Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Toughskins for Girls and An Apology to My Mother

I just sent Kyra to school with a small rip in the right knee of her jeans. Just as we were preparing to walk out the door, she giggled, "Look at me, Daddy, I can walk on my knees!" Rip. I didn't have time to change her, so off we went. At least it's still somewhat fashionable to wear holey jeans (a bit of a stretch for a six year-old, I know), but I still feel bad about it. The kid is going through her jeans faster than we can buy them for her. It reminds me of someone...hmmmm...perhaps ME when I was her age.

My brother and I both worked destroying jeans to an art form. I can even remember one occasion where I put two holes in the knees of a brand spanking new pair of jeans by performing a double knee slide on the asphalt of the playground at school. My mom was not happy, so she eventually struck back. She bought us Toughskins.

Toughskins were a Sears brand of jeans for boys that were virtually indestructible. They basically sewed large squares of what seemed to be cardboard into the knees of their jeans, thus making it impossible to rip a hole in them. However, it also made it impossible to bend your legs, so running, sliding, jumping, and wrestling were completely out of the question. Basically Toughskins produced a playground full of robot-mimicking boys. They took the reinforced knees out of the equation because boys simply couldn't play in them. We hated Toughskins.

But my mom hated holey jeans more, so we wore Toughskins. Money was tight, and we simply couldn't afford to buy new jeans every time I did a double knee slide. I hated that as a kid. As a Dad, I get it. I'm living it. Stop laughing at me, Mom.

I went to the Sears website to see if they still sold Toughskins, and, amazingly enough, they do; but only for boys. I guess that's OK. I'll spare the girls the emotional trauma of walking straight-legged for the month or so that it takes to wear those suckers in. Truth be known, if they made Toughskins for girls I'd at least take a look at them. We have to stop the jean-hole hemorrhaging somehow. For now, I guess we'll just keep buying them.

Oh, and sorry Mom. Your craziness then now makes sense. A little.


Anonymous said...

What's with the harsh judgement of Toughskins? They were (are) the ONLY pants that last longer than a month on active boys. (We're not talking about lethargic overweight couch potatoes here). My kids will wear out a Toughskins pair of pants in 4 months. Normal "Canyon River Blues" crap from Target? - less than a month. After a few years of replacing jeans as frequently as I bought milk, I couldn't care less about how "cool" or "uncool" they are. Fact is, they DO last somewhat longer, however the Toughskins II (circa 1990) aren't quite as nuclear-proof as those from the 70s, but they are real denim now.

the battered ham said...

Dear Anonymous Touter of Toughskins,

Whatever floats yer boat, saves you money, doesn't traumatize your children, and is legal is absolutely cool with me. Live long, wear Toughskins, and prosper...that's what I always say. Well, except for the Toughskins part. Unless I'm reading your comment wrong, I think you completely missed the point of my post. And if I am reading too much into the confrontational tone of your comment, I humbly apologize.

Anonymous said...

Hello -Battered Ham,

I just chanced on this post of yours and was truly tickled !! I have no clue what Toughskins were but your post gave me a C-L-E-A-R picture of it ! I came into the US way later and thus the ignorance but thanks!...(still laughing ..)

the battered ham said...

Glad I could be of service. Thanks for stopping by!

Anonymous said...

AHHH! Toughskins! Honestly, I think they were the little kid equivalent of Carhartt before Carhartt's were cool...and there's the rub!

I was cursed by my frugal parents to an elementary school career (1976-82) wearing toughskins while all my friends got to wear "cool" Levis. Still, not only would I make my kids wear them now, but I will continue to wear Carhartt double front logger jeans. Guess you can take the kid out of the toughskins but cant take the toughskins out of the kid!

Anonymous said...

The toughskins they sell today have actually some clothing quality to them. The ones my mother bought me in the 70s had no such quality. After about a year of wearing them daily, you could flex the "fabric" a bit. Still, my 5 year old son goes through one pair of jeans and one pair of shoes at least once per month. So I can see where my mother was coming through.

Anonymous said...

Just thought I would let you know that they now sell toughskins for girls. I just bought them for my daughter. The label actually says toughskins for girls.