I worked a long day yesterday and ran to Target before it closed --you know how it goes, you race in to the store ten minutes before closing time and get the hurry-up-and-shop you inconsiderate moron grimace from the employee straightening the carts. I'm sure its pretty darn close to the look I give people that walk in the bar at last call.
The intention of the shopping trip was to buy a toothbrush and cat food. Just a toothbrush and cat food. So as I was trying on jeans, I started giggling. Which I'm sure endeared me to the Target staff just a little bit more. The jeans that fit were a size 12. Not only was I thrilled that my fat monkey ass could squeeze in to a pair of size 12 jeans but it took me back 25 years.
But first, I have to tell you that I don't believe in size tags. They vary so wildly from manufacturer to manufacturer. I always joke that I'm going to rip all of the tags out of the clothes at Marigold and re-group the sizes in to the broad categories of sun, moon and stars. Then when someone comes in the store you could say "Hello, you look like a star! Let me show you some things." I've never cared about sizes. In fact the skirt I'm wearing right now has a "small" tag and my tee shirt is an "XL". But a surprising number of people care about what the size tag says. Yep, that tag that no one but you see, that tag that can easily be cut out. Even if the skirt is the most flattering thing they've ever put on their body, women get caught up in sizes. I've learned to say things like "Oh, that line runs really small" or "That designer cuts very generously."
When I was in college my dear boyfriend and I hung out with another couple. Greg and RR were high school buddies. RR's wife managed a clothing store in the Mall. I was a skinny punk rocker with a penchant for thrift store clothes. In those days you could score beautiful beaded sweaters, handmade dresses, biker boots and well-worn Levi jeans.
One Christmas season Mrs. Mall spent a lot of time telling us about a coat selling contest between the stores in her district. I was not totally shocked when Greg gave me a coat from everyone-looks-like-everyone-else store in the Mall. I was tiny and the coat was a size 6. Which technically fit me, but I thought it was way too tight for a coat and not my style at all. I'm a fan of the swing coat. Loose and plenty of room for layers underneath. But I appreciated the fact that Greg was supporting his friend. I took the coat back to exchange it for a bigger size. I tried a couple of them on and took the size 12 one up to the counter. Mrs. Mall looked at me and said "I would never be caught dead wearing a size 12!"
I was not a big fan of Mrs. Mall anyway and that was the last straw. I told her that she had a good point and that I didn't want the coat and would just take the money. She swore that her store lost the contest because of that return.
Greg and I eventually broke up -- saying no to an engagement proposal tends to take the wind out of the sails of a relationship. I graduated from college, moved to Philadelphia for five years and came back to Indianapolis about a dozen years ago. I ran in to RR and I learned that he and Mrs. Mall were divorced. She'd had an affair with a younger man that she met, at you guessed it-- the mall.
RR and I dated for a bit. We saw a lot of music and hung out with old friends. He still lived in the college town an hour away. I was managing a pizza place and worked a lot of nights. We didn't see each other often and I didn't know much about his life beyond the superficial stuff. I got a call at work one night telling me that RR had tried to commit suicide. Of course I felt horrible and guilty. And, of course RR's problems had nothing to do with me.
Or what the size tag in your clothes says.