Ripped Jeans
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 by Jon Burras
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     I grew up an active child. I played sports. I climbed trees. I hiked and dug ditches in the back yard. While engaging in this active lifestyle my clothing at times would take a beating. A torn shirt or some muddied socks might have been the reward for a hard day at play. There were even times when I might have ripped my jeans in a few places, especially around the knee caps. But I can guarantee you that when I did rip my jeans I did it the old-fashioned way. I did it by an active lifestyle and not as a fashion trend.

    When my jeans did rip my ever-so devoted mother would sew a new patch over the ripped-out hole. Sometimes that patch did not last long and two or three patches were required to keep the air out of my torn and tattered active wear. My jeans, as exemplified by the gold miners who invented them (notably Levi Strauss), were a fine example of a very durable and protective outer wear. When patches would no longer plug the holes my mother would drag me down to the local J.C. Penneys store and we would purchase a new pair. Thus the life cycle clock of my new jeans would begin from the moment I put them on.

    In today's world the ripped jean look is a boisterous fashion trend. Those who follow this fashion statement did not earn those rips and tears in their jeans. There was no fun or sweat equity involved. Sliding into second base in a little league game did not produce a rip or tear for them. Falling out of a tree was nowhere in their fashion vocabulary.

    Instead, in most cases these slaves to fashion paid premium amounts of money to purchase their jeans with rips already included in them. How absurd is that? A common sense individual would think that a deliberately defective product must be deeply discounted from the price of a perfectly good product. That is not the case here. Since the ripped jean look began showing up some years ago fashion outlets and designer stores have been earning big bucks selling ripped jeans.

     At first I thought it was just a trend for obnoxious rich teenage girls to be doing. Much like the style trend of imprinting the word "Pink" on the front or back of a woman's pants, this ripped jean trend has spread to other areas as well. Soccer moms now wear ripped jeans. Celebrities on television can be seen with ripped jeans. Even men can now be spotted wearing this archaic lifestyle trend.

     Surprised at first by how trendy these wardrobe choices are, I came to not be as shocked any more. After all the standards of our culture have certainly eroded quite a bit. You can now see male sports and news anchors that have an unshaven face while on live television. The suit and tie is often replaced with a sports jacket on top of an activism related t-shirt. Multi-colored hair and face and neck tattoos seem to be the rage these days. Showing cleavage in a professional attire has been normalized by many women. Why wouldn't ripped jeans be next?

    Maybe I sound like my father, but how often do you really need to change your wardrobe? Just because I still have those shirts that I bought in high school should not matter. Does someone really need two hundred pairs of shoes?  I can count the number of pairs of shoes I own on one hand and still have some fingers left over.

     Why is it that so many people are trying to be "cool" or "trendy" Do they so much lack self-esteem that they need to follow what the crowd is doing? Are they looking for acceptance because they feel like they need followers on their social media platform?

     Some might feel that these fashion zealots might be trying to express some inner conflict by wearing their ripped jeans. Do they wish to appear like they just walked out of a homeless camp? Do they feel better about themselves when they look "trashy"? Is there some hidden therapeutic message going on that they want to look like they were attacked or raped much like there are some women who have a secret fantasy of being a stripper?

    Well, who am I to judge? Anyone should be allowed to wear anything they want. All I know is that I am very proud of my ripped jeans. Each and every rip and tear had a story to it and every tear was  righteously earned and considered a badge of honor. If my torn jeans could tell a story they would express a smorgasbord of a fun-filled and active childhood. I doubt that those who are a slave to fashion can say that about their ripped jeans.