Suresh Menon

Friday - - Contents - Suresh Menon is a writer based in In­dia. In his youth he set out to change the world but later de­cided to leave it as it is

Freeze ‘em or wash ‘em? Our colum­nist joins the great jeans de­bate.

Ihave known a few foot­ball writ­ers in my time, and I have worn a few pairs of jeans in roughly the same time. But it has taken an Amer­i­can foot­ball writer (which is rather like say­ing a Nor­we­gian cricket writer) to throw a bridge across the two cul­tures.

He ad­mit­ted be­fore the start of the foot­ball World Cup in Brazil that he liked look­ing good (and one can’t ar­gue with that), and part of the rou­tine for look­ing good was to throw his jeans into a freezer “once in a while”.

This set off afresh the sec­ond most dis­cussed ques­tion in the world (the first be­ing, “Does love ex­ist and if so, what do we do about it?”): “Should jeans be washed?”

For a brief pe­riod, there was a sup­ple­men­tary ques­tion: “But why the freezer?” How­ever, that was quickly for­got­ten, be­cause weigh­ing in with his per­sonal ex­pe­ri­ence was the CEO of one of the world’s lead­ing man­u­fac­tur­ers of jeans who boldly said, “I have never washed my jeans.”

This caused so much ex­cite­ment that the me­dia for­got to ask him whether he brushed his teeth or washed his un­der­pants.

The World Cup is done and dusted, but there is no fol­low-up story on the Amer­i­can writer’s jeans.

How quickly did he empty the me­dia cen­tre when he en­tered it?

Who were his real friends – those who had no ob­jec­tion to sit­ting be­side him? How many par­ties were held in the germ world to cel­e­brate? Was there a great de­mand for the ice cream he might have stored in his freezer?

In my youth, I was a non-washer of jeans, much to the dis­gust of a friend who wore not stone-washed jeans, but as he said, “maid-washed jeans”.

For some strange rea­son, stench was seen as manly in those days, and it was cool to wear stink­ing jeans. Or so I thought, un­con­cerned about the peo­ple who gave up their seats or places in

For some rea­son, stench was seen as manly in those days and it was cool to wear stink­ing jeans

queues for movie tick­ets, and the more sub­tle ones who gripped their noses tightly as I walked past.

I con­tinue to wear jeans. They do not stink. Not be­cause of the freez­ing tech­nique – which in any case kills only 72 per cent of the germs, leav­ing 28 per cent to wreak havoc on the en­vi­ron­ment – but ow­ing to an­other devel­op­ment. I got mar­ried.

There is noth­ing that kills ro­mance faster than un­washed cloth­ing that draws at­ten­tion to it­self.

The wife, I dis­cov­ered, had no ob­jec­tion to putting my jeans in the freezer – with me in­side them.

Now, I am con­fi­dent that you could eat your din­ner off my jeans.

Clean­li­ness is love.

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