would definitely accessorize with a hammer, and I’m thinking of getting a neon green T-shirt and a painter’s cap, too.

      I’mna be fly.

  7. Rosey says:

    I didn’t know dudes held on to skinny clothes too, buwahahhaha. That bit of info. just rocks my socks (and makes me smile). 🙂

    1. We do, we do – although we’re also likely to hold onto shirts we’ve soiled permanently with taco grease. Does that make you smile, too?

  8. laurie27wsmith says:

    Good one Eli, at 61 I’m definitely not a fashionista. I’ve kept jeans for years in 3 different sizes and now I’m getting back into the size 38″ yahoo! I’ve lost 16lb in the last few months so the shirts are definitely tucked in. I keep everything and it tears at my heart when a fave pair of jeans or a shirt has to go. I wear my undies until I can see through them. Maybe I’m cheap. But I understand your pain, I will never get my 32″ waist back again, ever.

    1. Me either – I just started wearing a velcro mobile-phone holder recently, and I got some looks. I have a pretty wide (get what I did there?) range of jeans, too, and I’m starting to fit in some of the dusty ones.

      How’d you drop 16 pounds, brother? I’d be happy if you said a steady diet of tortillas and jelly beans.

      1. laurie27wsmith says:

        Love Velcro phone holders, the ultimate accessory. Yeah I got it *groan* The 16 pounds went after cutting portions, less bad carbs and porridge (oats) for breakfast every day. I do like jelly beans though. I’m limited exercise wise due to a lung ailment that appeared a couple of years ago (not a smoker) so to lose weight I had to take a drastic step. There is nothing more heart-warming than getting into a pair of pants (your own) that you couldn’t do up for a few years.

  9. Rorybore says:

    I wrote a post once where I confessed I was sitting writing it pantless. because, I done lost all my pants!!
    You see…hubby takes out the garbage. I store old clothes in garbage bags. you see where this is going I bet. So pregnant with baby #3 and into maternity clothes again; all the other clothes go into, you guessed it – a garbage bag. Conveniently left by the basement stairs so that I can take them down to our storage area next trip. Or……..the front door on hubby’s way to the curb. What can I say; he won that race. And upon discovery of my new pantless state – I sighed and remembered the other older clothes, from when pregnant with baby #1, that were stored in a nice blue rubbermaid bin, because I had no children yet and was thus much more organized. However, had not been able to wear since…..All The Children Arrived. So I pulled that dusty container out to examine the contents. whew! no acid wash at least. Passable fashion. Now for the suck it in and hold your breath test. But….They Fit!!! I think angels might have sang.
    so anyhoo, the morale of the story is, if your spouse does their duty and takes out the trash….you’ll never be fat again. or something like that. I don’t know, maybe blue rubbermaid bins have magical abilities lacking in ordinary green garbage bags.

    1. Awesome! I wonder how much good stuff is sitting in landfills because of well-meaning husbands. Probably tons.

      You wait and see – acid wash is going to make a comeback. So is big hair. Be ready.

      (p.s. I think you need to write a post on these magical rubbermaid bins. I bet they’d sponsor it.)

  10. Krystal says:

    There’s nothing wrong with the carpenter jeans – heck those are the only ones that Mr. Big wears – also because they are the only ones that are not “nut huggers” as he calls them – he’s so skinny and so tall to find a style of jeans that fit is hard so he sticks to what works LOL – and YOU CAN DO IT!!! But damn, that’s alot of baseball caps – even if you’ve downsized – and they say women are bad with shoes – ha!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Nothing worse than nut-huggers. They feel like a court-ordered sentence. Not that I’ve had one of those either.

      The difference between dudes and their hats and women and their shoes is that when a guy passes by with a gawdy lakers cap, we don’t wait until he passes to rip him to our friends … we’ll just say, “dude, your hat sucks!”

  11. I had these “pants”…
    I had them for a while.. and then realized they would never fit.. and threw them out….

    Then.. well… 4 months later… I am 40 lbs lighter… and they would fit now…

    I grumble over this a lot… and this just reminded me of my pain.

    I really enjoy your writing style…

    I’ll be reading!

    1. I need to fit back in these pants then, clearly, to right the wrongs of the pants universe.

      Your writing style is something else, too. Love your blog!

  12. I feel like most women I know (including myself) would just keep those pants to punish herself. How enlightening to use them for motivation.

    1. There’s a fine line between motivation and punishment. If motivation was yellow and punishment blue, what I’m doing would be yellow green, actually.

  13. Jen says:

    LOL. When my husband was teaching tennis 60 hrs a week, he dropped about 20lbs and proceeded to donate all of his “larger” clothes. I was sitting back, shaking my head… dude… don’t do it. But he just wouldn’t listen. About 4 months ago he went back to “real” work and cut to teaching 10 hours a week. Suffice it to say we’ve had to do some shopping recently. It ain’t easy keeping that girlish figure once you hit a certain age…

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Are you laughing at my fly jeans, Jen? We guys fluctuate a full four pants sizes in a season, depending on our simple activity/inactivity + processed cheese/beer intake.

      Even when I’m in the smaller spectrum, I find there are days I just don’t want to wear my tight(er) jeans. Some days, I just don’t want to be a spectacle in the middle of Walmart or Aldi. Just love me for who I am.

  14. Mel says:

    HI! Thanks for dropping by Ketchup With Us. I swear, you are my husband in blogger form. My husband recently took inventory as well. I’m pretty sure it’s something you guys do every 8 years…or every 20lbs give or take. 🙂 His t-shirt collection is massive, too, but each one has meaning. There’s just no deciding which one to get rid of.

    I’m so glad you found us. This post made me laugh. Great writing! I’ll be visiting a lot more often!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Hey Mel – can’t wait to read more Ketchup posts. We fellas have only a handful of molds from which we’re cast. Part of who we are is 1) loving beef jerky and 2) taking inventory of our wardrobe.

      So, I’m good until 2021?

      You can’t get rid of the worn-out T-shirts, because that’s when they begin to develop character – just like us.

      Glad you’re here Mel – look forward to getting to your page more too.

      1. Eli! Yay! Thanks for linking up! I love this entry. And I love your style of writing, by the way. Seriously, I read it TWICE. (And I don’t say that to all bloggers so shhhhhh!)

        Know this. I am forever cleaning out of my closet. And stuff that shouldn’t make the cut hangs in there in every freakin’ time. It’s pitiful really when I think of what should have moved on to greener pastures a decade ago.

        One exception. I have a sweatshirt. I have a black, hooded sweatshirt from the Hofbrauhaus in Munich, Germany. I have a black, hooded sweatshirt from the Hofbrauhaus in Munich, Germany … and it is 26 years old. I think. I’d have to do the math.

        And I think you’ve inspired me to do a post on it. What do you think, Mel? A favorite article of clothing post? Oldest article? Most likely to sprout legs article? Oh, well … you guys get the point. (nervously) Right?

        Thanks for linking up, Eli. And welcome!

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        Thanks! I found some good reading when I linked up. These jeans are still sitting around not being worn, by the way. But I think I’m getting closer.

        I’m all about packing things up for the Kidney Foundation out of my closet, but some items – mostly stuff my kids picked out for me – those are hard to part with.

        Being old is no reason to get rid of something, though. Things get comfortable with a little wear and tear.

        Make sure you send me a link to your clothing post!

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