If “he’s wearing jeans” or “she was seen in jeans”, forget it, he or she is not anymore. They are both history. Shiva! Jeans is the point of no return, the marker that you officially left. I don’t know how it so happened, but jeans has somehow earned the honorary title as symbolic article of clothing for those who leave frumkeit. When a person starts to wear jeans, a hundred Hasidic tongues start wagging. Because of the weight “jeans” and “pants” have on Hasidic identity, those who leave are imbued with a sense of monumental transition when wearing it for the first time as well.
In order to understand what this terrible thing jeans are, I polled about 40 Facebook “samples” about their jeans experience. The results were startling. The majority of those polled described jeans as “stiff” and “ill fitting”! It shocks my prudent senses just to think of it! What immodesty! Other respondents expanded a little bit on their first time experiences, all of them quite scandalous of course I thought I’d share it with you here some of their experiences.
“I got my first pair of jean at the Gap. I had no idea how they were supposed to fit, so I asked the woman managing the fitting room if she thought they looked right. I must say they felt great. So much more comfortable than skirts. I had always thought that pants would be less comfortable, but boy was I wrong. The first time I wore them out of the house I felt like a million dollars.”
“It took me a while to find a pair of jeans I felt comfortable in so I wore them around the house first but one of the first times I wore them outside of the house was pretty memorable – I walked right past my own mother in the local shopping mall and she did not recognize me! I don’t think she even saw me and I didn’t stop her because I wasn’t ready for “that” conversation just yet. It was an oddly dual feeling – both of conspicuousness in doing something publicly that I wasn’t “supposed” to be doing and invisibility of fading into the crowd because I was dressed like most of the people around me.”
“I used to hate jeans. I thought they made you look like a farmer. I started with only black ones, cuz they were less “goyish”…”
“For me it was very confusing at first. But then I realized that my legs were supposed to go through the holes and not my arms and it got better from there.”
“I still can’t even imagine myself wearing jeans, but you know, there is many other things I didn’t even dreamed a few years ago and now I’m quite ok with it.”
“My first pair of jeans was 3 sizes big- I don’t know what I was thinking.. but I felt comfortable.”
“For me, putting on Jeans wasn’t a big deal. But the first time someone took them off was a huge deal.”
There! Now taking the jeans off… that is sin – in the best possible way!