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Slices of Life... Wearing the pants

June 21, 2012
Dysart Reporter

Who wears the pants at your house? This phrase, which refers to the person who is in charge of a particular situation, originated back in the olden days when TV screens showed us the world in black and white. Beaver Cleaver's mom never wore pants. Dedicated homemaker June did her housework in a dress, complete with tightly belted waist, a pearl necklace and high heels. Family patriarch Ward Cleaver wore the trousers and served as omnipotent decision maker and allowance wielder hence the phrase.

It was a bit of a sexist world back then. Oh, to be in June Cleaver's shoes. Doing housework. Or not. Ouch.

It's no longer a black and white world. Women have been known to wear pants and comfortable shoes in the kitchen as well as the boardroom. We've come a long way baby.

Many households now function under a two pants regime. That's how we operate where I live. My husband and I attempt to govern using democracy with neither of us getting a leg up on the other. We both wear the pants. At least we did. Until I lost mine.

It wasn't during a game of poker. This isn't anything like that.

I lost my pants. Literally lost them. To make matters worse, they weren't any old run-of-the-mill pants; they were my favorite jeans. Favorite. Jeans.

You know how it is with favorite jeans: it takes years to break them in so they are molded to meet your curves and faded in all the right places. Favorite jeans are in a word irreplaceable. And mine were gone.

How does one lose something as large (and dear) as a pair of (perfectly loved) pants? Good question. I couldn't imagine the likelihood, so I searched and searched (and searched and searched). I looked in my closet, then my kids' closets. I got down on the floor and peered under the beds. I foraged through the laundry pile. I even checked our luggage, remembering a recent hotel stay.

No go. It was as if the favorite jeans had walked off on their own, which I understood was not possible. I decided I must have left them at the hotel a fairly plausible explanation, given the chaos my family of six is able to create in a single hotel room.

I relinquished my favorite jeans to the denim gods and began the process of coming to terms with the idea of replacement.

Trying on jeans is right up there with a root canal on my bucket list. I abhor the idea of sizing up the size of my rear compartment in a three-way mirror in a curtained dressing room. I'd rather eat chalk.

Because I am an intelligent adult, I understand the best way to approach an undesirable task is to avoid it. Therefore, my shopping trip got delayed. I sought solace in the satisfaction of my second favorite pair of jeans, which display a tendency to slump and sag in a couple of wrong places. At least I wasn't eating chalk.

Then, in a series of seemingly unrelated but fortunate events, school ended, bringing with it the time-honored tradition of the emptying of the lockers. My middle son (known fondly as the packrat) came home with an extra large garbage bag filled to the brim. As he worked to fit his bundle through the back door, I witnessed a glorious and unbelievable sight. There, resting atop the heap, sat my favorite jeans. (I guess my teenage son and I wear the same size pants, sort of.)

Who wears the pants at your house? I used to think I did. Then I lost my jeans and in the process discovered our household's democracy is, in reality, more like anarchy. The truth of the matter? Neither my husband nor I wear the pants in our family. Our kids do.

Follow Slices of Life on Facebook. Jill Pertler is an award-winning syndicated columnist and author of "The Do-It-Yourselfer's Guide to Self-Syndication" Email her at; or visit her website at



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