John Gotti Junior, in a tracksuit. This is not what I envision for my child.
John Gotti Junior, in a tracksuit. This is not what I envision for my child.

My five-year-old son is all about track pants and sweatpants these days. He claims it’s because he likes to play ball at recess, and because they’re more comfortable. He says jeans are “fancy clothes,” which speaks volumes about Seattle style. Our neighbor wears shorts and Tevas every day, unless it’s snowing. Fleece is OK at the ballet. Jeans are “fancy clothes.”

To me, sweatpants are for lounging. They are for wearing to and from the gym. They are indeed comfortable. But they are, as someone once said, a sign that you’ve given up.

They also remind me of my former San Francisco landlord. Steve and I lived underneath his beautiful home in Golden Gate Heights, in an illegal rental. Igor wore track suits every day. He said he was “an accountant,” but he drove a $70,000 Mercedes. His wife’s Neiman Marcus bill was the size of a textbook. Guys in fancy cars would often visit, and they also wore track suits. Are you catching my drift?

Whenever a mobster is gunned down, he’s wearing one of two things: A Brioni suit, or Fila track pants. I don’t want Bini to be a gangster. I don’t want him to be gunned down. I would rather that he didn’t go into “accounting.” I would like for him to wear jeans occasionally and not throw a monster tantrum.

I’m fighting a losing battle. When I walk the kids to school, they’re all wearing sweatpants or track pants. If our kids are starting from sweatpants, where do they go from here? What’s down the rung? Pajama pants? Shapeless tunics and tube socks? Cats and dogs, living together?

I’m hoping this is a phase.

Written by Kristin Kalning

Mother, writer, reader, traveler, lover of hard-luck stories.

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