I shopped for pants yesterday. I am not a patient shopper, and have been putting this off for months. I entered the discount store where all end of line clothes go to die. I lived to tell of it.
As much fun as it is to rifle through racks and racks of sale items, to consider our options, at some point the music stops, and we have to go to that place. The dressing stables. Always there and always populated with demons who wait to skewer self esteem, separate us from our good mood, the green fluorescents beckon us toward ill-made stalls with faulty locks where a gum-chewing Cerebus who is sure you have criminal tendencies guards the merchandise, watches your every move while you panic about your purse. Whatís not to love about the dressing stable?
I couldnít do anything about Cerebus but wash her down with as much love as I could spare. However, I did manage to thwart the demons. It was an accident, but it worked. I was wearing a skirt with a kicky pair of patterned hose when I went to the store. Instead of removing my hose — I was in a hurry –I kept them on.
The patterned hose made it impossible to focus on any sag or dimple or whine about broken capillaries or pallor, or reprimand myself about my lack of toenail grooming, or do all of those things that tend to end in tears rather than focusing on the way a garment fits or doesnít.
I developed a new mantra for the occasion, too. Itís perhaps not quite as harmonically pure or as power-generating as some self-esteem coaches would prefer, but it worked for me. At the point I felt the iceball develop in my bowels, which happens each time I face the stalls, I uttered these magical words unto my self: ďDonít be ridiculous,Ē I said. I said it out loud, and then repeated it in time with my steps as I approached the gates of hell.
That seemed to have the right effect.
I marvel that itís even possible to make and sell clothes for mass consumption. I entered the stables with five or six other women, each of them as differently built from me as I am from them. We each carried the maximum allowable number of garments from racks broadcasting a size we consider our own, and each of us able to wear only a fraction of the things we chose. To big, too small, too baggy, too tight, too short, too short, too short. Too clingy, to weird, too impractical, not well made, torn, pulled, pilled, just dumb, just not working.
I looked about the store to see what women were doing and wearing already, what clothes they were choosing. Most of them looked more confident than I felt. They seemed to know their bodies and know what styles work for them and know what colors and fabrics they like. They seemed able to get more done, faster. But Iím a newbie and learning this stuff all over again. I expect I will find the right line, the right store, the right styles before too long.
Meantime, protection. Good hose and a good mantra. I wish these things for you, too.