One of my friends hates clothes shopping. The way she gets round it is by buying three of every item – identical in shape and make, but in different sizes. That way, whatever her body’s doing, she’s got something that fits – and since it’s all the same colour, everything matches.
She has my sympathy. Aside from navy t-shirts, (of which I have hundreds), nothing makes me feel more miserable than trying on outfits. Jeans are the worst. But even jeans wear out. So once a year, I sally forth, determined to find a pair that aren’t too baggy in one place and too tight in another.
You’d think it would be easy. Yet the pursuit of denim seems to require secret knowledge that has passed me by. Twisted. Straight-leg. Boyfriend. Flared. Boot-leg, pastel, cropped, low-rise. The labels may as well be written in Hebrew. Plus, how do you get them back on the stupid hangers? It’s like the Crystal Maze. In the florescent glare of the three-way mirrors, I freeze, like a rabbit blinking in headlights. And the story always ends the same. Exit stage left, jean-less but with two more navy t-shirts.
It should be funny. But sitting in the changing rooms, tears feel more appropriate.
Maybe because it’s not just the jeans that don’t fit. It’s everything about me – or at least, that’s how it feels.
I’m not like the women I see in clothes stores or read about in magazines. I’ve inherited my dad’s chest and feet. My skin is crinkly and white, not golden and glowing. My hair frizzes in the rain (and on special occasions). When I cry, my nose runs and I make horrible hiccupping noises.
What’s more, I don’t feel like these women either.
I’m not savvy, street-smart, ambitious or go-getting.
I don’t know 60 tips to Drive My Man Wild.
I’m not a domestic goddess.
I’m not a mummy, yummy or otherwise.
I’m not a high-flier. I have no Career Plan or Life Goals.
When I look at these women, a little part of me curls up and hides. They’re beautiful, successful, confident and smart. They have Capsule Wardrobes and Perfect Skin. Their clothes fit and they don’t have issues.
But you know what? It’s as much a fantasy as the perfect pair of jeans.