Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Buyer's remorse

I shop. I buy lots of stuff I think I need. Who knows, maybe I do need it. I buy because I am a mutant, just a skosh under 5 feet with a small waist and a giant bust and a heart that hemorrhages emotion. I cull the rack at Marshall’s but it is mostly at the Salvation Army that I get my goods. I spend because my size is impossible to find. I fit sizes small to large depending on the garment. I wear a size 5 shoe, which is all but nil except at Pay-Less where the shoes are made of plastic, which tends to bind and rub, leaving welts, corns and blisters, and at Saks 5th Avenue, where the sale shoes are $300.00 a pair, down from $600.00. Let me just say here, to all shoe manufacturers that they should employ a physicist or possibly a mechanical engineer because a size nine can probably tolerate a five inch heel, but that when put on to a size five, you require a eunuch, who are not readily available anymore, to keep from pitching over on one’s face in jacked up shoes. I meet other women with size 5 shoes who are culling the racks as I do. We become instant best friends, and I induct them into the “Feets too small” club that I made up. It is really hard to keep one’s standards and also find something appealing. I do not wish anything I am wearing to say: Hello, Kitty.
I am somewhere in my heart convinced that one day soon, I will not be able to clothe myself, and consequently spend a lot of my free time on the hunt for the appropriate, or near to that goal.
I feel like any day I will be extinct, like the dodo.
I am about 20 pounds overweight, a problem that, if I could just bring myself to correct, might put me back in the running for off the rack shopping. Petite clothing is made for taller people than I and so: all torsos are at least 3” too long for me. It turns out that I am torso deficient, which happens, I suppose. When I put on a jacket, I pull the whole thing up from the shoulders, and everything falls back into place, cloth spilling smoothly like oil on water over the curves of my body as the sales associate says “Oh, that’s a problem, isn’t it?” Yes, it is a problem that cannot be fixed. I have a curve to my back that I once heard a comedienne say “You could set a drink on her behind” and although that is an exaggeration, it is nearly true. If perhaps I have found a dress that fits in the front, it is sure to come up with a distinct fold at the small of my back. I bought a lovely dress for a wedding once, that stuck out in an odd way at the rear. After two trips to the tailor, it was still sticking out, and I wore it anyway, feeling self-conscious the entire time, but in fact, I have the extreme knowledge that no one ever recalls what you wore to a formal event unless you turn up dressed like Cher, which did occur at a wedding I attended. I don’t know whom was discussed more, the girl in the iridescent black fish scale dress at noon, or me with my home made cotton dress with the climber’s rope spaghetti straps and my unshaved under arms and no bra. (My bohemian period) I have to say that even with such questionable garb; I was hit on by the husband of the best friend, and also by the groom himself. I wonder if they are still married.
Don’t get me wrong, I know I am lucky to have the freedom to be walking around shopping instead of a million other terrible things that could be happening in this world. I just think it’s strange to see people in 3rd world countries dressed in colorful silk and golden bangles going starving. Okay, they have only one outfit, but it is stunning. I have also seen homeless souls who dress in coordinated outfits that make me look like a rag picker. I find that peculiarly confusing.
When I am trying clothing on, and casting it off for one offense or another, I wonder: how is it that I managed to acquire the clothes I came in with?
I used to make all of my clothes. I knew what I liked, I was thinner, and I could sew thanks to my home-economics teacher. I made dresses, pants, and tops. My parents were probably grateful for the cash I saved them. Over the years, I have become loathe to do much more than shorten everything from pants to socks. Also in those days, I could buy even size 4 ½ shoes from Italy. I had gorgeous shoes that I would wear out in the rain and have to get rid of. How ironic that, years later, I would go to Italy and find next to nothing to fit my tiny self.
Is this an annoying complaining rant? Well, possibly it is, and probably it seems terribly shallow to spend so much time in the discussion of my sartorial woes, but it is of real concern to me, and those like me.
I would go shopping today but frankly, I am worn out.