Pine Nuts: A Short History Of Levis |

Pine Nuts: A Short History Of Levis

McAvoy Layne

Trousers came into being when it was discovered, before Christ, that hand-to-hand combat was most unpleasant while wearing a robe, not to mention the discomfort endured while riding a horse while wearing a robe. It is said that some men doubled their vernacular of profanity when riding a horse while wearing a robe. Some cussed up a storm that could be heard in Tel Aviv, and quit riding altogether.

Then somebody, probably a woman, said, “You know, if you were to wrap your legs in cloth, pad the buttocks, and leave a, let’s call it a ‘fly’ in the crotch, you could probably ride a horse without much discomfort.” Well, the arrival of trousers boosted the enlistment rate by 200% worldwide.

Fast forwarding to 1849, the rush for gold was underway, and immigrants from all over the world were arriving to California wearing all sorts of different varieties and fashions of trousers, none of which were suited for mining, and some were just plain ridiculous, bringing derision, ridicule and outright guffaws to the mining fields.

Well, one enterprising young immigrant from Bavaria had an idea to make durable trousers for hard working miners out of tents. That’s right, tents! Who would have thought. I never would have thought of placing a piece of canvas between my legs to go out mining, but Levi Strauss hired a tailor to make trousers out of tent canvas. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Who would have thought. I never would have thought of placing a piece of canvas between my legs to go out mining, but Levi Strauss hired a tailor to make trousers out of tent canvas.

Before visiting Russia some years ago I stopped by the Hyatt Casino and stocked up on decks of cards. Then, on request from a Russian friend in St. Petersburg, I stocked up on various sizes of Levis to give to my gracious Russian hosts. I hardly had any room left for all the Mark Twain books I would bequeath to my new Russian friends. Well, they loved the playing cards, they adored the Twain books, but they got down on the ground and wept tears of joy upon receiving the Levis. The vodka they gave me in return actually allowed me to say the Lord’s Prayer in Russian without an American accent, or so they told me.

However, here’s where the history of Levis takes a dark turn. American plumbers took to wearing Levis, and whenever they bent over to repair a broken pipe, well, the term, “plumber’s crack” came into vogue. And if that were not bad enough on its own merits, young men and teenagers started wearing their Levis pulled down so low that they displayed a permanent plumber’s crack right there in public places. To witness such temerity, well, it would make even a plumber blush. And I have to believe that until that peculiar fashion statement falls out of favor, Olde Levi Strauss will be spinning in his grave.

And this is where our short history of Levis comes to a close…

Learn more about McAvoy Layne at

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