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Okay, so let’s start right off with A truth. Most men don’t get this. They wouldn’t dream of buying clothes that are too small. They are unconcerned with size. They are mostly unconcerned with how they look in clothes. They would go naked if it were lawful.

So if you are a dude, well, go read the sports page and hand this over to the lady of the house. She will understand.

The Scenario: You have been invited to a ________. You have nothing to wear. Sweats are not allowed. Tennis shoes and flip-flops are also a no go.

Solution: YOU HAVE TO GO FREAKIN’ SHOPPING!!!

Issue: You are not a size 6, nay, you are perhaps not in the realm of actual sizes. You are in the X range–like that hides a damn thing. Anyway, you are anywhere you don’t want to be from 14-300XXXXX and therefore YOU DON’T WANNA SHOP.

But you have no choice.

You steel yourself. You don’t eat the morning of. Couldn’t hurt. You wear leisurely clothes that come off and go on easily. Why? Because the really bad part of shopping is having to go and try clothes on. The room of defeat, it’s called. The room where you silently scream, pound you hips, grit your teeth and pull on zippers until you pop them open. Buttons fly. Seams split. It is the gateway to Dante’s Inferno. You are sure you spied Virgil in the hallway leading to your private hell.

But go you must. You are brave, in fact, you are exhibiting more courage in taking on this trip than any man could know. You would gladly go through childbirth three times successively instead.

You arrive at the Mall. You purposely avoid the “fat girl” store, leaving that as your ace in the hole, if nothing else works. You start your mantra. “I will find something suitable and chic. I will find something suitable and chic. . . .”

You arrive at the women’s section of your favorite local department store. You edge toward the racks, trying to appear nonplussed as you secretly start to look for clues as to sizing. Your heart sinks as you realize that the largest size you can find is a 14.

Obviously, there must be another section. “Cheeky bastards,” you mumble as you search for the “larger” women’s section. No way to hide it now, as you tug your sweats up, and pull your t-shirt down over your rump. You wait, half expecting the lights and bells to go off as you enter the “Women’s plus sizes,” announced with a garish sign that you are sure flashes overhead as you cross the threshold.

This section is of course parallel to the young men’s cool department. Young men, with actual muscles and hair untinged with grey are jocking around, pointing at cute girls walking by. You hope they ignore you, which they do, because you are two things they aren’t: old and larger than life.

You quickly assess what exactly “plus” size means here. Some pluses are up to size 18. Others go into the X’s. Some only two X’s. Other’s three. Are there more? A few more pizzas and we may find out.

You locate the size you think you are. Sadly there are not many choices. You are not bowled over with delight, in a word. Your temperature rises, and your face is flush. Your tummy tightens, gurgling. “Oh, dear. Is there anything?”

You find two things that are possible. You sling them over your arm and hunt for the path to destruction. A firm glare is cast at the “dressing room” chick. She knows better than to follow in ten with a “do you need any help.” Girl I been dressing myself for twice as long as you have been alive. Leave me alone. She can read your mind.

Entering the room, or closet I should say, you struggle out of your sweats and slip the item from the hanger. You unzip, unbutton, and a thin sheet of sweat starts across your upper lip. It looks awfully small.

You step in. . .and pull. . .up. . .and. . .and. . .STOP! Hips? I have the hips of a woman who could birth two kids simultaneously side-by-side. I tug. I stretch. My hair falls into my eyes, and I grunt. Finally it shimmies up. I am afraid to look up into the funny mirror (they and the circus House of Mirrors have the same supplier it seems), and tears well. Hideous!

You, me, we, pull, push, and threaten to shred the dress desperate to get the awful thing off. It is thrown upon the hanger. We try to next one. It’s if anything, worse.

We slip on our sweats and walk, head held high, and surreptitiously replace the items, and slink from the store.

Of course, in the end, we go into the “fat girl” joint. We find sizes for us galore. Of course they are all fashions for 16-year-olds who are desperately trying to pretend that they can wear thigh-high dresses and gladiator shoes like the thin girls and look good.

You are pretty close to just heading over to the Outlanders and asking for a tent. With a day and a half to go, you can probably sew up something from it. But then you remember Wal-Mart–home of the fat-friendly, where damn near everyone is like you, and nobody cares.

Four hours later, you drag yourself home, with your thoroughly uninteresting but serviceable dress. You flop on the sofa, and pick up the phone. “Hello? Yes, I’d like to order a large pizza with pepperoni, extra cheese, mushrooms, onions, and olives.”

“Twenty minutes?”

“Good, oh, and throw in some of those cinnamon bites will ya?”

Shopping for clothes.

It’s a shitty thing I tell ya.

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