Wednesday, September 12, 2007
Buying Jeans, Athens Style
There is a fine art to buying jeans in Athens, as I discovered one day downtown with Mr Zeus. Unimpressed with my collection of tattered and baggy jeans, he very sweetly offered to buy me a new pair as we walked past a denim shop.
It seemed harmless enough to try on a pair, so in we went. The shop assistant was surprisingly nice to me. Maybe it was because Mr Zeus was there, he has that affect on them. I told her what European size I thought I was and she handed me a pair two sizes smaller than that.
It was a bit loose, she went another two sizes down, which was quite a comfortable fit. When I stepped out of the changing room, she said “They’re too big, try a smaller size.”
Who was I to question a Greek shopping assistant in her domain? I did as I was told and breathed in as I did up the top button. I showed off the results and she looked happier. “I think the next size down will be perfect.”
“Ha ha ha! You’re joking!” I thought. But she wasn’t. She and Mr Zeus ganged up on me and an even smaller pair was produced. I could hear the jolly banter outside the changing room curtain as I huffed and puffed and struggled to do up the buttons. I’ve never before found myself in that half bent over half hopping position women use to squeeze into jeans that are too small for them, because I’ve never encountered jeans too small for my small size.
After what felt like forever, I walked out, John Wayne style and Mr Zeus and the assistant oooed and aaahed. “Great!” she said “Thank God” I thought.
“Now if we go one more size down, they’ll be exactly right.”
My jaw dropped. Was she serious? I tried to swallow as the next size down was handed to me, but the jeans were so tight that I couldn’t. Her logic was that jeans over time loose their stiffness and what feels like the right size now will be loose in a few months.
By some miracle of time and space distortion, I managed to get into the tightest pair of jeans I’ve ever worn and the deal was sealed.
Wearing new jeans that are too small feels like having a vice around your hips. They’re also a pretty fashionable form of contraception, seeing as they are just as frustrating to take off as they are to put on.
But I have to say three months down the line, the jeans did indeed loosen slightly and are now just about right. So if you’re a foreign woman buying jeans in Athens for the first time, guess what size you are and work down the sizes. When the jeans are so tight that you can feel the circulation to your nether regions being cut off, go one more size down. Don’t be a quitter. All top buttons give up and do up eventually, even if it makes you feel like the next breath will snap you in two.