These pants are like the Olympic gold medal in the only sport I've ever played: thrifting. I consider it a sport because of the nimble fingers required to snatch an item from a tangled mass of hangers, the clarity of mind necessary to recall that all green-tagged items are half-off on St. Patrick's Day, and the immense arm strength needed to haul load upon load back into a dusty, oddly pungent fitting room. But, as any good sportsman knows, years of practice is worth nothing without a little bit of luck. And that's was the perfect storm I found myself in, on the fateful day when I walked into a Salvation Army family store on the banks of US-41 in rural Florida.
Still sailing on the cloud of a semester abroad in Paris, during which I wore exclusively black and gray, I never thought I would invest a whole $4.99 on anything so bright and cheery. But then I saw them. Nestled between a bright blue suede sweatshirt and a pair of khakis with an elastic waist were the pants I never knew I needed, and now could never live without. That perfect shade of rosy denim shone like a beacon under the dim fluorescent lights. As always, when one encounters a potentially life-changing item at a thrift store, initial joy quickly turned to a paralyzing fear of disappointment: surely they were too good to be true. I approached gingerly, eyeing the grandmothers around me, ready to pounce should one of them lay a hand on my conquest. The first touch of the clean, but pleasantly worn-in fabric, was, I imagine, not unlike a mother's first caress of her newborn's cheek.
Further inspection only increased my giddy happiness: They fit perfectly, and the label was none other than that elusive holy grail of '90s prep-grunge, Lee. Of course, the chump change spent on the pants was soon multiplied in pursuit of exactly matching shades of lipstick and nail polish, now worn in a head-to-toe monochromatic ensemble that never fails to turn the heads of passersby. Some may stare in admiration, others in bewilderment, but I am proud of what I consider one of my top ten greatest lifetime achievements (so far). We'll be together forever, my pink pants and I. Like Romeo and Juliet, or like Jack and Rose, ours truly is a love story for the ages. And I swear, in a modern-day Titanic scenario, I would give my pink pants my place on the lifeboat.
Photo: Courtesy of Lexi Nisita