LETTERSnl^r’^^itAn^’h ‘, !• js*â„¢/nThe Love ThatnDare Not SpeaknIts Namenby Stephen Provizern”Snap out of it, they’re only a pair ofnpants. . . . That’s what I keep tellingnmyself. Actually, they’re a pair of linennpleated trousers I bought at Louis lastnspring. Little did I know what I wasngetting in for. The more I wear them,nthe more I love them, the more I wearnthem. And it’s not as if they’re my onlynpair of pants. But when I go to getndressed, it’s like I don’t have anythingnelse in my closet.”n— an advertisement for Louis clothingnstore in the Boston GlobenThirty-one days in hell; lost my girl,nmy job, my apartment; on thennod, drinking Old Crow out of the bag.nAn old Army buddy in Men’s Haberdasherynsneaked me into the boilernroom at Saks, where I sleep on anflea-bitten cot and sweat from the heat,nbut it’s all scum like me deserves; a guynwho’d give it all up for—a stinking pairnof pants.nWhen I think about the first time Insaw those babies — laying on top of then34-inch waist pile, their fresh flaxennsmell curling up into the air like a springnmorning that had sex written all overnVITAL SIGNSnit — they almost looked like they werenready to leap off the counter and pullnthemselves up over my tasseled loafers. Inhesitated to even touch them, for fear Inwould mar their perfection, but when Infinally dared to lift them up, they sprangnto life beneath my touch and, at thatnmoment, we began to breathe as one.nIn a kind of trance, I brought them tonthe dressing room, but I had no doubtnthat they would wrap my body as nonone, or, rather, nothing ever had. Inlooked at my old pants with disgust;nsure, they were 100 percent wool, butnso what? Wearing them now made menfeel like a vegetarian buried in a pile ofnpork rinds. They had become contemptiblenand vile and I knew they werenheaded for the Goodwill pile, where allnunclean things end up.nI shed them quickly and when Inslipped my legs slowly into the newnobject of my affection, I knew hownMario Andretti must feel sliding into anhighly strung Ferrari — “Be careful,”nshe will purr to you, “I can be dangerous.nBut if you treat me right, I’ll givenyou the ride of your life.”nThe waist and length were perfectnand no anticlimactic alterations necessary.nThe line, as it fell over my hips,nwas careless and subtle, like Brancusi’snbirds. The cuffs broke exactly at thenshoe top and I knew instinctively thatnwhen I sat, they would rise to reveal anperfect three inches of imported beigensilk stocking.nIn an exalted state, the most importantnevents of my life flashed throughnmy mind—my first pair of wing tips,nmy graduation from the Young Men’snDepartment, my first cummerbund.nTragic memories, too, rose up from mynunconscious — beloved argyle socksnlost, cashmere sweaters clumsilynsnagged, white bucks negligentlynscuffed. A wave of guilt overcame me.n”God, I am unworthy!” I cried andnstarted hastily unzipping the fly. Butnjust then, I heard a voice, which wasncoming from somewhere near thendouble-sewed crotch: “We are boundntogether forever,” it said, and I knew itnhad to be so.nOur first appearance was an immediatensensation: when we entered the barnnnat the Ritz, a hush fell over the horsnd’oeuvres table. Half the crowd burstninto applause and the other half ran tontelephones to scream at their tailors. Atnthat moment, we had it all. We werenTristram and Isolde, F. Scott and Zelda,nall tied together in one neat bundle.nEvery Gibson I drank was as clean andndry as the Sahara; every bon mot shonenlike the spire on the Ghrysler Building.nThat night, all was heaven.nThe second evening, we still madenan impact, but the keen edge wasnslightly dulled. I heard a stray commentnabout my wardrobe getting repetitious,nand the bartender put only two onionsnin my Gibson. Having worn the pantsnsince I bought them the day before,nthey didn’t drape quite as well, but thencrease was still as sharp as aged Roquefort.nThe next day at work, my secretarynbegan shooting meaningful glances atnmy legs. I glared back at her but knewnwhat she was trying to say. I had nownhad Them on continuously for 72nhours, but refused to admit that anythingnout of the ordinary was going on.nThat night, I saw my fiance’e,nRowena. Madly in love as we were,nneither of us thought much about mynpants. We progressed through a candlelightndinner and kissed passionately bynthe fireside. We both began to disrobe,nbut when I tried to take Them off, somenpowerful force stayed my hand. “It’s menor her,” it said and I was powedess tondisobey. I pleaded with Rowena to givenme time to figure out the situation, butnshe was adamant.n”Lookit, bud, I’m not interested in anmenage a trois. I hope you and yourntrousers will be very happy. I’d suggestnyou go to Hong Kong for your honeymoonnand have them make you up ancouple pairs of cheap in-laws.”nThings spiraled down faster andnfaster from that point. First, the pleatsnstarted to sag, then the crease began tonlose its keen edge. Gin and coffeenstains mottied the beautiful creme colornuntil I became too embarrassed tonshow up at work. Every day, I saw mynpants degenerate a littie more and mynlife with it. I lost my job and was barrednfrom the Ritz. I took to drinking innAPRIL 1992/47n