Give me death by skinny jeans over bootcut misery any day

It has been in the news this week that skinny jeans can kill you. But what a way to go.

Thanks to the sterling efforts of Darwinism, a young woman in Australia almost threw a seven in her spray-ons after she did one too many squats helping someone move house, rendering herself immobile for hours when her calves swelled up.

Before you laugh yourself out of your very own drainpipe slacks, remember she was hospitalised and it was all very serious and that kind of thing. She’s recovering now.

When I was at school, skinny jeans were for the spindly goths only.

Skinny jeans have exerted their deathlike grip on calves up and down the country for a very long time now, decades even. When I was at school, skinny jeans were for the spindly goths only, bridging the gap between massive DM boot and knackered old plastic leather jacket perfectly.

Everybody else in sixth form – which was uniform-free, how modern – wore an array of average jeans, all far too baggy and all far too long. With nobody in that era expecting to be able to grow a nice arse until way past their 25th birthday, fit and form weren’t important – so long as they weren’t what the goths were wearing.

As something of a stick insect during my teenage years and most of my twenties, I feared skinny trousers anyway. These were the days before it was massively fashionable to have a sylph-like frame and look like you had a severe phobia of sandwiches.

Girls wanted to be thin of course, plus ça change, but boys wanted to be athletic – not in the 2015 way, where everyone locks themselves in the gym to look like Popeye mid-transformation, oh no.

Boys weren’t supposed to be thin in the nineties. Being slim was creepy and unattractive.

Athleticism in the nineties was looking vaguely like someone who may or may not – if you squinted in bright sunlight – look at least 25% of the way to having a bit of a ‘chest’.

Boys weren’t supposed to be thin, they were supposed to be stocky, or dead-eyed and sporty like Tommy Hilfiger adverts. Being slim was creepy and unattractive.

All you floppy-haired boys standing at bus stops with your vintage brogued-toes pointing inward and sporting your ladies’ size 6 jeans would’ve been burned for firewood in 1994. You wouldn’t have made it. Skinny men were frightening. Nobody understood why you would want to be that way.

And if, like me, you couldn’t help but be that way, baggy T-shirts and jeans made out of two sacks were your saviour. Your emaciated, undesirable frame would remain a big secret until someone accidentally agreed to have sex with you and, under the covers, would run their hands up your ribcage and be shocked to hear the first notes of The Blue Danube as if played on a glockenspiel.

If you’ve been a skinny bloke all your life and suddenly acquire a rounder arse, you feel like the most powerful man alive.

But eventually, thanks to pizza, beer and an ever-slowing metabolism, bodies fill out and you realise that people want to look at your arse. If you’ve been a skinny bloke all your life and suddenly acquire a rounder arse, you feel like the most powerful man alive.

Perhaps all these issues with dictators begin the day they get out of bed, smooth down their pyjamas and realise God has left a peach in the back of them – you’re invincible. You’re 25% more fuckable now. A whole 25%. It’s Christmas. Invade a country? Don’t mind if I do, old bean.

And so, as this was, ooh, about 1996, you had to move on to bootcut jeans, sometimes also called bootleg jeans – it depends which discount retailer you were foraging the rails of at the time. Alas, the bootcut jean giveth, and it taketh away just as quickly. I may be gaining a sweet clinging sensation to my newfound posterior but oh my goodness, where the fucking hell have my feet gone?

I’m a size 7 shoe and in trainers they look even smaller. On some days, depending on my bootcut–shoe ratio, I would look like I had no feet at all. People must have thought I got from A to B on casters, trundling here and there as my proud bootcuts dragged along the wet pavement behind me. Horrible, horrible jeans.

People must have thought I got from A to B on casters, trundling here and there as my proud bootcuts dragged along the wet pavement behind me.

And so when it became OK to be thin again, and skinny jeans stopped being quite so spray-on, I tried them once more. And I have never looked back really, aside from a horrifying year when my favourite retailers inexplicably widened all their hems. It’s OK – I had counselling.

Being hench is back in yet again, of course, but as long as you haven’t overdone the leg days, skinny jeans are the best friend your pins will ever have.

Arse looks gooooood, your legs are as long and lithe as they are probably going to get and, best of all, normal sized feet, unless you are Krusty the Clown.

If they’re in danger of killing us, so be it – I would rather die with my shoes on show and my trim ankles out for all to see than in a swathe of material, doll-toed and over-denimed like a B*Witched tribute act.

Sure, bootcut jeans never killed anybody in the traditional sense, but social death, or an unwitting existence in a style tundra, is just as terminal.

If I can still feel my legs, I’m doing it wrong.

More like this:
Why supermarkets make the singleton sad
The post-breakup bachelor pad survival kit
The first crush is the deepest
Why I hope Madonna never, ever puts it away

Image: Flickr


  1. The Blue Danube had me going. Luckily I never went through that stick phase. Trust me, when you have a serious bum your whole life there are a Whole other set of issues. Like being a 28 at the waist and a 32 in the ass and having women at topman looking at you like you’re some basement creature when you emerge with the waistband literally hovering around you an inch away, while the seat is too tight.

      1. The realest. The modern high street denies the existence of men with ass and calves. I even got pulled into a disciplinary meeting when I worked for French connection for my trousers being too low. I pulled them up and tightened the belt to show him and he apologised and let me leave.

  2. Another well written and hilarious post, though for a change one I don’t agree with. I was the heavy teen in the 90s that revelled in the shield of baggy awful jeans, I always had chunky legs and only properly got to grips with my weight around age 30, but it was from cycling so although the weight dropped the legs stayed just as awkward. Am always mortified when the skinny jeans fad come back, have never remotely been able to wear them, more so for muffin top issues if I’m totally honest. Am a definite baggy boot cut type, always love it when I see they’re back, usually on the racks of George.

Leave a Response