The Genes in my Jeans

by Sara Spock

I like genetics. Our genes are filled with twisted little secrets about our past and our future, unraveling everything from eye color to hereditary diseases. But in and amongst these micro-marvels there are bundles of ambiguity. When facing down the season of Shopping-ZOMG-Sales-Ican’tbelieveit’sthatcheap-Extravaganza, I’m reminded of one such brainteaser. Why wasn’t I born with the gene that gives you a nose for bargains and an eye for fashion? Why can’t I answer questions like: Does this blouse go with those pants? Can I wear Chucks with this dress? Does this sweatshirt clash with my skirt? Why are those children staring at me in horror?

My sisters will text, call, and email with sales, “Did you see those cute Couture shoes for 42 cents at Mega Cheapo Emporium?” or “Don’t pass up the imported Parisian purses at Deals for Dummies!  Buy 1 get 6 free!” and “You’ll never believe it! I found 16 outfits for the boys for a penny a piece!” One will track down jumbo sales on the most fabulous things while I go cross-eyed at the thought of plain white tees at Target.  The other can plan outfits for entire flocks of nieces, nephews, and random garden gnomes from two states away. I can struggle into jeans and wear my PSU sweatshirt like nobody’s business! Don’t misunderstand, I love looking nice - but when your brain goes blank and your blood runs cold at the thought of stepping one Tom-soled shoe into the mall, it’s a near impossibility.

I recently started substitute teaching and needed to snag a few updated items for my mostly mommified wardrobe of the latest in Spit-Up Fashion. Spit-Up Fashion: it’s the season that comes between, Large like a Barge and in Charge, and Hand Me the Spanx, I Think My Jeans Will Fit. During the Spit-Up season, friends may have to pry the sweatpants, yoga pants, warm-up pants, and tracksuits away from new moms in favor of actual clothing. The situation can be exacerbated because she may have to size up to dress up. And who wants to admit they’re going from size Hippo to size Elephant?

Dressed in the finest hoody and yoga pants I could scrounge, I forced- er, invited my baby sister and mother to go shopping with me to find new trousers. If I was going into the foxhole, someone had to cover my left flank and those yoga pants weren’t cutting it. Four stores and seven years later, our mother gave up, found a nice bench in the middle of the mall and declared, “I’ll wait here.” My sister bravely soldiered on in search of the perfect 35” inseam, which eventually turned up with a buy-one-get-one sort of bonus sale. How’d she do that?

So, my genes betray me and my jeans don’t fit, but I have a pair of sisters that know how to make me look my best, even at my worst. And when push comes to shove-that-love-handle-into-those-pants, there’s always online shopping with free returns!

~Sara Spock is a Mom, Wife, Penn State Graduate, Substitute Teacher, Freelance Writer and Chocolate Addict.  When she’s not freezing up in the face of fashion, Sara can be found over at The Hero Complex where she tries to save the world, one. blog. post. at. a. time.


  1. "Hand Me the Spanx, I Think My Jeans Will Fit."


  2. Very good! I enjoyed this. And my sisters are much better at finding bargains than I am.

    I wore elastic-waist pants long after I was pregnant. I didn't want to catch my belly in a zipper.

  3. This is a funny, warm, brilliant piece, Sara. Really well done on so many levels.

  4. Loved this post. What an awesome piece - Nice job! made me chuckle and made me remember "back in the day" - Thanks Sara!!


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