Saturday, September 4, 2010

Weighing in at Marshall's

Thanks to my good friend denial I'm relatively sane most of the time. Stupidly happy really works for me. But in my quest for all things positive, I've also been guilty of failing to deal with some significant, somber truths in my world. Major case in point: pretending my marriage of 15 years was great, when in actually, it was crumbling from the start. But I digress in the first paragraph.

Ever since I can remember I've been under the assumption I can take pretty much anything I like off the rack in a department store and it will look good on me. I'm far from athletic, but I have been blessed with a little height and good metabolism, and I exercise damn near daily. No big deal if I gain a pound or ten.  And I prefer shopping in the juniors department — everyone knows clothes are cuter and trendier there.

That's how it's always been. That is, until last week. After a three-month bender of more than a single glass of wine after work; ample supplies of chips, mashed potatoes, cookies, truffles after dinner, chocolate in desk drawer, dinners out — not to mention my new love affair with exotic cheeses — I felt  (in search of a better descriptive term) FAT.

I was school clothes shopping with my extremely cute and skinny 14-year-old daughter, who can pretty much wear a pencil cozy and look adorable in it. We decided to split up at the store — each of us finding clothes for ourselves. But I may as well have wandered over to the camping aisle to find a family-sized tent —every garment in the store was clearly designed to outfit the cast of "America's Top Model." Visions of futile attempts to squeeze into skinny jeans and spaghetti arms bulging from tight t-shirts were just too much for me to take this day. Where was reliable denial when I needed her? The time had come to face facts: I'm 46, and should now dress appropriately for my age — and girth.

I switched gears. Gave up on finding clothes for myself and started on a mad quest for things that would look stunning on my daughter. Size 3 jeans, fitted tank tops, short shorts — no worries. It was liberating, really. That's when I made the crossover. Saturday, August 21 ... at Marshall's.

Later that day we went to a mall. (The girl didn't see a thing she liked at Marshall's.)  We ended up at one of those sparsely-lit stores with loud, thumping rap music and black walls. They spotlight the clothes who are screaming, "see me,  buy me." Awesome marketing strategy that works like a charm as evidenced by the long lines at the dressing rooms and cash register. My every instinct told me to get out of there (I really hate loud, thumping rap music!), until one of my great joys in life — people-watching — kicked in. Moms and daughters. Or should I say, fat moms and skinny daughters. Fat moms frantically toiling in their desperate attempts to find just the right outfits for their pencil-thin offspring. Servicing their girls in the dressing rooms. Waiting in line. Paying. Oh God, I'd become one of them — about an hour earlier at a store called Marshall's.

"What size am I?" she says holding a pair of jeans at the black store. "I think you're now a size 5," I say. I wait for her to try them on like the fat, patient mom I am. (In this store I'd be a size 305!) She comes out and says, "They didn't fit." "Really? The size 5?" I say. "No, I tried on a 3." ... The cycle of denial continues ...

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