The Unbearable Lightness of Adulthood

| July / August 2004

Reflections on turning 30

It all started with the lowriders. You know, those skintight jeans favored by teenyboppers everywhere that choke the hips and barely cover the pelvis (the better, apparently, to show off your Hello Kitty thong). When I turned 30, I drove to The Gap and bought a pair. A transparent attempt to reassert my fading youth, it was an utter failure. Not only did I feel silly and verging on the pathetic each time I saw a 9-year-old strutting her stuff in the very same pants (that's what I get for shopping at The Gap), but, aesthetically speaking, the jeans seem designed exclusively to force your love handles out of hiding.

I'm 31 now, officially retired from squeezing into lowriders. It's clear that I'm too old for them, and yet I'm too young for "mom pants" -- those ridiculously high-waisted trousers that flatten your ass into something resembling a large card table. The cut of my pants, though, is the least of my worries. The entire lowriders episode has revealed to me an existential crisis that goes way beyond the wardrobe.