On the return flight from a recent work trip to Las Vegas, my friend and colleague, Terri, was seated next to Callista Gingrich, whom she chatted up and befriended during the flight. She learned Callista is not only married to a former Speaker of the House, but is herself rather accomplished: She's an author and plays the French horn in the Fairfax Symphony. My friend had the time to learn all about her new chum while lounging in comfortably oversized seats and enjoying generously poured glasses of Malbec in the first-class cabin, where she was seated because when she reserved her flight there were no more seats available in coach.
Meanwhile, back in steerage, I was eating a Larabar from my purse while the flatulent fraternity boys in front of me reclined their seats into my lap.
I bring this up because a) any brush with a public figure is pretty interesting and b) this is how things seem to work for me. If ever there is an opportunity for coolness, I tend to just miss it.
Which was painfully evident when I decided to hop on a recent fashion trend. Lately, I've been seeing colored skinny jeans everywhere I look — in every catalog, on Facebook ads, and all over Pinterest. And as I rely on these sources to dictate what I should like and purchase, thus began my quest.
A woman on a mission, I went to Nordstrom Rack and grabbed every pair of skinny colored jeans I could find with the grace of the Tasmanian devil and the discernment of Charlie Sheen at a pharmaceutical 'n' hooker buffet. I tried on pair after pair of jeans, tossing the discards into a pile and looking hopefully toward the remaining hangers, convinced my dream jeans were there. When I slipped on the last pair — some lovely skinny jeans in a deep aubergine shade, I knew I had found the holy grail of pants. They were flattering. They were comfortable. They were cool. Plus, they had the additional hipness factor of having a name brand that was fashionably obscure — right up there with Citizens of Humanity, Paper, Denim & Cloth and Rock & Republic. These were called "New York DJ" jeans.
I loved these jeans and how they made me feel so much that I went back a few days later to purchase the same jeans in a different shade. I practically skipped into the store and found the same perfect jeans in an evergreen color. I was the colored, skinny-jean queen! I had achieved the ever-elusive coolness factor!
And I was still basking in this feeling as I looked more closely at the label of the jeans while standing in the checkout line. It was then I realized that “NYDJ” did not, in fact, stand for “New York DJ” – and did, in fact, stand for “Not Your Daughter’s Jeans” – the infamous brand of jeans with a built-in slimming tummy panel and higher waistband that are favored by women of a certain age.
Sure, that was naive, but I hardly think it warranted the airline on that same flight designating me as stupid with a secret coded tag on my suitcase. (Like I don't know IAD stands for "I Am Dumb...")