Thursday, May 14, 2009

Party on with Stephanie Kuehnert

Please welcome Stephanie Kuehnert to the party. Stephanie's the author of
I WANNA BE YOUR JOEY RAMONE and the upcoming BALLADS OF SUBURBIA... and she rocks on so many levels, it's crazy!

I found true love of the denim variety at Ragstock the summer before freshman year. Ragstock was a big thrift store in a neighborhood of Chicago that my friends and I simply referred to as "Clark and Belmont" after the intersection. It was an alternative mecca at the time. The corner Dunkin' Donuts was better known as Punk 'n Donuts because the street punks sat outside of it spare changing. Now I call the area by it's proper name, Lakeview, and it's exactly as yuppie as it sounds. Everything went downhill when they put in that Starbucks across from Punk 'n Donuts sometime near the end of high school. But at the beginning of high school "Clark and Belmont" was my favorite place to shop and I felt I'd pulled off quite a feat by convincing my mom to give me the back to school shopping money she planned to spend on me at the mall and letting me shop on my own. I didn't want "new," boring mall clothing. I wanted clothes that were already broken in, not to mention totally unique.

It was on that excursion that I found the jeans. They were men's jeans, a little bit baggy on me, and had been worn and washed enough times that the fabric was soft and it had faded from medium blue to nearly white in some spots. They were perfect except for one thing: they lacked holes in the knees. But that was easily fixed. I grabbed some sandpaper from my dad's toolbox, put the jeans on and rubbed. It wouldn't have worked so well if the jeans were new. The fabric would have torn instead of frayed. But it worked just fine on these and after I tossed them in the dryer to create more of those little white strings around the holes that I loved to play with, they looked exactly how I wanted them too, like I'd been breaking them in for years.

I went on to wear those jeans for years. The holes stretched bigger and bigger, providing a fine source of "air conditioning" as I liked to call it in the summer, and in the winter, I wore long underwear beneath them and it looked pretty bad-ass. It was the grunge era and they were the perfect grunge jeans. I retired them around the time I finished high school. Not because they'd stopped fitting but because I was going through a goth phase and wearing only black. When my fashion sense balanced out again in my early 20s, I brought them back, thrilled that they still fit. Well mostly. I guess my butt had gotten bigger and since the jeans were pretty worn, a hole formed under my left butt cheek. It was okay at first. I could still wear them with thermals when it was cold or even boxer shorts when it was warm-- that was a grade school trend I'd always wanted to try but had feared my mom's wrath, holes in the knees were bad enough, but holes in the butt? Sadly, eventually the hole widened... like to the point where I would accidentally put my leg through it instead of the leg of my jeans. And that was the end. The jeans were buried in the back of my closet where they might still be, but I have a bad feeling I went through a purge and convinced myself to let go completely. Sigh. There's never been as good of a pair of jeans since. I mean my black skinny jeans that look amazing with my engineer boots and even seem to fit when I'm feeling fat are a close second, but I guess you never forget your first love... of the denim variety.

What memories do you associate with your first love... of the denim variety? Leave a comment below and you will be entered to win a signed copy of I WANNA BE YOUR JOEY RAMONE!