In Crisis: The Yard Sale

Posted September 23rd, 2012 by June O'Hara and filed in Everything Else

My boyfriend Jake and I are having a yard sale today from 9:00 to 3:00. It just turned 9:01. I am in distress.

It’s my splendiferous collection of jeans, displayed lovingly on a large piece of cardboard, that’s paining me. I’ve spent the past two days trying to determine which of my many pairs I could bear to relinquish. My guiding principle was, ”If I’ll probably never fit into them again, they have to go.”

“Will I ever fit into these again?” Had Shakespeare understood women’s issues, he’d have jettisoned ”To be or not to be. . .” for these very words. For what can be worse than discovering, one pair after another, that there’s no fucking way?

As I try to tug yet another pair of old favorites past my knees, I tell myself, ”If I think like a thirty-five year old, live on kale and  and tofu and ice my Achille’s tendon twelve times a day, these will fit again.”

For a moment, this seems like a real possibility.

Then reality washes over me.

Fighting tears, I call a friend. ”I was always in shape,” I burble. “I taught aerobics, kickboxed, was training for a marathon. Now I can’t even use the elliptical.” I blow my nose, put a hand to my forehead and wail, ”I’m beginning to look like my mother!”

Eventually I quiet down, listen to reason, and agree to renew my vow: I’ll sell all the jeans that will never slip over my hips again, and even those I can get the zipper halfway up.

Saturday finds me surprisingly eager to be rid of every pair of self-punishing jeans that I own. I feel  invigorated, empowered.

There’s just one rub. I’ve priced them at $5.00 apiece.

At a yard sale, $5.00 is a lot to ask for jeans. I know this. But that slightly faded pair on the left? I sported them on Jake’s and my first date. The boot-cut Levi’s in the center? I wore them in my glory days, once to a memorably delicious Thanksgiving dinner after I’d run ten miles. The capri’s beside them? They’d fit so perfectly, when I had them on, my ex would abandon his power tools to fuck me.

Morning morphs into afternoon. Only one woman has expressed interest in the jeans, and after learning what I’m asking, she promptly lowered them back to the cardboard. As people mill about, I scan the crowd for women with builds similar to mine. This one’s too hippy; that one’s too waifish; the rest are just too damn short.

I don’t know which will bring greater despair, lowering my prices or returning home with a huge pile of jeans that won’t fit unless I come down with mad cow disease or scurvy.

I begin to lower my prices.

At 2:30 I make my one and only sale. Two pairs for $4.00. And that’s after long and heated negotiation.

By 4:00, every car that pulls up causes anxiety, anticipation, hope, and dread. The emotions battle, mingle and coalesce, like an internal kaleidescope gone out of control. Who’s climbing out of the passenger seat? Is it a woman? How tall is she? What might she weigh?

Is there a chance she’ll buy my jeans?

By 4:55, I’m ready to chase cars down the street, jeans between my teeth, like a rabid dog.

Sometime after 5:00, when the last customer walks off, Jake starts putting unsold items back in the garage. I help, but I’m still preoccupied with my boot-cut Levi’s and perfectly faded, Gap semi-flares. Somebody — somebody in great shape, who lives on Special K, soymilk and tuna without mayo — somebody who can’t begin to imagine what she’ll look and feel like at forty-seven – please, I beg you. Give my jeans a home.

30 Comments
Charlie: The Conclusion | The Message

30 Responses to “In Crisis: The Yard Sale”

  1. Oh June, I can so relate. I too, am 47, and I too, experienced that devastating feeling of no longer fitting into wonderful clothes. I held onto the silly belief that I would lose the weight, that I’d wear those wonderful clothes again, that I’d pull them from their place of dishonor in the back of the closet to once again be front and center. T’was not meant to be. One year morphed into two, then three, then 4. I finally had to face facts, the extra weight was here to stay, the old clothes were not! :-(

    • June O'Hara says:

      Lisa, Oh my God! That’s exactly it! And you described the process so perfectly! I never imagined I’d be here, in this place. Yet, here I am, in this place. Many changes, of many sorts. I’m trying to adjust and find what works for me. I’d really like to do it with a positive attitude. I’m getting there, but damn…

      Thank you so much for your thoughts. Your identification brightened my night (which I know sounds bad, but you know what I mean. :) )

  2. There is so something about jeans. Mine are a little snug today and i keep reminding myself that I just washed them, but I cannot use the same excuse tomorrow. I better get up early and run…

  3. June O'Hara says:

    Jodi, I don’t think I know one woman who’s content with her body. If I did, chances are I wouldn’t much like her.

    It’s true about jeans. They mess with you. I totally identify.

  4. Chris Dean says:

    I’m not sure at what age it happens or why, but one morning you wake up and BAM! A long dormant gene kicks in and we begin turning into out mothers. *sigh* That’s when the horrible shrinking blue jeans begin…
    You’re not alone, my dear, in your jean-seperation anxiety.

  5. Find a youngster to give them to. My fourteen year-old, delights in wearing hand-me-downs from my friends. Just today she was switching out her summer wardrobe for her winter pieces and found she’d outgrown ten of her fifteen pairs of jeans. I’m going to have to canvas my friends for her new wardrobe. Unfortunately, my older daughter grew taller than all my friends so she’s out of luck. I will say it eases the pain for my friends to see the delight Lil takes in wearing their things.

    • June O'Hara says:

      Lynn, good luck! I don’t know any kids they’d fit, so I may take them to a consignment shop. If they don’t take them, God help me!

  6. I can empathize with your sentiments about relinquishing your old jeans; they’re the fabric of our lives. If only dressing rooms at the Gap didn’t have those crappy fluorescent lights that emphasize every glob of cellulite, then I might be inclined to purchase jeans more often. I have two pairs that I’ve worn now for the last 4 years, and honestly, I don’t know what I’ll do if the day comes when I can’t fit into them *sigh.*

    • June O'Hara says:

      Helena, dressing rooms are designed by sadists. Also, if the time ever comes when you have to give up your two favorites, just blog the shit out of it. :)

  7. C’mon June. There is a little glimmer of hope here. Do what the celebs do. They wear those all in one things – called bodies – it’s like stiff leotards that suck you in in every direction. It’s murder to get on but I guarantee the jeans will slide on like a dream. You may not be able to move around freely for a while but do you want to wear the jeans or not? ha ha ha.

    The other option is to just give up. Cut up your jeans into little squares along with other clothes memorabilia and make a quilt for the bed. You will always have memories each night as you point out where each piece of material came from. The grandchildren would love to hear stories of how granny couldn’t fit into her jeans etc …….

    As always, you made me smile.

    • June O'Hara says:

      Rumpunch, I always love your comments! Leotards that suck you in in every direction? Huh. Can I find them on Ebay, you think? Because quilting is time-consuming. I might have to give up writing altogether.

      I must give this thought.

  8. pbscott says:

    You see, that’s what you get for being so fit when you were young. If you had been overweight like the majority, your jeans would have fit more people, and you would have sold them faster.

    I understand the feeling of aging, I desperately wish for my hair back, but alas it will never return.

    Enjoyed the post.

    • June O'Hara says:

      PB, I’ll admit, it’s much easier to find jeans that fit when I’m a little bigger. Being built like I was made it impossible to find fitting jeans that didn’t reveal some pubic hair or my (forgive me) butt-crack. I should at least be grateful for that.

      Such losses, we sustain.

      I know how you feel about your hair (I think) but baldness doesn’t faze me in the least.

  9. BenEllard says:

    Put em in the back seat, park at Nordstrom’s, and when you see a right-sized potential heading for the store, you say, “Psst. Over here. Ya lookin’ for a bargain?”

  10. mulledvine says:

    You have a very interesting relationship with clothing. :D

  11. bev says:

    oh sweetie you’re young yet. wait until 50, then you’ll wish you could wear what you could at 47. remember, i’m the one growing my own leavening agent under my new found massive boobs

  12. June O'Hara says:

    Bev, LOL!!! Leavening agent…you’re such a riot! I loved that post. And this I’ll admit. I may be bigger all over, but that includes my boobs. Can you imagine the state I’d be in if it didn’t?

  13. RIP self-loathing, Jeans.

  14. June O'Hara says:

    You said it, Meleah!

  15. Babs says:

    We don’t have yard sales in the UK. I think that’s better. We pack all our good clothes, that we have no hope of ever fitting into again, ruthlessly into black sacks and take them down to the local charity shops. It’s quick and far less painful.

    You do reach a point where you realize that you actually look good the size you are. Only young girls look good as stick insects. The more mature woman needs a little more meat on her bones.

  16. June O'Hara says:

    You’re right, Babs. Donating clothes is probably better. I usually do that, but for once I thought I’d try to make a few bucks. And see where it got me?

  17. Terri says:

    Maybe if you put a sign on the capris saying they guarantee a man will put away his power tools and give the wearer a good “rogering” … ??? Damn, none of my capris ever had that effect. I’d buy em even if I had to squeeze my ass into them!

  18. June O'Hara says:

    I love it, Terri! That cracked me up.

  19. Lauren says:

    There’s always Goodwill. : ( A mid-thigh crisis – to not fit into a cherished pair of jeans.

  20. June O'Hara says:

    Lauren, mid-thigh crisis. LOL.

  21. Lady J says:

    Cute and endearing. I’m a big believer in not throwing out jeans… you never know what the future holds. Hell, you might get lost at sea and develope scurvy.

    No shame in you having a “Remember When” pile. Or, try Ebay. Keep the faith, June. Funny as usual :)

  22. June O'Hara says:

    I know, Lady J. I’ve held onto jeans for exactly that reason. I had so many, though, it was getting ridiculous. And I did keep some, just in case.

    Keep the faith…LOL. I will! Smiles to you.

Leave a Reply

CommentLuv badge