Creative Nonfiction

When I Ripped My Pants

8 August 2016

Listen to Trung read “When I Ripped My Pants”.

Flinders Street Station. I have to meet Andrew in half an hour so I’m throttling through the platforms. The butterflies of a first date are swarming as usual. A primal instinct to be loved (which is really code for ‘desperate’) keeps me going. My Myki card falls from my oily fingers so I squat down to pick it up. I’ve been doing these Sh’bam dance classes where they teach me how to fully squat so people can see your colon if they look hard enough. As my thighs spread, a continental fissure rips through my denim. A hole the size of a fist right where my crotch is. You could easily slide a chicken schnitzel foot long Subway in and out. I never cry in public but, in this moment, I nearly weep. They were my favourite black skinny jeans that gave the illusion of a Kardashian body. Now, I look like a hyper realistic blow up sex doll carrying a lot of emotional baggage, needing to go on a diet.

At this point it’s too late to turn home. I’d asked my date to order a bunch of Pad Thai before because I am nothing less than a demanding control freak. I rock up and show Andrew my crotch. To my surprise, he’s equally amused and turned on. His hands slide down my thigh as I shovel shrimp in my mouth. “Easy access,” he jokes.

What followed was some of the most incredible curry-induced bloated sex of my life. You know it was good because it sounded like two hands clapping. Stop reading and try it. Gross. And hot right? I honestly wasn’t expecting sex but the jeans changed everything. When I got home, my mum was horrified and offered to sew them up for me. She had worked in clothing factories her entire life so it was second nature for her to put a stitch in time. I told her not to worry because they were old and a new pair was on the way to replace them. I’d grown up watching The Sisterhood of Travelling Pants my entire life so I was no stranger to the power that denim could have.

Every date after, I would rock up wearing the same pair of sex jeans. I would use the same “I ripped them picking up my Myki” line. The guy would feel sorry for me and subsequently aroused (this is a recurring pattern of my love life). We would pretend to enjoy whatever Marvel movie we were watching. I would have passionate lie sex. And I would go to KFC to celebrate after. Even BJR (Before Jean Ripping), KFC would be my post-date-debrief. The tired Asian girl would give me my six wicked wings and I would call my best friend to gossip on the train ride home. This usually happened once every fortnight but was ramping up to once every couple of days.

The jeans made me feel sexy. Not like Dove-soap-commercial sexy. But like traditional-media-harmful-body-image sexy. It’s not like I was hideously bad-looking. One time, an old Eastern European lady wanted to set me up with her daughter after I gave her a seat at the bus stop. But I wasn’t just the guy with the great personality anymore. It made me conventionally fuckable. Like in teen movies when a nerd girl takes off her glasses, I ripped my pants and was ready to disappoint my parents. I had spent my entire life chasing love and this hole was the game changer.

Pit stop at North Melbourne station and I’ve already pythoned a Zinger burger. I brag obnoxiously on the phone about the amount of hand jobs I’ve taken part in. My eyes wander around the train as my friend validates the shit out of me. As a writer and someone who is distastefully nosey, I love visual eavesdropping. Across from me is a Chinese couple holding grey grocery bags and holding hands. It’s the kind of intimacy that I’ve been searching for my entire life. I look back down at my own lap. The only things in my hands are a paper bag of fried chicken and a women’s magazine. A glaring hole right underneath.

A famous episode of SpongeBob SquarePants suddenly comes to mind. In the episode, he tries to gain the attention of his best friend Sandy. Nothing works – except ripping his pants. At first, everything is great. He gets the Mark Twain prize for humour. But soon the appeal of the gag pants fades. He sings the Grammy robbed song, ‘When I Ripped My Pants’ and Sandy tells him that he just needed to be himself. I had been through the same experience – with a lot more gay sex and somehow a lot less fun.

The jeans found me what I wanted. Intimacy, immediate attention and chicken induced bacne. And while there’s nothing wrong with two consenting adults having safe sex, it distracted me from what I really wanted and what that Chinese couple on the train had. The jeans failed to find me what I needed – love. That desperate fairytale dream that got me into this mess in the first place. If anyone has been able to strike a perfect balance between the two, please do not come up to me at a party to humblebrag about how well your life is going.

Flinders Street Station. A couple of months after I connect the dots between an animated children’s show and my sex life. I lug a bag of groceries to make an unhealthy Italian dinner and maybe hoe it up later. My boyfriend’s hand is cupped in mine. It might not be a fairytale. It might not be forever. But it’s butterflies. All inside my new pair of black skinny jeans.


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