Waist not, want not


I’m running a special “memory lane” series of blogs all week.  You’ll get to find out more about me.  Probably more than you want to find out about me, but them’s the breaks of reading someone else’s blogs.  You try putting out this stuff on a daily basis and see what happens when the well runs dry!

In my old blog, I used the incredibly imaginative and original “umbrella” title of “Tales of Jeffrey”.  I think we can dispense with that title, but the thrust remains the same.

Very well, introductions are over, you have been appropriately forewarned.  Any further reading constitutes assent on your part and indemnifies me of any mental harm you may incur.

As a kid, I was skinny.  I managed to stay above the 98 lb. weakling line, but not by much.  This didn’t deter me from actively participating in neighborhood sports, including tackle football.  It just meant I played receiver a lot since I was certainly going to run very fast to avoid having my tiny body scrunched (and I had pretty good hands catching the ball).  Of course, a lot of kids are thin.  Metabolic rates when you are young are way up there and calories don’t stick around as much.

During college, not much changed.  Still thin, although I think I put on enough pounds to no longer be called skinny.  It was either that or my clothing was baggier (before baggy was in).  And we still played contact sports, only then I didn’t worry as much about getting hit.  I spent a good deal of time in the weight rooms available on campus and, after many months working hard, my body….was exactly the same.  I was stronger, perhaps a bit more stamina, but body shape and size were exactly the same.  I couldn’t figure it out and ultimately decided it wasn’t worth the effort if there were no visible results.

When I left college and started working, my waist was still only a 29.  This caused some problems when trying to find suitable professional clothes.  Apparently, most adults don’t have 29 waists.  Or at least not enough for the size to be stocked in anything other than jeans.  Trying to find business suits (or any slacks at all) became problematical…at first.  With the ever-indispensable aid of my Mom, we located a clothing store that had an extensive “Young Men’s” section.  Far be it from being embarrassed, it was an exceptionally lucky find, since the suits and clothing were as much as 30% cheaper than their counterparts in the Men’s section (hmmm, why wasn’t it called “Old Men’s” section?).  Granted, the selection was leaner (unintended pun), but we ultimately found enough clothing to work with.

For many years, I stayed hovering around that 29 waist.  Sure, I played a lot of tennis in those days (sometimes 5 times a week).  Sure I played more golf, bowling, softball leagues and was generally active.  Sure Florida has a warm-to-hot climate with high humidity.  But it’s not like I was working out or exercising.  And my nutritional choices were….let’s say dubious.  Perhaps you could come up with a better word for a breakfast consisting of a bowl of ice cream or some Mallomars and a glass of whole milk?  And I loved ribs and steak and chicken with the skin on and, well, pretty much everything fatty and caloric.  I guess my fast metabolism stayed around a little longer than most people.

The problem was, the clothing store I shopped went out of business.  Perhaps their margins were too thin.  I could find no suitable (just how many puns can I inflict on you in one paragraph?) replacement, but fortunately I could still wear my old clothes.  I was probably 10 years out of fashion (I’ll regale you on my “fashion sense” some other time), but what else could I do?

Finally, one lonely morning much like any other in the vastness of life, I let out a cheer.  My 29 waist pants were too tight!  Huzzah!  Time to go out shopping!  Uh, except that apparently stores don’t stock too much at 30 waist, even.  You could say they were under-weighted on those sizes.  Sure there were some random slacks and an occasional suit, but to get the color and style I wanted was a long shot.  There were a few times I would be wearing clothes that I would have preferred otherwise.

For about the next decade or so, I managed to keep the same general body shape.  That allowed me to eventually build up a decent amount of good business clothes.  Since I’m already armed by my parent’s and grandparent’s sensibilities about using things as long as they are useful, I had some clothes in my closet or drawers that might have been older than some of you readers!

I’ve recently shifted to wearing more jeans.  I don’t really care for jeans, I think the pockets are too tough to use and they’re hot, but they are good in the winter and you can basically dress like a schlump and it’s considered OK if you have jeans on, the universal signal for sloppy…er…casual.  But I discovered a funny thing this winter as I prepared for my annual Christmas visit with my friend’s family in Las Vegas.  It was brought on by my expectations of facing my most dreaded of climatic conditions:  cold.

Florida was already experiencing some unseasonably cold days in December.  On days like that, I have to take extra precautions to avoid turning into a non-responsive grump.  For me, that means thermals, baby!  Except, omigosh, I couldn’t close my 30 waist jeans over my thermals anymore!  Are you kidding me?  When did that happen?

Sure enough, I had to go out and buy new jeans.  If that’s not an oxymoron.  Have you ever seen a pair of jeans that looked any newer than the ones you already own?  Yeah, well wash yours first before anwering.  Anyhoo, I went ahead and bought a few 31 waist jeans for my “winter wardrobe” collection.  These were perfectly acceptable with the thermals, although wearing them now that the weather has warmed up requires me to use a belt.

So, in the 30 plus years since college, I’ve gone up a whopping 1 size in waistline.  Of course, these days I’m much more conscientious about what I eat.  For example, when I have Mallomars for breakfast now, I only drink 2% milk with them.

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