I went shopping recently for a pair of pants.
I had a baby on July 7th, so I’m not even sure why I thought I ought to go shopping for regular pants. It probably would have been more prudent to stick to maternity pants for a few more weeks at least. But I had it in my head that, dang it, I was going to wear pants that button and zip. So I went to the mall.
I went to a department store at first because for one reason or another, probably denial, I thought I had lost a lot of my baby weight. But after forty seconds in the dressing room at Dillard’s, it became abundantly clear that my beluga-sized hips needed a specialty store.
I went to Torrid, which is a store that caters to the not-slim young woman. I haven’t shopped there in years, because I didn’t need to, and because I wore neon the first time it was cool and I don’t see a need to repeat the trend. Neon aside, they do carry jeans in my size so I thought I’d give it a go.
The saleswoman that greeted me looked terribly out of place, because she was … oh, what’s the word … ah, yes. Skinny. I can’t imagine why a skinny woman would want to work in a fat girl’s store. I can only assume she feels some sense of moral superiority to all the pathetic fatties who can’t shop at Abercrombie like she can. Maybe it was my imagination, because of her size, but she seemed kind of condescending, which irked me. I was tempted to asked why she worked there. Torrid starts at a size 12, but if this woman was a size 12 I’ll eat my Spanx.
Skinny Suzy asked if I was looking for anything in particular, which struck me as an odd question because I was standing in front of a wall of jeans. I don’t like having salespeople shadow me while I shop, so I told her I was just looking. She said okay, and left me alone.
I found a few pairs of pants to try on and Skinny Suzy started a dressing room for me … and promptly disappeared. I tried on the pants, and I have to say it’s been a long time since I’ve been quite so offended by the sight of my own body. I dumped the pants on the appropriate rack and went in search of more. Lather, rinse, repeat – try on, make face, dump trousers. On my third trip to the dressing room, Skinny Suzy reappeared.
“How’s it going?” she asked, in the way that one might ask a small child his name.
I smiled tightly. “Not well at all!” I said. Suzy looked stunned.
“Oh. Sorry,” she said, but made no offers of assistance. She seemed surprised I hadn’t given a perfunctory “Great!” Well, if she didn’t want to be verbally abused by fat people, she chose the wrong line of work.
I finally found a single pair of jeans that fit and weren’t a foot too long. But, you know me. I can’t be happy with pants that fit. Because, apparently, at some point in the past few years, clothing manufacturers decided that it is no longer fashionable for a pair of jeans to be uniform in color. The butt looked worn out already and there were some strange light horizontal lines on the upper legs. My mother told me to ignore the irregular wash and buy the jeans, because they fit, and because they buttoned and zipped.
I bought them. Skinny Suzy seemed happy. Probably she was relieved that I wasn’t going to say anything else unexpected. I paid cash, which confused her a little. I don’t mean to malign her cash-handling skills. I don’t imagine she has to deal with paper money very often. When I worked at Horribly Managed Children’s Salon, I got cash so rarely I always had to stop for a moment to remember what to do with it.
Suzy spent a bit more time than one would think necessary to check the fifties I gave her for watermarks. She looked from me to the cash once or twice, as though she had some sort of x-ray vision that allowed her to spot counterfeiters. I’m used to that, because I have what I like to refer to as Dorian Gray syndrome, which is to say that I haven’t aged since 1997. Salespeople are naturally distrustful of teenagers. I can’t blame them. I don’t like teenagers either. I didn’t like teenagers when I was a teenager.
So, I have normal pants now, pants that zip and snap. They fit well, and although they are 4 inches too long (as are most pants labeled Size X Short), I do like them. I put them on out of the dryer this afternoon. And you know what?
I miss my maternity pants.