Women wearing trousers was a milestone for feminism and equal opportunity. I know the struggle because I had to fight for the option to wear trousers at school myself and that was in 2001. (We won by the way). Although my reasons were purely of comfort, it became more of a symbolic fight. But jeans, jeans were not designed for women.

Originally intended as men’s workwear during the gold rush, they were highly durable and hard-wearing. But that was until they met me.

It takes me weeks of Saturday afternoon shopping to scout out the perfect pair to fit my un-uniquely feminine shape coupled with my apparently unusual short leg length. According to my measurements I am a perfect square and as rare as good dust. It takes so many weeks, I commit to a brand until they discontinue the design. I buy multiple pairs at once. Stockpiling to avoid going through the traumatic search again. Each failure to fit examined in the changing room mirror with criticism and frustration. They may look great, but I can’t try and sit down in them. They may fit on my bum, but my legs are hanging like jumbo sausages.

Fluctuating weight changes the quality of the fit several times within the month. Any woman will know the fickle nature of jeans. Synthetic materials required for the perfect fit compromise the strength and durability. My thighs can burn through what I would consider a heavy-duty pair in as many weeks as I took to find them. I have had enough.

I am sick of paying for a product I know will only last a few months regardless of the amount of money I have spent on them.

I am sick of poor fitting styles I have to keep pulling up over my hips if I dare to bend over, try to sit down or even walk.

I am sick of sewing patch upon patch on my worn out thighs to try to hang on to a pair I have made as comfortable as my own skin. RIP "Mom jeans, September 2018-June 2019".

I am sick of tears and holes in worn out knees and buttons that just fall off under the strain of movement.

I am sick of washed out greys, gradients radiating from the knees.

I am sick of trying to fit my body into a piece of clothing designed by men, for men.

It’s time to realise that my lumps, bumps and curves deserve better.

I am giving up jeans and I have never felt more free.

Anxiety peaked weeks before we moved out of our pokey one bed flat. It had become clear our house purchase would not be completed by the time we would have to leave Wandsworth. The moving bit we had sorted. I had scavenged strong cardboard boxes destined for recycling, the van had been hired, the storage unit booked, we just didn’t have anywhere to go; at least not a home.

Our final destination was a block of Hotel apartments a few miles from where we hoped we would be living in the coming months. We had hoped, before our baby would arrive.

The apartments were hidden on an abandoned high street behind a relatively new retail park, the railway track towering above. Beautiful arch brickwork reminded me of suburban London; I missed it already. A gateway opened onto a bare courtyard, displaying an array of ground floor apartments. All apparently being lived in; unmade beds and dirty laundry all on show through the large windows. It was such a strange place for a hotel, only one of two in the whole town. We still wonder now who else was living there. Perhaps there were others like us.

Naturally, it was decided that a young and unmarried couple booking in the peak summer season should be housed at the very back and top of the apartment block, away from the young families or disabled customers requiring easy access. My then pregnant self wasn’t best pleased with the amount of stairs I would have to negotiate daily, but once we had checked in it was a relief to know we were sorted. Atleast for a month.

The room was smaller than we were used to, but we had expected that. One room had everything we needed. A bed, kitchenette (microwave included, hob not included) a television (crucially) and an en suite with shower. We even had a tiny dining table, but with only one chair. Even so, I had thought the space could rival some London bedsits I had heard about.

Going to work everyday gave us the structure we needed. We were both busy heading in early and leaving late. We synchronised our journeys into work, walking the few minutes to the station together, to then get separate trains heading into the same city. It was important for me to get a seat, so I took the slow train, whereas for Stephen it was important that the journey didn’t take an hour and a half. I always tried to spot his silhouette as his train overtook mine, somewhere around Bromley, but I never saw him.

We tried to make the weekends as normal as possible. We’d go for breakfast, do the washing, walk around a few shops, taking advantage of the shopping centre for its air con and sweet baked goods. We found comfort in re-watching Friends. I had only just seen the ten seasons for the first time, but when we got back to where we started, we let it roll round again. It was another thing we could keep familiar.

Life was strange, but we made it ours. Microwave meals eaten across from each other with the laptop streaming in the background. Trips to the storage unit to top up on clothes that could fit over my growing bump: every time wishing we had been more organised searching through boxes and bags to find sunglasses, flip flops and sun hats. Every trip around the shops punctuated by the need to check in on the washing machine, stored in a cupboard under the stairs. Fear and uncertainty didn’t stop us laughing as we could hear the couple next door to us having their best holiday sex.

The phrase you would use now is that it was our new normal. On the brink of so much more change, we clung to the normality of our pre-baby life. With all the strangeness of pregnancy, wild hormones and an ever-changing body, alongside the stress and uncertainty in the attempts to secure our own home, this room had become a comfort to us. It was home.

Mrs Lucy Jones. The ink flowed out of the golden nib, a rich, luxurious black. The fluid curves contrasted with the laid paper, textured with lines. The name looked foreign, but it was her name. She couldn’t quite believe it. 3 years, 4 months and 24 days after meeting her beloved Ben they were sat together amongst family, friends and loved ones signing the register that made them Mr and Mrs. He had taken some convincing, but Lucy had dreamed of her special day since she was a little girl and she knew it had to be big. Hundreds of guests, a stately home and the princess dress, flamboyant and excessive, even though she was in excess herself with her own little princess. An unplanned pregnancy, yes, but a shot-gun wedding it was not. They loved each other. She glanced over at the shimmering ink on the page. Their names together; it was official.

You are beautiful! The heart shaped post-it note precariously hung onto the cup of tea, delivered into the bedroom as Lucy breastfed her hungry newborn. She was exhausted after another night of broken sleep, but the thought of a warm cup of tea made her smile. Ben had slept in the other room in preparation for his day at work. He’d been back to work a few weeks now. She missed him.

“Thank you, sweetheart,” she gestured to the bedside table, “I’m looking forward to that.” He placed the fountain pen from their wedding back onto her bedside table. She thought it was cute he borrowed it to write little love notes. Such a romantic.

“Look I might be late again at work. Deadline. You know how it is.”

She did know how it was. The publishing industry was a bitch like that, she knew because she worked in it too. She had been Ben’s PA before she ventured into PR. So many acronyms, which is ironic for an industry where words are celebrated.

As he left, she smiled to hide the tears bubbling up onto the surface. She knew Ben hated her crying. It must be hormones. She had heard from others that this was hard, but she had found it a bit of an understatement so far. She dreaded the long day ahead with the constant crying, milk spit ups and sore nipples. She felt like a hamster trapped on a wheel she couldn’t get off.

Out with the lads tonight, won’t be late! She rolled her eyes. Again? When was she ever going to get a night out with her friends? He’d been working late a lot recently, he does deserve the break, but doesn’t she deserve a break too? She is annoyed she missed him again. He must have left while she was putting Alice down for her morning nap. She hates having to communicate with notes like this.

She confronted him as soon as he walked into the lounge, he’d barely unwrapped the scarf from around his neck. “How was it?” she directed the question at the TV, he wasn’t even sure she was talking to him.


“How was it?”

“How was what?”

“The Langham.” It was a hotel. She passed him the bank statement she had found, the transaction in question circled and underlined so angrily, black ink had splashed over the rows below.

“I have no i-”

She cut him off, “Don’t lie to me. Don’t say it was a work thing. Don’t say you needed a place to crash because you got so drunk that night you missed the last train home. No one just crashes in a 5 star hotel. Not for that price.”

He could have told her it was a mistake. A one-off. It wouldn’t happen again. She wouldn’t have believed him, of course, but they had a kid now. She’d have given him the benefit of the doubt. For Alice. She hadn’t wanted to go through the courts any more than he did. Instead he bowed his head. He said he was sorry. He was sorry it wasn’t working. He was sorry that he didn’t love her anymore. He was sorry it was over. It had been for some time.

Of course she felt betrayed. They had only been married 2 years, but it sounded like he had another woman on the scene from before Alice was born. He held her hand through labour, knowing he was going to destroy the family they were just starting. With every contraction, she squeezed his hand. He felt how much she needed him right there and then, knowing she would only need him more. She hoped he felt the shame he deserved to feel, but if he felt any regret he didn’t show it.

“This sofa is perfect!” Susie was so excited, she hadn’t expected to find a nice sofa in a charity shop. Her husband had insisted they didn’t buy new, despite the money they had received as wedding gifts. It wasn’t environmental, he’d said. This charity shop was more fancy anyway, this mid-century sofa looked fairly genuine. It was barely used apart from a bit of a mark on the left seat cushion, but that could easily be covered by a throw, she thought. She went to turn over the marked cushion and a sales assistant ran over, dutifully.

“Oh don’t worry, I can do it,” she insisted, “I’m not that pregnant!” She hated that just because she had a bump now, people assumed she couldn’t do things. It’s just a cushion.

The assistant helped anyway, lifting the cushion from the sofa. They heard a clatter. She went to drop to the floor, but the assistant got there first. “Hey, look," He held up a beautiful, white fountain pen, with gold detailing. "You can have that for free when you buy the sofa, if you like.” She had always fancied herself a bit of a writer. That’s why she took the job at the publisher’s in the first place. That’s where she met her husband. Although, all she ended up doing as a PA was photocopying and arranging diaries. Maternity leave could be her chance to write her book, on this sofa, with this pen. It was a sign; she had to buy the sofa. Her husband would love it. What’s not to love?

The sales assistant took her cheque. Handy that she had this new pen to sign it with. She added a few extra pounds, it was for charity after all. He promised it would be delivered in the next week. “Thank you, “ he glanced at the cheque, surprised, “Mrs Jones, thanks so much.”

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© 2020 Kylie-Ann Homer.