I hate shopping for clothes. Even more specifically, I hate trying on clothes. I hate every moment of the experience.
First of all, I’ve seen too many “very special episodes” of TV shows about shoplifting to not know that there’s some person sitting at some control booth watching me change. We all know you’re out there, you mouth breathers with your bar-b-cue potato chip fingers, just waiting to catch me shoving tank tops and bras into my purse. When I arrive at the changing room and I do a weird dance in front of the mirror with both my middle fingers in the air – that is directed at you, sir or madam.
I also hate the number cards they pass out when you go and try clothes on. Never are my insecurities over my ability to count so tested as when I have to come up with the correct number of garments I want to wriggle in and out of as quickly as I can in that florescent nightmare of a room. What if I give the wrong number? Will I waste away in prison, cursing myself for my inability to correctly tally up pants? Will those miscounted pants – the two I never had in the first place, become an enduring mystery, like D.B. Cooper’s money? “Nobody knows where C.E. Williford may have hidden those two pairs of khakis. We may never know,” Dateline will tell it’s viewers. “But I didn’t! I didn’t hide two pairs of khakis, I just count worse than a toddler,” I will yell, but it will fall on deaf ears.
Last week I had to face the harsh reality that I have grown too fat for all but two pairs of pants – one pair of capris, and one pair of black jeans. I live in the South, which means in the summer it feels like a sadistic grandma is smothering you with a soaking wet hot quilt. If my black jeans had them, they would have rolled their eyes hearing me explain that although it’s 102 degrees outside, I’m sure if I stay in the shade it’ll be fine. But, even I am not that delusional. I only had one pair of useable pants. This was a sad realization, and doubly so because it meant having to buy new pants.
I made my way to the local Super Target, grabbed 3 different pairs of pants of varying sizes (I did count correctly – things were looking up), and headed to the dressing room. Even if there’s a lock on the door, I have a constant fear of being walked-in on, like someone will pick the lock because they’re certain nobody’s in there. This has never actually happened to me, but that doesn’t mean I can’t worry about it; it’s is a free country.
I quickly tried on all three pairs of pants. I bet I looked like a contestant on Double Dare trying to get through the obstacle course in time. One after the other – none of them fit. They were too small. After removing and individually cursing each pair, I gathered my things and left the dressing room. As instructed by the attendant (is that the right word for that job?), I left the unwanted and now cursed pants on a giant pile for someone else to put back (that always bothers me, I feel like I’m shirking my responsibility to put things back where they belong).
This is when a rational person would then get some larger sizes to go back and try on. No. I don’t go back in to dressing rooms after I’ve gone once. I take the information I gathered from the first trip – “those pants were too small for me” – and jump to conclusions – “the next size up is obviously the correct choice.” I went to the pants what were the least tightest and bought the next size up, being so thankful that I’m smart enough to outwit a second trip to try pants on.
The next morning I woke up and grabbed my new pair of pants and I swear I heard my formerly sole pair of pants, a crumpled, broken heap in the corner of the room, crying tears of joy.
The new pants are too big. Did I return them and resign myself to another voyage to the fitting room? I think we all know the answer to that. No, they’re not so big that I can’t wear them. I just need a belt. If the belt were a tied rope, yes, I would look like a hobo. But, I would rather look like an overweight hobo who still somehow manages to have pants that are too big than take my clothes off at a place other than my own home for the second time in a week.
Life is about growing, learning lessons that help you improve yourself. With age comes wisdom and all that jazz. What lesson did I learn from The Ballad of Buying a Second Pair of Pants? Fuck lessons.
This post was in response to Studio30 Plus‘ writing prompts this week.