We're deep into holiday party season - also known as "the holidays" - and part of the supposed fun of it all is getting together, all glitzed up, and show a side you don't normally get to during work/school/whatever. Sam's party for his office, for example, was supposed to be a "cocktail attire" affair, so it was supposed to be suits for men and long dresses for women. Sam didn't have a suit, so we had to go out and buy one. That's cool - he should have a good suit. I choked at the price tag, though. Boy howdy. I thought I was spending a lot of money when I bought my suit for ~$200. Then there's me. I have no cocktail dress (other than one in a size I'm not anymore from several years ago), so we went to try to find me one as well. The first store we went to is Von Maur. I've heard fantastic things about them having reasonable exchange/return policies - important when you're spending a lot of money on good clothes, and I've seen their selection of dresses. They're gorgeous. What I hadn't seen was the size tags on these dresses. When I checked for my size in the first dress I liked, I was disappointed to find that the largest size they had it in was 8. That wasn't true for all of them, of course. I found dresses all the way up to size 14. (For reference, Marilyn Monroe was a size 14-ish.) I'm not Mariyn Monroe. I'm not a size 14. I'm approximately a size 20 or 22, depending. Yes - I'm a big girl. Fat. I'm also about 6'1", which means that I can carry the weight fairly well. I'm about fifty pounds heavier right now than my looking-good weight, and when I'm there, I'm skinny and cute and I still wear a size 16, just because of how tall I am. Proportions matter. So - I'm completely unable to find not only a dress that would fit me, but one that would ever reasonably fit me. I ask where the larger sizes are, and they direct me to the third floor, where the "misses" dresses are. There are approximately six of them, and they are atrocities I would not wish on my worst enemy. I find Sam and tell him we're going to Lane Bryant. Ten minutes of searching the mall later, the nice girl at Lane Bryant informs me that they don't sell dresses. We check JCPenney. No luck. By this point, we're going to be late for the party real soon. Sam makes a case for me wearing my suit - a brown pinstripe pantsuit that's admittedly really nice. We go home, I wear that, enjoy the party. Now that you have the sanitized version of events, let me tell you how the entire episode felt. It felt approximately like every time I go clothes shopping, but worse. Every time I saw a dress I liked - something really pretty, but not available in my size, oh no! I cringed, feeling like maybe I just wasn't worthy of a dress like that. Every time I saw a dress in my size, I looked at it with disgust, revulsion, knowing that was what women like me hide in. By the time we'd hit several stores, I was hurting, convinced that I wasn't worth a goddamn burlap sack to wrap myself in. I was going to buy myself a pair of thigh-highs at Victoria's Secret in a fit of self-pity, just to believe that I could wear something pretty (even if no-one saw it). I couldn't make myself buy them. We left the mall, sans dress. I didn't mean to cry, but I did - all the way to the car, all the way home, and through my half-hour shower. I felt so fucking ugly. The explanations I could summon for why I wouldn't be able to find anything pretty, feminine, in my size - they hurt. Maybe I was so hideous, they didn't want me shopping in the same section and scaring off the pretty, skinny, worthy girls. Maybe they didn't want me disgusting those same girls by showing up in an upsized version of the same dress. ("Oh, look. You showed up in the same outfit as the beached whale!" It's a faux pas and insult in one, for double points!) Maybe I wasn't worth that much georgette, silk, satin, tulle, ribbons, beading. This is how I feel almost every time I shop. I hate myself for having to go to Lane Bryant. I feel like hunting down the manager of these stores, and shaking them and screaming, asking how hard it would be to put a few bigger sizes of the pretty stuff out on the floor, and leave them in with the other dresses instead of making me trek to the third fucking floor like I'm some sort of deformed freak and not a real woman at all? Not a real woman at all. That's how I feel so often. I went home and put on my suit. It's got a level of sex appeal in its own right, but it's still pants. I want something soft and feminine and curvy and flowy, with sequins and beads and colors and patterns that aren't strategically calculated to hide me. I put on my shoes - a pair of point-toed BCBG pumps that hurt my feet. Usually the comfort instinct wins and I wear something that isn't going to make my feet cry, but I needed to do something that made me feel sexy, and I feel sexy in those shoes. Almost like a real woman. Almost. I could go the rest of my life without ever setting foot inside another department store.
Angst: December 2005 Archives
The semester is almost over, so hey! It's time for an update. The buzzwords for this semester: STRESS, ANGST and FAILURE. Yeah, so, now that I got that F-word out of the way, here's the long story. I started the semester taking Russian I, Native American Religion, Calculus III and World Civilizations I. Two classes into Native American Religions, I realized that the professor was going to teach a class in a way that was patently disrespectful to me and my beliefs, so I went and had a chitchat with the head of that department and the dean of my college. The short, polite version of that story ends in me switching from Native American Religion to Computer Tools for Physicists, and still wondering if I'm going to be able to find a class to satisfy my multicultural affairs requirement. I was warned early in the semester that Russian would be OMG hard. The truth? Not terribly hard, for me at least. I'm (to the annoyance of others in my life) a natural linguist, so with what I'd consider minimal effort, I'm sitting somewhere around a high B, low A. The final is Monday. Computer Tools (my next Monday class) is an annoying class with a good professor. The class is generally the sort of thing I like to puzzle out on my own with a book (it's basically How To Use Maple 101), and so my attendance and effort level has been sort of low. I'm behind with the homework, but I purchased my own copy of Maple yesterday and am catching up rather quickly. I just hate hate hate the chairs in the lab where the Maple computers are, which has been making me very reluctant to go in and do the homework. I have no idea what I'll get in that class, though I suspect a decent grade. The professor's a fair guy. World Civilizations I is easily my favorite class this semester, with a professor who loves tangential relationships between things, and discovering the true causes of problems and conflicts. I'm probably going to get a B in that class, which could have been an A if I'd have studied a smidge more. Then there's Calculus III. I failed. The final hasn't happened yet, but even with a perfect score on it? I can't pass the class. This is entirely my fault (with some contributing factors which are nonetheless not the cause). The professor's voice and the ambient temperature in the room made me fall asleep in class, but more than that - I just didn't work at it. I've never had to really work for a grade; I could mostly just slide through a class with an A, or at worst, a B or B-. By the time I realized how hard I was going to have to work, it was too late - I was already massively behind. So! I'll be retaking that next semester. I'll be taking: Calculus III Mathematical Methods of Physics Optics Economics (Micro) Ethics Experimental Physics IV I'll also be teaching two labs. Fun stuff. ...more later, maybe, when I'm not in an angsty, surly mood.