Toastmasters Speech CC #9: My Torn Jeans

I’ve been working on my public speaking skills at Toastmasters. I presented the following speech for Toastmasters Speech CC #9. Just one more speech to go to receive my Competent Communicator award! This speech was inspired when I heard about some very expensive pre-muddied jeans selling at Nordstrom.

My Torn Jeans

What story do your jeans tell? If your jeans were in the library, would they be in the fiction or non-fiction section? Do your jeans tell your story or the story a fashion designer put together for you? Do they give us the facts about you, or the alternate facts?

When you buy a pair of jeans, do you go for the pre-faded look? Or do you like that crisp new blue jeans look?

Next time you go jeans shopping, I want you to think about YOUR story and what your jeans say about you.

I don’t understand the draw of the designer jeans that are pre-torn, pre-stained, pre-patched and most recently, pre-muddied! Nordstrom’s started selling jeans with fake mud, that won’t wash out for $425! Pre-torn, pre-patched jeans can also cost several hundred dollars each.

Nordstrom's $425 Muddy Jeans; Front and Back view

Nordstrom’s $425 Muddy Jeans

Mike Rowe, the host of the TV Show “Dirty Jobs”, had this to say about the pre-muddy jeans: “The Barracuda Straight Leg Jeans aren’t pants. They’re not even fashion. They’re a costume for wealthy people who see work as ironic, not iconic.”

Who’s story are your jeans telling, what do they say about you? What message do your jeans send?

How did it become a fashion statement to look like you’ve been out working or playing in the mud? If you want to look like you’ve been playing in the mud, well then go have some fun and play in the mud! Want some tears in your pants? Get out there and get some excitement in your life and do something where you might actually tear your jeans for real! And have a great story to tell about it.

Growing up, I would wear through the knees and seat of my pants crawling around outside, sliding down hills on my butt. Rubbing grass stains into the knees to my mom’s dismay. She, mostly, always managed to get the grass stains out. I usually wore my pants out before I grew out of them. When I wore through a knee, my mom would sew a patch on and I’d keep on wearing those jeans. Every tear, stain and blemish was mine.

Those patches were merit badges I earned for all the fun I had wearing my jeans out.

A couple years ago I tore a pair of my jeans on a hike.

A friend and I were out for a long hike, over 9 hours through the hills in San Marcos in an area sometimes called “Spook’s Canyon”. It’s also known as Elfin Forest. Much of our hike was over a wide trail that was really a dirt access road.

Previous rains had done some damage to the road due to runoff. We were heading downhill on bad section where the rain had worn deep scars into the road along it’s length. Larger rocks had been exposed from under the surface and there were also numerous sections of loose gravel.

I was stepping down into one of the exposed sections when loose gravel shifted underfoot causing me to lose my balance. I fell forward hitting my knee on an exposed rock.

Thankfully the worst of the damage was to my jeans and not myself. I came away with a scraped knee with a minor cut. My jeans ended up with a tear, a corner pulled away from just below my knee a couple inches on each side.

My wife tried one of those iron on patches to repair them, but it didn’t last very long. I still wear those jeans out hiking or working in the yard and when I see that tear it reminds me of a great hike with a good friend.

I’ll admit, I have bought some jeans that were already faded. And I also have some that have faded from many washings.

Looking back, buying those pre-faded jeans was to avoid hearing comments like, “Hey, new jeans, eh?” or “You get some new pants?”. Getting them pre-faded it looks like I’ve already owned them for a while. I could avoid that embarrassment. Really though, what’s wrong with nice new jeans? Why is that a bad thing?

“You get some new pants?”

“Yes I did!”

The jeans I buy now all have that new look.

New jeans are a blank slate, a new chapter, waiting for me to write my story and experience on them. Eventually they’ll fade or start to wear out and they’ll go from being pants I wear to work to being work pants. Pants that I wear when I’m working in the yard or building something in the garage. Pants to go hiking in. Pants that I can use to wipe the glue on my hands, the paint from painting the house or the mud from the garden. And it’s OK if they get stained or ripped. Each stain, tear and wear mark is a part of my story.

It’s also easier to tell my work jeans, the faded ones, from the jeans I wear to work so I don’t go wearing my new jeans to paint the house!

Experience and wisdom are earned. There is no shortcut to an authentic experience. You can’t buy your way into the club.

Are you telling your auto-biography or a fiction a fashion designer put together for you?

Do you want to look active, or be active?

Do you want to look like a painter or be a painter?

Do you want to look dirty or have fun getting dirty?

Go out buy some new jeans and get dirty! Let your jeans tell YOUR story.

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