oh, that's not a cliché
November 7, 2002 04:28 AM

It appears that what I needed was... shopping.

Eheu. Egads. Et cetera. What a cliché.

Yes. I went out last night on what I thought would be the first of at least two or three fruitless and frustrating searches for a dress to wear to a friend's formal-ish evening wedding.

I went to the mall. A place best reserved for buying beauty products (somehow, I never find the Origins counter or the Sephora frustrating and intimidating, just expensive). Because I needed a beauty product, after all. And you should always at least start browsing three weeks in advance of the day you need to wear the cocktail dress you're seeking. Everyone knows that.

I bought my beauty product [The only foundation pale, non-irritating and non-pink enough for my skin, if you must know.] and launched into a casual browse of the posh dressing options available.

I tried the Lane Bryant: too casual. I tried the "women's" section at the department store: much too matronly. Finally, I tried the plain old department store dress section, where two years ago and slightly thinner I could never find a thing my size. I was feeling fairly noncommital and not at all desperate, which is the only emotional state in which one should enter The Department Store. Harrowing experience otherwise.

I found five suitable dresses in the space of maybe fifteen minutes. Three of them fit quite well. One of those was a little sheer and slutty for a wedding. The others: both sleeveless with drapey cleavage necks, one red velvet and long, one black and short. I ended up buying both (hey, I said they were reasonably priced), because the red seemed more wedding but I knew I'd wear the black more often.

In any case, I found myself bright and cheery and ready for work this morning. Not just because I found a dress, but because of what the circumstances of my dress finding meant to someone my size.

I can't help being annoyed, though, that despite the apparent increase in sizes accepted as "regular" [A sixteen is now quite readily available at the department store.], falling anywhere outside those size ranges still means your taste must be either juvenile or boring, at least as far as the "regular" shopping environment is concerned. Unacceptable!

The irony, of course, is that the frumpy jeweled jackets and straight skirts I saw in the "women's" department were created by the same designers who made my slinky velvet dress. I suppose there's an implication there, and I don't like it.

Implication being Only old women and others who have given up on sexiness would fail to maintain a small size, so obviously all women who are larger want unsexy clothes. I'm sure there are plenty of people of various sizes who prefer to be unsexy for whatever reason, but only women who meet acceptable size requirements are permitted to choose that. All others are assumed to have chosen unsexy simply by their size or age.

I should be glad for incremental development, that I could even find a size sixteen at the store, and I am. I'm pretty sure I still won't be able to find pants or skirts in that department store (on account of the two or three sizes larger than those dresses I need order to get pants over my ass).

And I'm still pissed off on behalf of all the women who find themselves not allowed to shop.

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