I pulled my old green Old Navy jeans off their hanger and dragged them up over my calves, my thighs, my hips. I slipped the hook into the eye, then slid up the tab of the zipper.
They felt…different. I ran my finger around the inside of the waistband. There was room for a few more fingers in there.
That was indeed different.
I bought the jeans back in 2004 or so and they’d been a good fit even then. Not tight, but they hugged the curves like a new boyfriend.
Now, seven years later there was definitely some distance between my glutes and the back pockets. Not a divorce kind of estrangement, but more like the cooling-off when a relationship that verged on obsessive shifts to a more normal phase, when a couple goes from the infatuation of nightly sleepovers and daily phone calls to the slight relaxation that allows separate dinners with friends and even the occasional weekend off duty.
I added a belt and slid the tongue into the third hole, the last known location. It was fine.
Fine, but not ideal. Hesitantly, I tightened my belt another notch. It cranked the pants a little more firmly against my flesh but there was no billow to the belly.
When I undressed at the end of the day, there was no indentation or red mark to show that the belt had pressed too tightly against my skin.
Now, I had bought that belt a very long time ago, in the mid-90s. At the time I was a lot more slender than I am now – I hadn’t begun to work out with weights so I had much less muscle for one thing – and I’d even punched a couple of extra holes in the belt. I had no intention of having to use those holes but as it so often does, curiosity reared its head.
If I put the belt around my waist – at my bellybutton, where my 90s-era pants would have belted…what would happen?
I retrieved the belt from the Old Navy loops and slung it around my middle. I ran the leather through the buckle and did it up snugly over my T-shirt and thin fleece pullover. It was comfortable: snug but not tight. I looked down.
The tongue was in the second-to-last hole, the first one I had punched all those years ago.
Am I really as slender as I was at age 35? I honestly don’t think so. I think the leather has stretched a bit in the past 15 or more years.
More to the point, though, is the question “Am I slim enough?”
Part of me says, “Hell yes.”
And part of me says, “Well, maybe five more pounds…”