I am 27 years old and nowhere close to being ready for motherhood, but somewhere along the way, I acquired a pair of Mom jeans. What makes a pair of jeans Mom jeans, you ask? Let me break it down for you.
- They must be largely unflattering
- The butt is saggy
- There’s no hip hugging action
- They are abhorrently straight-legged
- They are likely too short (hello exposed ankles)
Now, I’m no fashion guru. I wear what I want when I want, and I rarely buy clothes. Sometimes I’m fashionable, sometimes I’m comfy, and sometimes I look like Sporty Spice shopping for a bag of beans at the grocery store. But if someone is willing to give me clothes for free, I say hurray for hand-me-downs! More savings for my travels! Luckily, I have a lot of girlfriends who excessively shop and so I get their hand-me-downs after the new purchase becomes outdated 3 months later. But Mom jeans? Seriously?
I acquired a pair of holey jeans from a friend recently. The kind that makes your father scorn, “Those jeans came like that?” or “You spent how much on jeans with holes in them?” Luckily, I can tell him both, “I actually got these jeans for free” and “These holes came with it and this one is the result of my tree climbing skills.” But those pants are packed up nicely in my home base back in the Bahamas. The only pair of jeans that came with me in my 15-gallon backpack to trek around Peru were my Mom jeans. Again, I ask, Mom jeans? Seriously?
Surprisingly, packing these jeans was a conscious decision, not a mistake. I have made 6 trips to Latin America, and I was immersed in the Cuban culture while I lived in the Florida Keys for 3 years. I know that you get whistled at, fawned over, harassed as a white female—a gringa—in a Latin American country. I love the culture, but I hate that part of it. Like really-want-to-scream-at-the-next-guy-who-hassles-me hate that part of it.
So I looked at the clothing options laid before me while packing for this trip on a whim. The holey jeans are much more trendy and flattering, while the Mom jeans border on warranting a call from the Fashion Police. But I didn’t want to attract any more attention by showing off my skin when I already stuck out as a white girl. I wasn’t traveling to impress anyone. In fact, I was taking off to spend some quality time with me. Any people I met along the way would surely not judge whether or not to strike up a conversation with me based on what pants I was wearing. Surely not. Silly world we live in.
I’ve learned that traveling buddies aren’t made by judging a book by its cover. Once-overs don’t really precede making new friends all the way across the globe. Someone takes the empty seat by you on a bus, you chit-chat, connect and that’s it. Easy peasy. Solo travelers, globetrotters, nomads, wanderers—we are kindred souls. There’s an instant, natural connection between people of different countries that meet in yet another country, people who share a common love of culture and nature and the unknown. It’s unexplainable, incomprehensible to anyone who hasn’t experienced it. They simply cannot understand how very real and true and beautiful these friendships are. But they exist, Mom jeans or not.
And so on the cold mornings when I button my Mom jeans in Peru, I don’t question how attractive my butt looks while I’m walking to the market. I make new friends. I walk with confidence, and that’s the most fashionable outfit a woman can wear.