I glanced at the price tag again hoping that a more serious attitude might somehow morph the numbers into a value that spoke sweeter to my wallet. Somehow price tags seem to know when you’re fooling around and I seriously needed these pants to be sold to me at a lower price. And so, reigning in my psychic energy, I assumed a countenance reserved for elementary school principals giving out detention to the usual suspects. It was the look of disappointment mixed with frustration and annoyance because you knew this would happen. Oh pants, trouble again I see. How many times must I tell you that throwing high numbers around the room isn’t allowed? This was the way retail had always behaved, and I shouldn’t have been surprised, but yet again I was duped into thinking it might clean up its act and fall in line with my budget. But, I was wrong, of course.

It wasn’t so much about the price as it was about the implication of such a purchase; how dare they ask me to pay that much just to make an ass of myself. If I want to wear something crazy it shouldn’t drain my both my bank account and my dignity, as the cost of the social exile that will inevitable follow is something to be considered. If anything, something this expensive should have promoted me to a status tier way above cool—and with careful flaunting—lured an army of attractive people waiting to befriend me for my bold fashion sense. At least with a small price tag a purchase of this nature could get sold off as a joke in good fun, but this number was too serious. Even the more relaxed spectrum of my friends wouldn’t be fooled and I’d be hard pressed to dodge eyes of judgment that read, nice try buddy.

As a creative person, finding plenty of other ways to embarrass myself in public should have been easy, but I wanted nothing to do with them. This was how I wanted to die publicly, dressed in these pants, my life squashed out by humiliation itself. That’s the American Dream and I’ll be damned if I don’t deserve that.

At 5,600 yen, these pants were the equivalent price of about $60. The fine hemp weave was stained brown with a tinge of maroon and boasted a slightly coarse texture that made the testosterone levels in my blood surge. These were manly pants. Everything about them screamed: this is what real men wear, because zippers and buttons are for pansies. A thread of tightly bound linen inched through the waistline to form a drawstring at the front, and the width of the legs stretched extra wide, allowing its owner a full range of freedom to kick ass while enjoying a cool breeze. The true allure of this simple design was its blatant ignorance of the selfish demand for customization, reminiscing of better days when fitted jeans or hemmed slacks were unheard of and you just had to wear whatever the hell someone made—even if it was for a fat guy.

To make the price appear more palatable, I tried to imagine that ceding to the injustice of such a high price would prove to be an investment. It would be like buying karma or something, you know its coming back to you so all you have to do is wait. It wasn’t hard to picture that upon donning them I might become a witchdoctor who would then selflessly cure various diseases. Later on during the apex of my career, while perched upon of cushion of goose feathers, I would grace the air of morning talk shows claiming to have no hand in the mystery of my curative powers. The pants could give me these powers, I was sure of it. Their back pockets embroidered with patterns of swirling waves spoke of their kinship with the natural force that would aid me in my heroic quest to heal the world—though becoming famous and revered in the process wouldn’t be so bad either. If I could only part with the money, it would all be mine: liberation from conventional trends, curative power of a mystic origin, and the manliness of no zippers or apparent need for underwear.

But, I was stuck. My scrutiny had met a brick wall that caused a major glitch in my plan for glory: these were hippy pants—plain and simple. I hate hippies and therefore have qualms about even running the risk of being associated with them. Peace and love are great messages, but how could I be sure that my motives wouldn’t be mistaken for the desperate efforts of a young man experiencing a quarter life crisis? How could I convince them that I don’t care about the bald spot making its home on the back of my head, or that I’ve come to accept that my bids for rock stardom have become unanswered echoes into the deep? You shouldn’t have to be drop dead gorgeous or loaded with cash in order to wear those pants, but you can bet that if you are those things, you sure as hell wouldn’t get any questions about why you bought them in the first place.