Iâ€™ve just interviewed Neil Olafson, Marcus and Owen Shaw, all jean-wearing hero-protagonists. Matched with psychic triplets, Claire, Tempest and Leona, respectively, in AT THE EDGE, A STRANGERâ€™S TOUCH and FOR HER EYES ONLY, these men do wear their jeans right; they are also connected within the trilogy. The trilogyâ€™s story arc concluded with FOR HER EYES ONLY and is a perfect time for a masculine-style roundup:
Setting: Owen Shawâ€™s Lexington Kentucky horse ranch. At sunset, weâ€™re sitting on the spacious remodeled front porch of his home, overlooking fields of Kentucky bluegrass. There are six pairs of menâ€™s work boots with a whole lot of blue-jean covered legs attached to them resting on the railing in front of the men. At a strategic point (where I can enjoy the visual buffet), I begin the interview:
Cait: Thank you in advance for agreeing to this interview. If at any point youâ€™re uncomfortable, please let me know.
Neil: Glad to help.
Owen: (Nods in agreement)
Marcus (smiling) : Just keep it clean.
Cait: Agreed. Letâ€™s start with this: I was really disappointed in the latest Indiana Jones movie, rather Harrison Fordâ€™s trousers, his khakies, whatever. In previous movies, the leg cut seemed wider, more masculine. Everyone has aged a bit, but the closer trim of his pants leg didnâ€™t appeal to me. I canâ€™t remember the waistband on the others, but I donâ€™t think the pleated-waistband look suited him as well either. Any comments?
Neil (a Montana workman, who builds â€œteardropâ€ custommade campers) : He should have worn jeans. Theyâ€™re durable. You can wipe your knife blade on them and not worry about damaging them. A man always wipes his knife on his pants. I wear carpenter jeans sometimes. Looser fitâ€¦place to hang the hammer on the leg. But then, I wear bib overalls, too, and coveralls.
Cait: Good thought, and btw, I know that knife is used for absolutely everything. Letâ€™s expand the difference between bib overalls and coveralls, something you zip upâ€”you evidently do not need to wear jeans or other pants beneath the bib overalls, but coverallsâ€¦do you wear other pants beneath them?
Owen (smiling indulgently. Heâ€™s in investments and flips real estate): Cait, thatâ€™s like asking a man if he shaves before showering or after. Coveralls are just goodâ€¦cover, protecting your other clothing. Theyâ€™re a little warmer in hard winter or in bad wind chill conditions. You wear khakies in cold weather and youâ€™ll freeze yourâ€”sorryâ€”off.
Cait (laughing): Oh, I can follow that thought. But I like where this dialogue is going. Now â€˜wornâ€™ jeans, stonewashed, bleached, blue jeans, denims, wider leg, denim washed, what kind of jeans, belt or no belt, cuff or no cuff, pressed to a knife point or not? Letâ€™s freewheel this. Inquiring minds want to know.
Owen (nods): Okay, since you askedâ€¦. Iâ€™m opposed to that lightweight denim stuff thatâ€™s okay for women. Decorative patches are okay for women, too. In fact, I like them, if theyâ€™re in the right place, emphasizes the sway of their hips. If you have a good pair of Leviâ€™sÂ® or heavy duty denim, you can wear it until the knees give out. Then you can cut them off for swimming.
Neil: As a single guy on the prowl, I ironed my jeans for a night out. The rest of the time, I just shook them out good, smoothed them, and folded. A man should always have a good stack of folded, clean jeans. Women seemed to go for the sun-scent, not the fabric dryer stuff. Iâ€™m not much into menâ€™s scents, but I always hang my jeans on the lineâ€”well, sometimes they freeze stiff in Montanaâ€™s winter.
Owen: Agreed. Some guys donâ€™t know where to quit on scents. I ironed my jeans and shirts, too. Times were tough early on, and I learned a lot of iron-on patches and got pretty good with the whole patching thingâ€¦have a pretty nifty, well-stocked sewing basket, too. I had to do a lot of my sisterâ€™s stuff.
Marcus (Lake Michigan owner of Greystone Investments): Me, too. Sometimes I miss ironing. Itâ€™s good therapy. Iâ€™ve got a super iron nowâ€¦it practically fliesâ€¦not much on steamers. I like doing laundry, too. Tempest has the cutestâ€”never mind.
Neil and Owen grin at Marcus, who says: Okay, shut up. I slipped for a minute. You asked about waistband pleatsâ€”
Neil (laughing): Sure, change the subject.
Marcus: Lay offâ€¦.Waistband pleats are okay. I wear them sometimes, but they arenâ€™t for everyone.
Owen: Moving from the farm into business investment types, I had to study what works for me. I needed a business look. You have to be in shape, lean maybe, to wear pleats. An overweight guy wearing pleats, below a bulging gut, takes a lot away from his presentation. Sometimes the crotch almost reaches his knees. Not a good look.
Marcus: Thatâ€™s why I invested in an employee gym. I run a company where quality is sometimes presented by the sale employeeâ€™s look. If worn wrong, on the wrong body-type,pleats do nothing. Wrinkles in the crotch areaâ€”
Neil: Wrong all the way around. Some men think it emphasizes their packageâ€”excuse me, Cait.
Cait (rapidly taking notes): Iâ€™m fine. FWIW: women notice a lot about a manâ€™s â€˜packageâ€™ and his belt, wondering how it unhooks.
Marcus (smiles dreamily): Yeah, they do.
Cait: Onwardâ€¦.Belt or not?
Marcus: A belt makes a statement. No sans-belt slacks for me.
Owen: No righteous western man would go sans-belt.
Neil: Uh-huh. Belts and belt buckles do make a statement.
Cait: Personally, Iâ€™m fascinated with suspenders attached to beltless jeans. Verry sexy. Weâ€™ve got a lot of material here. Anything to add about jeans snaps, zippers or buttons?
Marcus (grins): With zippers, you have to pay attention.
Neil (shrugs): Iâ€™m a snap-man, myself. I like to leave my jeans waistband open after a shower. Less constriction, dries my skin faster.
Owen: When I had my first dress slacks fitted, I almost clobbered the right-or-left person doing the crotch fitting. You donâ€™t have to worry about that with jeans. What was that about suspenders and jeans?
Cait: Just a personal preference. Those thick red ones areâ€”mmâ€¦. So overall, belted jeans, pressed knife-sharp for a night out, in dark heavy denim, dried by sunlight, rank the highest?
All men nod and Cait says, Okay, thank you. Next time, weâ€™ll deal with hair styles. Or maybe undershorts?
The men stand, their expressions closed, and fold their arms over their chests. Taking the hint, Cait says, â€œOh. Okay. I really should go. Thank you.â€
Cait Londonâ€™s psychic triplet trilogy concludes with FOR HER EYES ONLY. Previous books: AT THE EDGE and A STRANGERâ€™S TOUCH. The author of almost 70 romance novels in different subgenre, she enjoys writing, painting, and photography. For more, visit CaitLondon.com or her blog at http://caitlondon.blogspot.com/
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