I Bought a Pair of Leather Pants: My Covid-Induced Quarter Life Crisis

Graphic by Robert Samec

I recently ordered a pair of leather—or actually, pleather—pants. In the weeks leading up to the election, between compulsively listening to SZA as a coping mechanism and checking the NYTimes app, I finally downloaded the Grailed app. For years I’ve occasionally frolicked through the website on my laptop, but I had never imagined how much the app would forever change my quarantined lifestyle. Since then, I’ve spent hours, if not days, devouring elaborate articles about 1990s Italian leather bootmakers and vintage Japanese denim. More importantly, I’ve trained my blue-light damaged/addicted hawk-eyes to scour the screen for deals.

As the election approached, I realized that the time had come for me to invest in leather pants. I always aspired to the glossy sheen of fancy pants, but feared I hadn’t rode enough motorcycles to justify a dive into rougher, durable fabrics. Although I had imagined rocking a leather jacket before braving leather pants, 2020 has taught me to never trust my expectations. Alas, I caved in as stress and excitement overtook my Paypal account. Magically, my fingers scrolled to a beautiful pair of vintage European pleather skinny jeans from a seller in Lithuania. After messaging the seller and learning they were not only machine washable, but the “most comfortable pair of trousers [they’ve] owned,” I accepted my materialistic craving as a go-ahead from the universe. As I saw the reasonable price and perfect sizing, I felt like Cinderella dancing the night away in glass slippers.

During the weeks-that-felt-like-years of delivery, I only grew more enchanted with the prospect of strutting across town, impressing dandies alike. I checked the delivery status every day, trying to decipher the Lithuanian postal service, anxious the pants would get lost in transit. I fantasized about the history of these pants making their way across European dance clubs, waiting in line for the debaucherous halls of Berghain. I bragged to friends about how leather pants were the obvious healthy next step in my manhood. My therapist assured me not to fear my “addictive tendencies” towards clothing shopping as long as I continued perusing Grailed out of love and passion without harming anyone or myself. 

A few days ago, after returning from a transformative session of acupuncture, I picked up a curiously-wrapped package. As my dogs inquisitively sniffed the international smell, I smiled in glee, proud of my online shopping escapism. I await the day where I can carelessly frolic through the streets parading these pleather beauties past crowds of unmasked spectators… for now, I might have to find a pleather face mask!

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