I had to buy a new belt the other day. I hate buying new belts. To be honest, I imagine most people do. Belts remind you of how big you are. Or how small you are. There’s really no point in convincing yourself you can fit into a belt that’s half your size or twice your size. A belt is, optimally, exactly your size. Being your size is its fucking job.
I wore the crap out of my last belt, so much that it was in danger of splitting in two. The leather on the underside had parted from the leather on the outer side, and a crease had established itself along my preferred notch. I had to bite the bullet. It was time.
I know a lot of people will hate me for saying this, but my specific belt problem is of the “not being able to find one small enough” variety. Yeah, yeah, I know many people wouldn’t consider this to be a problem. But it is. Mostly because a lot of stores don’t even carry my size, but also, because when they do, the ones on the rack are token leftovers, an obscure collection of hemp weaves and butterfly buckles that don’t even remotely correspond to my wardrobe. If I bought the butterfly buckle, I’d need to buy an entirely new wardrobe to go along with the butterfly buckle. I’d need to wear hippie clothes. And along with hippie clothes would come a hippie lifestyle. Now don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I don’t like hippies. I’m fine with hippies. It’s just that I’ve already established this whole nerd t-shirt thing, which goes hand in hand with actually being a nerd, and all I want is a fucking belt.
So this last time, I did whatever anyone does when the regular stores with the regular stuff don’t have what you need. I went to Ross.
Ross actually had quite a few belts for me to choose from. Way more options than hemp and butterflies. Which makes sense, really. I mean, Ross is where all the shit that wouldn’t sell elsewhere ends up.
But there’s another problem with us tiny waistline dudes, and it’s something that I hope belt-makers take note of. Take note, belt makers! For it is this: When you make a belt that short, please also expend the time and energy to shrink its buckle. Because you don’t. You never shrink their buckles. I’ve never found a shorter belt with a smaller buckle, only shorter belts with same-sized buckles, which in turn, as I’m sure you can piece together by now, means that the proportion is not only off, but damn near ungainly. The result is far too big a buckle on my narrow waist, making me look like an old west cowboy whether I want to or not. Not to mention, it sags in front. The sheer weight of the buckle proves counterproductive to the belt’s most basic function: To keep the fucking pants up. Walking around with a saggy buckle is anything but flattering.
Despite all this, I managed to find a shortish belt with a smallish buckle. At Ross. Not ideal, but almost. Only one problem remained: The notches. One notch was just a little too loose, while the next was just a little too tight. And unlike the Goldilocks routine, there was no middle notch that was just right.
I’d have to make my own notch.
But that very act was what led to the premature demise of my old belt. I’d made an extra notch, the perfect notch for the perfect fit, and the extra puncture wound only hastened its death. I don’t want this new belt to die before its time. This whole affair’s difficult enough as it is. So right now, I’m making do.
I have my tight notch, which I usually use when upright and walking about, and I have my loose notch, which I often use when I’m sitting or placating an urgent bladder. It’s working out okay, so far. I mean, I guess that’s why belts have all these damn holes to begin with.
Anyway, when I started writing this piece, I thought it was going to be about how life only gives you a certain number holes for you to stick your buckle in, and how sometimes you need to make your own holes, and it was going to be all profound and stuff. But as it turns out, this piece isn’t really much of a metaphor.
It’s just about fucking belts.