I am not a size 6. I maybe waved at a size 6 some time in my late teens but I certainly didn’t stop there.

So the fact that my favorite Levis are a size 6 is a miracle attributable, I think, to the wonders of modern fabric making–and maybe to some smart marketer realizing that for many women there is a certain effervescent joy that happens in the privacy of a dressing room when–gasp–the smaller size slides on with a minimum of tugging, straining, and gasping.

In search of finding another pair of my miracle pants, I went off to the Levi store, where I found bupkes Elaborately styled, dizzying choices, but ultimately? Nada.

Following a suggestion from Karen, I went into True Religion Jeans but I did not find god. Found a sales clerk who, when I asked–timidly–about the possibility of their jeans being on sale, smiled at me in pity, shook her head, and said “they don’t do that.”  Fine. I didn’t really want pants with rhinestone buttons on the pocket flaps anyway. (Why yes, that is a sour grapes response, you’re absolutely right! I would love rhinestones–or rather, the life that rhinestones suggests. A sort of Loretta Lynn, Lucinda Williams rhinestone and scuffed boots kind of life.  I do not have that life. Alas.)

Then a friend on twitter suggested JC Penney (thanks Brenna). Yes, seriously, JCP, as they’re liking to call themselves these days.  I think they’re trying to Tar-jay-ify themselves and while I’m not sure that’s going to work, I have to say, going to Penney’s? An actually pleasant experience.  Helpful sales clerks, clean aisles, big dressing rooms, good prices…who knew?

And I found them. My 505s. Nothing fancy, no bleachy whiskers down the front, no rhinestones, no low-rise front threatening to expose my nether bits to the world. No three-digit price tag.

Brought them home, tried them on again –still okay– wore them around, washed them, put them back on and…within an hour they were sagging down to my hips and puddling around my ankles. Size SIX? Sliding down my hips?  It’s against the natural order of things. A jeanspocalypse signifying that the end of the world is nigh.

Husband heard my crabbing around about my jeans and unveiled an early birthday present – yet another pair of Levi 505s, this time from Levis.com  Tried those on. Same thing, baggy, saggy, puddly.  So his very sweet gesture will be…returned in tomorrow’s mail.

It’s like a weird story problem in math class: if there are 3 pairs of jeans, all claiming to be the identical size and style, how can the fit be so radically different?  The pair that I love has 98% cotton, 2% spandex; the JCP pair is 99% cotton and 1% spandex; the Levi.com pair is 99% cotton, 1% elastane, whatever the fuck that is.  Anyone want to venture a discussion of the difference between spandex and elastane? Perhaps something a dominatrix would have fun with, if done up in black?

But here’s the kicker–the pair I love and bought a few years ago? Made in Mexico.  The other two pairs? Made in China.

Is this great jeans pattern shift some kind of a strange Chinese plot, to make the butts of Western women look all saggy and baggy? To fool us into some false sense of security about our size six-ness so that we continue to eat ourselves into oblivion, and thus disregard the imminent Chinese take-over of the world economy?

My other pair is always snug, as if to remind me that weeks of unfettered cookie eating would NOT be a good idea. They keep me on my guard, my Mexican sixes.

So now I have a new shopping list for my great jeans quest, although a few things I already knew:  No funky rinse or wash or pre-made rips. Straight legs. A rise that covers my lady parts. But to that list I can add: 2% stretchy stuff.

And they have to be made in Mexico.