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Shop Till I Drop

April 12, 2004

I hate shopping.

There’s something inherently wrong with shopping for women’s clothing.  Most men have noticed this, but have either been too confused or too frightened to really dig too deep into it.  For men, shopping is easy.  30 inches is 30 inches, no matter where one shops.  A guy can pick up a pair of pants, check the label, and be reasonably sure that they will fit.  Sure, they may be a little saggy in the rear (if you happen to be one of those guys), but otherwise, they’ll do.  For women, it’s an entirely different world.

Ask a woman what size she is someday.  Depending on how you ask it, you’ll either get slapped or you’ll get a barrage of numbers, usually formatted in a range with qualifiers.  Personally, I’m a 6-10, medium, 7-8, depending.  That’s pants size 6 to 10, shirt size medium, shoe size 7 to 8, all depending on the make and model of the clothing in question.  This week-end, it was jeans.

The used clothing store that I hit up for jeans this week-end is new in town.  It buys trendy clothes from trendy college girls whose trendy parents have bought them the latest fashions and then dashed off to parts of the world that aren’t a small town in the middle of Texas.  Sometimes the girls simply get tired of their new hip clothing.  Sometimes the Freshman 15 catches up with them.  Sometimes the allowance runs out, and selling off a few pairs of jeans is a quick way to make ends meet before the next deposit in their checking account rolls around.  Regardless, it’s a pretty good idea, and probably the only way I would ever spend money on some of these brands.

However, there’s a bit of a draw back.

Most of the clothes on the rack are meant for skinny little college misses.  And skinny little college misses apparently have no hips.  Or no butt.  Or no waist.  Or a terribly bad habit of showing a little more…  ahem… cleavage, shall we say, than I’m comfortable with.  The jeans I was wearing read 8 quite clearly on the label.  I’m very proud of my size 8 jeans.  They make me happy.  I know I look smashing in them, which makes me feel good, even on those days when anything else in my wardrobe would make me feel awful.  The jeans on the rack, which should have also been a happy size 8 were LIARS.  They were evil purveyors of the sad untruth that a woman who has hips must wear BIGGER PANTS.  Because no woman under a certain size has hips.  It is improbable.  She also does not have a rear, or a waist.  And even women who are BIGGER very rarely have these atributes.  It’s just not that way.

So, to my great regret, most of the jeans which I pulled off of the rack were quite obviously too small, even at first glace.  I tried to comfort myself with the knowledge that most of these jeans were a size 7 (an imaginary number, I’m sure, invented to make skinny college misses feel better about not wearing a 6).  Surely there will be some size 9 jeans in the next section which will fit just fine.  I gathered up a pile of size 8 jeans and made my first forray into the dreaded Dressing Room.

For men who very rarely enter in to the dreaded Dressing Room, we must take a little time out to set the stage, so to speak.  The Dressing Room is a very small box.  If you are lucky, it will have multiple hooks on which to hang clothes, a little bench, and some nice lighting.  All Dressing Rooms have trick mirrors.  There are no Dressing Rooms which have normal mirrors.  This is why your girlfriend sometimes comes home and can’t stand the way she looks in her brand new outfit.  This is also why women go shopping in groups.  The Dressing Room mirror can not be trusted, and so a panel of judges must be brought along to correct the problem.  If you are unlucky, you will get a teeny little box with glaring lighting, one hook, and no little bench.  The bench is very important.  It is not for sitting.  It is for putting one’s clothes and purse on so that in the event of *extremely* unlucky, the little brat in the stall next door who keeps sneaking peeks at you while you’re undressing can not snag your purse while his Mommy has a dress over her head.  The feeling of being watched will grow into suspicion because the mirror is on the back wall and not on one of the sides.  The “Shoplifters Will Be Prosecuted” sign will quite clearly point out that you are On Camera, and you will wonder about the person who has been hired to sit and watch women undress all day.
This particular dressing room wasn’t well lit.  And there was a little brat in the box next door.  Two of them.  However, since the one seemed to be watching the other, it was okay.  There were lots of hooks.  The mirror was on the side wall.  But there was no bench.  Shoes, purse, and clothing all had to go on the floor.  It should be noted that when going to try on clothes, appropriate clothing it necessary.  Shoes which are easy to get on and off, hair clip which is easy to fix, the like.  Every pair of jeans I tried on either didn’t fit or looked awful.  The awful that is pretty obvious that it’s not the mirror which is the problem.  Some of the jeans were bigger liars than others, but for the most part they all lied about being a size 8.  It was back to the racks.

There were fewer obviously too small jeans in the 9-10 section.  There were, however, still quite a few pairs which should be tried for perjury for claiming to be a 10 when they were quite clearly much smaller.  I plunged back into the dressing room with a larger pile of pants, but not by much.  More of them fit.  Some of them proved to be liars.  I settled on three pair of jeans, two pair of pants, made a quick run at the shirts and got the hell out.

The next day, I put on a pair of my brand new used pants.

They were too big.

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