Why is Everyone Getting So Fat?

You all think it’s fast food and all the processed crap we eat, don’t you?

Well it’s not.

It’s stretch denim.

Look closely: this is not stretch denim. If it was, she could button those jeans, and gain another 10 no problem.
Look closely: this is not stretch denim. If it was, she could button those jeans, and gain another 10 no problem.

Stretch denim is the reason everyone in the world is getting fat. If there is an island in Indonesia that hasn’t gotten fat yet, it’s because they still don’t have stretch denim over there.

Stick with me here.

Shrink to Fit Levi 501sBack in the olden days — the Shrink to Fit Levi 501 Button Fly days for me — denim was denim. You bought a pair of jeans and you wore them until they wore out. Either that, or you got fat and grew out of them. There was Pre-Washed, Acid Washed, Unwashed, Stone Washed and others. But there was no Stretch. If your jeans were tight — and you cared — you backed off on the Salt and Vinegar potato chips. 

Wait. They didn’t have those then either.

Chicken in a BiskitOK. So, you backed off on the Chicken in a Biskit crackers. Or the Bacon Double Cheeseburgers at Burger King — because they were the only drive thru open after the bars closed.

You backed off until your jeans fit again. Simple as that.

In fact, that has been my mantra for maintaining my weight since my 20’s. I considered it the best advice I ever gave to Morgan as she headed off for college this fall:

Rule #1: Wear your jeans (and not those stupid yoga pants) at least 2x a week for the whole day. Do that and you won’t gain weight.

Actually the conversation took a decidedly different turn than that. I thought that’s what I said, but what she heard was this:

If you gain weight I’m not buying you any more food. You’ll have to buy all your food yourself.

What I actually said was this:

If you gain weight, I’m not buying you new jeans. You’ll have to buy new jeans yourself.

There’s a difference, people. It might still be abusive, but there is a difference.

So imagine my surprise this February when it was me who gained all the weight. What the Hell? I’m wearing my jeans twice a week, just like always! Why does the scale say I’ve gained so much weight?! I pulled out the antique Levi 501’s and holy Hell, they were agonizingly tight.

No wonder Morgan doesn’t listen to anything I say.

The culprit, my friends, is stretch denim. J Brand, Lucky, American Eagle, Red Engine. You name it. I challenge you to find non-stretch denim anywhere anymore.

And here’s an illustration: I can wear a size 10 American Eagle skinny jean and it looks, eh… just fine. And I can wear a fricken size 2 American Eagle skinny jean and it looks, eh… a little tight but just fine. OK, OK, it doesn’t look fine. Skinny jeans in and of themselves are hideous. Nothing like accentuating your big fat thighs coming down to ankles the size of pins. But you know what I mean.

Because they s-t-r-e-t-c-h to accommodate your girth, be it your belly, your thighs, you butt. Whatever. Even your ankles, if you happen to be well endowed below the knee — which I am not, but think it might actually help to make skinny jeans look less freakishly light-bulb shaped…


This isn’t rocket science. Get rid of the stretch denim and you’ve solved the obesity problem.

Check that box and send me to the next world issue. Give me another 8 months to write a blog post, but I’ll be back with an answer.

Pinky swear.



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  1. says

    Ok. Ok. Ok. How I miss and love your rants!!! And just because we are so honest, that first picture is hideous. Fat moley belly. Ewwwh. I’m pretty sure I’m going to go purge now. Keep writing Jennie! We’ve missed you.

  2. says

    yeah well it gets worse: charlie thought the first pic was of MY belly. Lordy. Bring on more snow. I need more time before bikini season.

  3. Catherine Long says

    Ha, great quip! And I knew (you’re welcome) there was no way the picture was of your belly. I like this post as much as the one about “What to get the Guy who has Everything.” Fun reading after my last 45 essays on response to their research–which were thankfully at least interesting. Keep writing!

  4. Anita says

    After I discovered your website half a year ago and spent hours snickering, reading ALL previous posts, I waited and waited and actually I had given up. I thought, oh maybe she died, or left or I don’t know what. So today, in the process of trying to clean up my PC I was gonna delete the link – and double-clicked it by mistake – what a surprise, you are back amongst the living and I am so glad!
    English is not my first language so excuse the glitches and spelling errors. I grew up in Switzerland and emigrated to South Africa 4 years ago – you should have heard the comments from the friends… being over the age of 50 and taking such drastic steps. Oh well, enough of myself, keep up the blogging and please don’t let me wait another year for the next one! Anita

  5. says

    Well Anita, if that isn’t the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard! Do we need to send a doctor? :)

    No, seriously. That is just so nice to hear. Really. Because, to be honest, I curbed my writing for a couple reasons. First and most obviously: life is busy and I often don’t have the time. But the second and more valid reason is that I feel like it’s just so… self absorbed. And really, I’m self absorbed enough for ten people. So I thought I’d see how life felt without it.

    So anyway, thanks. It made my head swell to its normally oversized grandeur. I feel better already. :)

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