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HomeOpinionThe Papa Files: The Singer Temptation

The Papa Files: The Singer Temptation

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While I am never again going to buy clothes online, I still look. I don’t mean I’m shopping for clothes all the time. But after I’ve made my rounds of music (mainly stringed instruments, but also wind, and others means of percussion), books (mainly history and autobiography, but also how-to, including musical instruments), and tools (mainly those I dream of having, including repair kits for electric guitars), I occasionally check on the latest in men’s wear. And actually, I am in the market for new undies. While my socks and shorts are beginning to unravel and become threadbare, they are still usable. But when the holes in the armpits of my T-shirts become two inches wide, which they have, it’s time to buy new. I’ll check at Exwork first, and if that conundrum of misplaced ideals fails me (and that’s been seldom concerning skivvies) only then will I order from Amazon. You might ask, why don’t I try other stores? Because it’s been my experience that they sell the same things, the same brands. Perhaps Duluth Trading Co. sells better such products, but that’s a long drive for underwear.

Hey, I just right-clicked on the word “skivvies” and checked the synonyms, to make sure I was using it correctly, and according to Word-on-HP it means toils, labors, grafts, grinds, and plods. Nope, that’s not what I remember! I checked in my red book of words (what I call my Webster’s Dictionary) and it reads: “1. A knit shirt with a small placket at the neck. 2. Underwear consisting of this or a T-shirt and shorts.” Well, this is a very serious disappointment for me, my computer being so completely wrong!

Anyway, not long ago, after deciding I will indeed, one day soon, buy a Donner seven-string lyre – about forty bucks and perfect for beginners – I was clicking around clothes and came across a reference to something called “short rise pants.” I researched it further, and found that pants have three measurements, not two. Traditionally, there is the circumference of waist and the length from about mid-heel to crotch, called the inseam. But there is also the length between the beltline and crotch.

So the true size of pants should be listed as W-L-R. I’m 36W-32L, though W has changed over the years, bigger and smaller, and L appears to be diminishing in increments of millimeters due to backbone shrinkage. But I’m also a 10R. It was difficult to measure myself that way, using a long, aluminum level between my legs and a metal tape measure, and I’m not sure if I should have measured to the top or bottom of my belt, so it could be R11. I took out a couple pairs of pants and measured them from crotch to top-loop and they are 13 inches. Ah, well, that’s why every picture of me from the back looks like I have no butt. My pants don’t snug because I’m wearing the wrong rise!

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Eagerly, desperately, I searched for short rise pants. I wanted 36W-32L-10R. Naturally, online shopping sites wouldn’t tell me that they don’t have what I’m looking for; they try to trick and tempt me to click on whatever comes up. But I am now savvy. I have a mental list of what to look for in pants: seven loops, full zipper, back pocket buttons, regular fit, and now the crotch-to-belt rise. So they don’t fool me. But they also didn’t have what I wanted.

I’m tempted to set my wife’s Singer sewing machine on my desk and either fix the pants I have or buy a pattern. My mother had a box of patterns, although I don’t remember any of them being for male clothes. I think they were mainly for her and my sister. In fact, I’m not sure there are patterns for men’s pants. I’ll have to look, the next time I’m at Exwork.

I just checked with my wife, and her sewing machine is a Brother. It’s computerized. But like Xerox and photocopies, I always think of Singer when it comes to sewing. My mother has a Singer, and I believe her mother had one, and even my wife had one years ago, but it was stolen from the government storage facility while we were in Germany.

But if I pursue this, I think I’ll try to fix a pair of pants I already have. I imagine there are two options. First, cut two or three inches off the waist. But that means I’d have to deal with belt loops, a snap or button, and the zipper. I’d rather not. Second, I could unstitch the entire inseam, which runs from one cuff to the other up and across the crotch, cut one and a half inches from both sides, and sew it all back together. The zipper would definitely go all the way down, then, nearly between my legs. But I’m okay with that.

However, that is not a quick hobby to learn, I suspect. I’d rather there be a Long and Short Rise Waist store. It could be part of a Big and Tall store, a small section in the back. I’d shop only there for pants, have them on my phone, my computer, and get their credit card.

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