04/10/2015 8:33 AM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST

Those Damned Low-Rise Jeans

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Fashion is such a beautifully weird thing. And I speak with all the authority of someone who spent hours watching Fashion TV when it first launched. Of course, I must confess that this had less to do with fashion and everything to do with the gorgeous models and skimpy clothing.

That aside, fashion choices do not always make sense to me. Yes, you need to look presentable. But somehow, I doubt walking into an interview in a crisp, new suit with a cowboy hat (as they sometimes demonstrate on these fashion shows) will get you that job. Unless you're interviewing for the position of 'Head Trainer' at a ranch maybe.

I cannot make any claims of being a fashionista by any definition of the word. But, having lived in quite a few metropolitan cities, I've been privileged enough to observe some rather bizarre and unique fashion statements. Of all of them, perhaps the most ludicrous one that I've seen so far is this sudden invasion of the low-rise jeans over the past decade. I usually refer to them as "Would you like to see my underwear (or bum-crack)?" jeans, depending on the kind of (or lack of) inner wear. And sadly this 'bum-ster syndrome', as I call it, is something that seems to have affected both genders equally.

I went shopping for a new pair of jeans the other day. It was painful, especially since I'm not much into this retail therapy madness. I'm okay with it if I am shopping for gadgets or electronics. But for clothes, not unless I really have to. The primary reason being that I'm a rather rotund chap (I prefer the phrase - physically disproportionate). As a result, finding clothes that fit properly without alternation is an arduous task. It wasn't always so, but my love for food, combined with a lack of physical activity and a rather severe hypothyroid condition, all collectively resulted in where I am, and my shape today.

Back in London, finding clothes that fit was surprisingly easy. In a country where even the average teenager has a much larger waist size than me, I was pleasantly surprised to find that I fell into the category of 'normal-sized' people. This made me rather optimistic when I had to go shopping here in India. I naively assumed that with so many big brands vying for market share, they would cater to the needs of people of all shapes and sizes. After all, the labels on most clothes that I had ever bought in the UK stated proudly that they were 'Made in India'. But oh no! I was about to discover a whole new world of shopping pain.

As part of this impromptu shopping spree, we decided to try one of the larger malls in Bangalore. All the big brands were under one roof and surely, at least a couple of them would have thought of catering to the needs of large disproportionate men such as myself. So off I hankered into the men's section. A bunch of salesmen cautiously approached me with their measuring tapes in tow. "Can I help you, sir?" asked one of them politely. "No, I'm alright!" I replied, sharply dismissing them with a wave of my hand. I was confident that I could find a pair of well-fitting jeans in no time. After all, I knew my waist size and height. What I didn't realise was that my waist size didn't exist for most of the 'ultra-cool' modern brands. Not one to give up hope, I continued to hunt and finally managed to find three pairs that boldly announced the waist size that I was after. With these tucked under my arm, I marched confidently into the trial room.

The very first pair I tried on never actually made it past my 'muscular' thighs. I carefully took them off and looked at the size. Yes, I'd gotten the right waist size. But what I'd missed was this tiny little tag on the label that said 'Slim Tapered'. Upon closer observation, it revealed all kinds of details about the pair, the key one being - 'slim through thighs'. "No wonder they didn't fit!" I thought. But then again, I was also secretly curious to find out who that rather unique person was, who had my waist size and such pencil-thin thighs.

The second pair fared much better. It actually made it to my waist. The problem started when I tried to button them up. I tried everything I could think of - holding my stomach in and even clenching my butt. But nothing helped. And then finally - after a lot of huffing and puffing - I managed to button it up. By this point, sweat had covered most places of my body and I wasn't even done yet. After another five minutes of unsuccessfully trying to zip up the jeans, I stopped trying. Huffing, puffing and panting again, I vetoed yet another pair of jeans. Or rather they had vetoed me. All my hopes now rested on the final pair of jeans that hung comfortably off the hanger. It stared mockingly at me, almost daring me to give it a try. Wondering what fresh hell it was about to unleash, I decided to give it a go. To my surprise, it not just made the journey up to my waist quite comfortably, but I was able to button it up well, without having to decide which bone in my body I needed to break.

Whilst I was standing there with the triumphant look of finally having managed to find a pair that fit me, there was a loud knock on the door followed by a rather melodious "Are you done yet Sid? We need to hurry!". I smiled and quickly bundled up the "fitting" pair of jeans. But not before I glared at the other pairs that were now hanging off the hooks.

"Jeans - Zero, Sid - One" I said out aloud as I quickly walked to the counter to pay the rather exorbitant sum of money for this single pair of jeans.

A few days later when we had to go out for dinner at an upscale restaurant, I decided that this was the best time to cavort around in the new pair of branded jeans. After all, I had paid a fortune for this. Once again, the jeans slid up comfortable. Rather pleased with myself, I turned around to admire my snug fitting profile in the mirror. That's when I noticed that my boxers had made an appearance, peeking rather coyly over the waistband of the jeans.

Wondering why I hadn't noticed this earlier, I did what any self-respecting man would do - pull up the jeans at the waist. But no matter how hard I tugged, the jeans refused to rise enough to cover the label and brand of my inner wear. As I frantically tried to think of ideas that would help me cover this up, I noticed a tag on the jeans. In bold red letters they exclaimed - 'Speciality Low-Rise Jeans'. As someone who detested the concept of low-rise jeans, the irony of the fact that I now owned one was not lost on me.

So I did what any sensible man would do: I'm now the proud owner of a number of Calvin Klein boxer shorts. After all, the world says - If you've got it, flaunt it!

Except that in this case, 'it' refers to an expensive pair of intimate wear.

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