The Vomit Jeans, or: What I Did to Avoid Paying $70

nicole's vomit jeans

We should start by clarifying that I don’t even like these jeans. If I was sitting down to do KonMari and I held up these jeans, I would not think of them as something that brought me joy. I would think “well, you have to wear jeans to make it in society these days, and these were the best of the available options.”

I was lucky enough to get them right before we went from skinny jeans to “no, seriously, let’s make it look like we painted denim onto your legs” skinny jeans, so they’re straight leg and fairly slim fitting but they do not taper at the ankle and that is the one thing that brings me joy about these jeans.

They cost around $70, because Ann Taylor Loft petite jeans always cost around $70.

And then I puked all over them.

What happened was I went to a Game of Thrones premiere party at a local theater, because I thought it would be a legal way to watch Game of Thrones without HBO Now, which I still don’t have, and then when I got there I realized that I had paid a theater to watch Game of Thrones on somebody’s HBO Go account. (Didn’t all those FBI Warnings warn us against that kind of thing?)

FBI warning screen

There were a lot of things about that Game of Thrones screening that I didn’t realize in advance, and one of them was that the “bottled cocktail” I was served as part of my ticket included 375 ml of liquor. I confirmed this on the bar’s website later, but on the night of the premiere I accepted my bottle of cocktail, unknowingly downed the equivalent of eight shots in an hour, and ended up vomiting all over my clothes.

(This is where I should add that I did not go into the Game of Thrones screening planning to get drunk, and I assumed that the free drink they handed me as part of my ticket purchase contained the right amount of alcohol for a single person to consume during an hour-long TV show. It was an extremely frightening experience to learn that wasn’t the truth.)

When I made it back to my apartment—safe, very confused, and covered in my own vomit—I lay on the floor for a while trying to figure out what had happened to me. Because I don’t usually abuse alcohol, I thought it might be food poisoning. (I’d figure out the “eight shots in one bottle” thing later.) Then I puked a few more times and decided I had better engage in some of the life-changing magic of tidying up. When you are a single lady in a studio apartment, the only person who will clean up your vomit after you get inadvertently intoxicated is you.

Some of what I was wearing, including my purse, went straight into a garbage bag. The rest went into my bathtub, which I filled with water and laundry detergent and agitated with my own hands until the… um… chunks floated away. I used Clorox wipes to scrub every bit of vomit off of my shoes, because those were my summer shoes and I did not want to buy a new pair of summer shoes.

I also did not want to buy a new pair of jeans. It was tax week and I was about to send two checks totalling over $7,000 to the IRS, and I did not want to spend even one percent of that amount on new jeans.

So I ran them through the washing machine on hot water. Then I ran them through the washing machine on cold water. Both times they came out visually clean but reeking of vomit.

Then I thought about airing them out, but I opened my window and this enormous bug flew in, and when you’re in a studio apartment an enormous bug takes up, like, a quarter of your living space.

Then I thought about wearing them out, as in “maybe if I put these on and walk around for a bit the smell will just… disappear?” I wore them for about five minutes before I thought I might puke again.

Then I thought about throwing them away. I had thought about throwing them away at every stage of the process, but every time I stopped myself, first because they still looked perfectly good, despite the smell, and second because I did not want to pay $70 for new jeans.

More than that, I did not want to go jean shopping again. Jean shopping is the worst.

So I put them by the door, where the garbage goes. And they sat there, neatly folded, saying “we may not bring you joy but we fit, and you know what a miracle that is, and you do not want to waste an afternoon and seventy whole dollars trying to find a new pair of us.”

(Yes. I folded my garbage jeans. What did you think I was going to do, just toss them to the floor in a wad?)

Yesterday I decided I’d try once more, which is my way of saying I’ll probably try at least seven times more, and I searched “get vomit smell out of clothing.” The only home remedy which didn’t require me to go to the QFC for supplies was the baking soda method, so I filled up my bathtub again, added the jeans, and added most of a box of baking soda. (I kept expecting it to bubble up, so I kept pouring more in.)

I took the jeans out a few hours later and they no longer smell like vomit. They smell slightly like baking soda, and mostly like nothing.

And that brought me joy.

More than that, it saved me $70.

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