One Size Fits…None. The Dressing Room From Hell.
I’m thrilled to be sharing this post with you! You know how much I love connecting you with other women over fifty bloggers, right? Well, let me introduce you to Marcia Kester Doyle. Marcia writes about all the pitfalls of aging on her blog “Menopausal Mother“, but helps us laugh about them. She was kind enough to let me share a chapter from her book “Who Stole My Spandex? Life in the Hot Flash Lane“. I’m pretty sure you’re going to love Marcia.
Be sure to comment below to let her know if you can relate to her experience going clothes shopping!
GUEST BLOGGER: Marcia Kester Doyle
Marcia, a humor blogger, muses on the good, the bad, and the ugly side of midlife mayhem. Give her a glass of wine and a jar of Nutella, and she’ll be your best friend. It’s rogue humor at it’s finest!
She is a BlogHer Voice of the Year 2014 recipient and VoiceBoks Top Hilarious Parent Blogger 2014. She was also voted as a Top 25 Blogger in the Circle of Moms Contest 2013. She is a native Floridian and married mother of four children, as well as being a grandparent to a feisty toddler
One Size Fits None. The Dressing Room From Hell
I hate shopping for clothes, which explains why I’ve never been accused of being a fashionista. It also explains why my daughters always call to ask what I’m wearing before bringing their friends over to the house.
After birthing four babies by C-section, I now find shopping for clothes less enticing than a root canal. I might enjoy it more if I was twenty-five pounds lighter, because shopping just isn’t as fun when I have to head straight for the Woman’s Plus department, where everything comes in black, white, or shower-curtain pattern.
My husband often accompanies me during my clothes hunting expeditions, usually because he is: a) bored with all five hundred cable channels, b) in need of replenishing his tube sock collection, or c) wanting to make sure I don’t spend all my cash on animal-print house dresses and takeout from Burger Barn. He parks his butt on a sofa outside the changing rooms and plays with his phone while I’m pondering the age-old question of zippers versus control-top panels.
I try to be frugal while I shop, but the problem with the clearance section is that there are only two clothing sizes left on the rack by the time I get there—hummingbird and mastodon. It’s always a challenge to find an outfit that doesn’t leave me looking like the exploding dough from a tube of Pillsbury crescent rolls.
It’s the same adventure every time I go shopping. I shoot past the regular lingerie (like I’ll ever be able to squeeze myself into a hot fuchsia number the size of a rubber band) to the “Full Figure” aisle, where the bras hang like double-boulder slingshots. Then I whiz past the shoe section, jewelry department, and all those adorable maternity outfits. I think, “Oh, look at the cute, faux-denim stretch pants designed to hide a pregnancy bump!” before self-consciously rubbing my stomach. Nope, no baby in there—just the jelly roll the last kid left behind.
Once I’m able to find a dress that doesn’t resemble a large paint tarp, I grab a few more items (twelve, actually, because I have no idea what the size du jour is going to be—I need a sampler platter of three different sizes for each outfit). I then head for the dreaded dressing room with an armload of clothes that will most likely end up back on the rack. It’s always at this moment that I wish I lived in the 1500s, where everyone bought one-size-fits-all clothing from Dirty Smocks “R” Us, and dressed by dim candlelight to mask the effects of a stout-and-potato diet.
I’m wary of stepping into dressing rooms because I know there are some shoppers who use these cubicles for more than just trying on clothes. I know this because several of my children have worked in major department stores over the years, and they’ve shared a few nightmare tales that have scarred me for life. Department stores should consider posting helpful signs to keep paranoid people like me from worrying about stepping into DNA samples left by the previous occupants. The signs could flash messages like “FECAL-FREE ZONE!” or “MOTEL 6 IS DOWN THE STREET … THEY’LL LEAVE A LIGHT ON FOR YOU!”
Wishing to God for a shot of liquid courage before I enter the “chamber of truth,” I stall by the clearance rack for a few more minutes, until a skinny, perky salesclerk approaches me. She asks if I’m ready to try on my new clothes, and her chipper tone sets my teeth on edge. Can’t she see I’m breaking into a sweat over the fact that my actual dress size is about to be revealed?
I’m ushered into a mirrored cubicle the size of Thumbelina’s closet, and told to “have fun” while trying on the clothes. Have fun? The only way that would ever happen is if the dressing room included a well-stocked mini fridge. No, this is where the true horror begins. I shimmy out of my old, comfortable clothes and cringe as I view myself in panoramic funhouse mirrors that display my front, back, and sides. I’m immediately reminded of a peeled potato.
Concluding that the department store must have gotten a really good deal on mirrors from a traveling circus, I weed through my pile of clothing. One floral-print dress is reminiscent of something my grandmother wore in 1939. An orange blouse makes me look like an Oompa Loompa. An ill-fitting pair of jeans causes my flesh to ooze out over the waistband like Play-Doh. To make matters worse, I’m having to struggle into all of this torturous clothing under unflattering fluorescent lights that expose every fold, flap, bulge, and scar bestowed upon my body by childbirth and years of yo-yo dieting.
I decide on a few items of clothing that promise to lift, tuck, flatten, and flatter the body, and I notice that everything I’ve chosen is: a) made of NASA-approved spandex and b) one shade—black. So what if I end up with a bag of clothing resembling a mortician’s closet?
I approach the checkout counter, and it never fails—there’s always an angry woman ahead of me shouldering three returns and a missing receipt. To top it all off, she was clearly once the president of her high school debate team. My eye starts twitching as she engages in refund warfare with the young girl behind the cash register. Obviously neither one of these women knows that I’m already two hours late to walk a dog known for his daily bouts of IBS.
Once home, I face the daunting task of cleaning out old clothes to make room for the new. I’m a firm believer in recycling, and have found some creative ways to repurpose my granny panties with a needle and thread. With a garbage bag full of threadbare underpants and a few quick stitches, I can make an outdoor patio umbrella, a tent for camping trips, or an heirloom quilt for the grandkids.
I try the new clothes on again in the privacy of my own bedroom, but they don’t look as good as they did in the dressing room. This just confirms what I’ve believed all along—that department store mirrors are designed to make every woman appear as shapely as an hour glass. When I look in my own mirror at home, all I see is a potato dressed up in a shower curtain. A black shower curtain.
Chances are good that I’ll be returning all of my one-size-fits-none clothing to the mall—but only after a quick stop at the Burger Barn.
She has been featured on numerous sites such as Scary Mommy, BlogHer, The Erma Bombeck Writer’s Workshop, Midlife Boulevard, Boomeon, and BA50 among others.
She is a contributing author to the following books: The Mother of All Meltdowns, Clash of the Couples, Motherhood: May Cause Drowsiness, Sunshine After the Storm, To Bliss and Back, Parenting Gag Reel, and will be featured in the forthcoming anthologies: Surviving Mental Illness Through Humor, Mom for the Holidays, and How Can You Laugh at a Time Like This?
Who Stole My Spandex? Life In The Hot Flash Lane is available on Amazon in both Kindle and Paperback formats.