$20 Jeans (A Short Story)

We were having a conversation about the fact that the guy that Elizabeth had started dating a week ago wasn’t for her. She was explaining that he was really nice, but that he was pretty different from her. Actually, she made it abundantly clear that he was very different from her. During a conversation with our cousin Laurel earlier that afternoon, she used some form of ‘he’s really different from me’ many, many times.

"So how is your dating life going?" Laurel inquired.

Elizabeth shoots me a polite smile that says, ‘Don’t say a fucking word. Just keep your mouth shut while I paint a rosy picture of Daniel. Just humor me, okay?’

"I just started dating this really nice guy," she says.

"Oh, do tell!"

"Well, he’s Jewish, a doctor…"

"What kind of doctor?"

"He’s a pediatrician and also practices internal medicine."

Elizabeth would know. After the night of their first date, she called him about a rash that had developed overnight. She also proceeded to ask him about a few other things that were ailing her, asked if he could write her a prescription for Xanax. Xanax… Yes, she probably needed that the most.

"He also started a hospital in Mexico for poor people," she said nonchalantly and smiled (at me).

"Wow, this guys sounds really cool. Do you like him?"

"Yeah. He’s really nice, but we’re pretty different. He’s not as materialistic as I am and I think that could be a problem."

I started laughing.

"Shut up, Jeremy."


Laurel just smiles.

"He’s just… He’s cheap, okay? He wears these awful chinos and button-down shirts to work. He looks kinda like a slob. Oh, and his house is a mess. Well… It’s not really a mess, but it’s not very neat. He’s a doctor. He should get a cleaning lady. He’s just not as neat as I am."

Laurel is just staring at Elizabeth, emotionless.

"So, what do you guys have in common?" I ask.

"We… I’ve talked to him on the phone quite a bit. He’s really nice, but we’re different. His car is kinda gross."

"Well, he probably thinks your car is gross."

She drives a pimped-out Cadillac Escalade with 24" wheels and chrome rims.

"Actually, he was a little freaked out about my car."

"Sounds like he’s pretty different."

She turns back to face Laurel.

"He’s nice, but we are different. He reminds me of Jeremy and dad. He’s very caring and sweet. He cares a lot about people."

"What, and you aren’t caring?" I shoot back.

"I care, Jeremy. I just think he’s a little more caring and nice. He’s a doctor! You have to care if you’re a doctor. We’re just not exactly in line, if you know what I mean."

"You mean you guys are different."


"How many times have you gone out with him?" Laurel asks.

"I went out with him a few times. We had such an amazing time last Saturday. We literally stayed awake all night and talked after an amazing dinner. I called him the next day and he asked about getting together for lunch the next day. He invited me over to his house and had cooked me my favorite dish for lunch. Can you believe that?"

"Wow, that’s so wonderful. He sounds like a very sweet guy."

"He is, but I think he might be too nice."

"Yeah, god forbid someone treat you well, Liz," I slip in.

"Shut up, Jeremy."

Laurel smiles politely.

"Well, I hope you guys work out. He sounds like a very interesting guy."

"You know what I think?" I say. "I think he’s a fantastic guy and you’re afraid of liking someone that’s not only smart and is going to treat you well, but you’re going to judge him by his outside."

"Jeremy, would you date a girl who wore $20 jeans?"

"Where do you get $20 jeans?" Laurel inquires.

"He buys his jeans at Sears. They are the store brand or something."


"I dunno. They say Sears on them."

"Wait, you actually looked?" I say.


"You’re terrible," Laurel says as we all laugh.

"Look, we just spend our money on different things."

Hours after this conversation takes place, the family and a few friends gather in the living room for some post-party conversation. Brandy’s phone rings. She sounds very excited and her voice goes up a couple of octaves.

"Oh, that’s so sweet…" She says into the phone.


"Yes, that sounds like fun," as she rolls her eyes to us.

"I think I am just going to stay around here with the family."

"Thank you for inviting me though."


"Okay, bye."

Obviously it was Daniel.

"You should just cut him lose," mom says.

"What’s you’re problem, mom? You don’t even know him. He’s really nice."

"Liz, if you say ‘he’s nice’ or ‘he’s different’ one more time, I’m going to call him for you. During that short conversation we had with Laurel, you said something like that at least 10 times," I say.

She smiles and starts playing with her phone.

"Well, he is different than me! He wears cheap clothes, doesn’t drive a very nice car and his house is kinda messy."

"He probably has bad hygiene too," Brett says.

Elizabeth thinks about this for a minute. She clearly hadn’t taken it this far in her head. A peak inside her brain would reveal the following line of logic:

He’s a nice guy. Real nice. This is very suspect and starts her thinking that perhaps there is something wrong with him. He doesn’t dress very well, which means he doesn’t care. The fact that his house isn’t ready for an Architectural Digest photo shoot further feeds this line of thought. The car… We mustnt forget about the car. The car generally says a lot about a guy and his is American. So you see, because he clearly doesn’t care about his outward appearance, but is so caught up in taking care of other people, he probably neglects himself in ways that she hasn’t seen yet.

"Have you seen his cock?" Brett asks very seriously.

The entire room laughs.


Mom gets up to leave the room.

"Well, expect a jungle when you do."


"Well, anyone that wears $20 jeans, doesn’t shave down there."