The Thought Process of Wearing High-Waist Jeans

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There is nothing more enticing than the prospect of encasing my loin fruits in a suction cup of denim that fastens right below the ribcage. I pull the 11-inch zipper up slowly, relishing in the compact delight of two halves of this delicious Levi’s sandwich becoming one, circling my torso in a perfectly sized love lock. I look in the mirror. A hologram of Ryan Gosling dips a finger in the blood of my enemies and writes on the glass, “Hey girl, did you swap butts with a young Brooke Shields or are you just wearing your favorite high-waist jeans?”

I put on boots with a chunky heel and a suede trench coat and I am basically six feet tall. My legs look like two parallel infinity pools at a five-star resort in Tulum. As I walk out the door, I feel as though my lower half has assumed an entirely new identity. They say we only use 10% of our brains, but I think we also only use 10% of our pelvic swagger. I’m pretty sure cloaking yourself in stiff denim from toe to diaphragm is the key to unlocking the remaining 90%. You can quote me.

I arrive at the office. Someone (probably Yvonne, because she’s always staring at me) tells me I’m glowing and asks if I got a facial. I smile coyly and let my coat drop to the floor. A hush falls over the room as I make my way over to my desk, hips swaying gently within the confines of their sweet, sweet denim cocoon.

I sit down.


Ummmm no. No no no. My solar plexus has been sucker punched. My uterus has collapsed. The metal button that fastens the top of my jeans is digging into my Pillsbury Doughboy tummy, causing a balloon-like semicircle of flesh to appear in the space between my navel and freshly cleaved camel toe — right where young Brooke Shield’s lower abdomen used to reside! Where did that go?

I stand up. It’s back!!!

I sit down again. FUDGE.

I stare at the hefty bowl of oatmeal I made for breakfast and contemplate how I’m going to ingest its contents. There is no room for oatmeal inside these jeans. There is barely room for the human girl that is me.


I glance nervously around the office and when I’m positive no one is looking, I unzip my high-waist jeans. You know that feeling when you take a sip of red wine after a long day or get into a hot shower after a workout class or dip your hand into a deep bag of uncooked rice? Yeah, this is better than all those feelings combined.

I slouch down in my chair and eat my oatmeal. It’s the best oatmeal I’ve ever had, probably because my tastebuds are in cahoots with my guts and the freedom is contagious. How long can I get away with keeping my pants unzipped before human resources (hi Matt!!!) arrests me for indecent exposure? I check the Man Repeller Employee Handbook. It is shockingly unhelpful.

I enjoy my abdominal bacchanalia for another hour, at which point I need to go to the bathroom, which requires standing up and walking across the room. I could try to make a run for it (unzipped), but that seems risky. I bow my head and pinch my zipper.

When my sister was a toddler, my parents had to install a tent over her crib because she kept escaping. Every night, when they would zip up the tent, she would cry out, “Nooooooooo.” That’s exactly what my stomach does when I re-zipped my jeans.

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I’m in back-to-back meetings for the next couple of hours, which means more sitting and scarce opportunities for unzipping. My waistband, i.e. the Circle Of Doom, is digging into me so hard I think it’s going to leave a permanent indentation — great for catching cookie crumbs, terrible for everything else. When I finally return to my desk, I look at my chair and laugh, but instead of laughing I accidentally break out in hives (classic mixup). I cannot sit in these jeans anymore. I want to climb out of my skin. Instead I take my laptop and lie prostrate on the office couch, which may or may not be inappropriate considering this is a workplace and not my personal high-waist jeans recovery boudoir, but the night is dark and full of terrors and so is the prospect of remaining perpendicular for one more bleeping second.

I hog the couch for the remainder of the day, brooding in silence save for the occasional low, primal moan of regret.


I’ve never been more excited to go home and get undressed. As I turn my key in the lock, I can already picture myself lighting a few candles, lying in bed naked from the waist down and texting my roommate to please bring me a sleeve of saltines like I’m some kind of invalid. my fingers creep toward the zipper…I catch a glimpse of my lower half in my bedroom mirror and pause.

In the words of Carrie Bradshaw, I can’t help but wonder, is the inevitable discomfort of bathing your waist in denim concrete worth the addictive pleasure of feeling like your wardrobe and your birthday suit have never been better complemented?

I text some friends: “Wanna get drinks?”

These jeans deserve a few more hours of public merriment. Flattery will get you everywhere.

Photos by Louisiana Mei Gelpi.

Harling Ross

Harling is a writer and was most recently the Brand Director at Man Repeller.

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