If at first you don’t succeed, try it on, try it on again. Unless you’re me.

I hate shopping for clothes. Even more specifically, I hate trying on clothes. I hate every moment of the experience.

First of all, I’ve seen too many “very special episodes” of TV shows about shoplifting to not know that there’s some person sitting at some control booth watching me change. We all know you’re out there, you mouth breathers with your bar-b-cue potato chip fingers, just waiting to catch me shoving tank tops and bras into my purse. When I arrive at the changing room and I do a weird dance in front of the mirror with both my middle fingers in the air – that is directed at you, sir or madam.

I also hate the number cards they pass out when you go and try clothes on. Never are my insecurities over my ability to count so tested as when I have to come up with the correct number of garments I want to wriggle in and out of as quickly as I can in that florescent nightmare of a room. What if I give the wrong number? Will I waste away in prison, cursing myself for my inability to correctly  tally up pants? Will those miscounted pants – the two I never had in the first place, become an enduring mystery, like D.B. Cooper’s money? “Nobody knows where C.E. Williford may have hidden those two pairs of khakis. We may never know,” Dateline will tell it’s viewers. “But I didn’t! I didn’t hide two pairs of khakis, I just count worse than a toddler,” I will yell, but it will fall on deaf ears.

I like to have pictures with my blog posts. This is a drawing of a pair of pants, just in case you’re not sure what I’m talking about.

Last week I had to face the harsh reality that I have grown too fat for all but two pairs of pants – one pair of capris, and one pair of black jeans. I live in the South, which means in the summer it feels like a sadistic grandma is smothering you with a soaking wet hot quilt. If my black jeans had them, they would have rolled their eyes hearing me explain that although it’s 102 degrees outside, I’m sure if I stay in the shade it’ll be fine. But, even I am not that delusional. I only had one pair of useable pants. This was a sad realization, and doubly so because it meant having to buy new pants.

I made my way to the local Super Target, grabbed 3 different pairs of pants of varying sizes (I did count correctly – things were looking up), and headed to the dressing room. Even if there’s a lock on the door, I have a constant fear of being walked-in on, like someone will pick the lock because they’re certain nobody’s in there. This has never actually happened to me, but that doesn’t mean I can’t worry about it; it’s is a free country.

I quickly tried on all three pairs of pants. I bet I looked like a contestant on Double Dare trying to get through the obstacle course in time. One after the other – none of them fit. They were too small. After removing and individually cursing each pair, I gathered my things and left the dressing room. As instructed by the attendant (is that the right word for that job?), I left the unwanted and now cursed pants on a giant pile for someone else to put back (that always bothers me, I feel like I’m shirking my responsibility to put things back where they belong).

This is when a rational person would then get some larger sizes to go back and try on. No. I don’t go back in to dressing rooms after I’ve gone once. I take the information I gathered from the first trip – “those pants were too small for me” – and jump to conclusions – “the next size up is obviously the correct choice.” I went to the pants what were the least tightest and bought the next size up, being so thankful that I’m smart enough to outwit a second trip to try pants on.

The next morning I woke up and grabbed my new pair of pants and I swear I heard my formerly sole pair of pants, a crumpled, broken heap in the corner of the room, crying tears of joy.

The new pants are too big. Did I return them and resign myself to another voyage to the fitting room? I think we all know the answer to that. No, they’re not so big that I can’t wear them. I just need a belt. If the belt were a tied rope, yes, I would look like a hobo. But, I would rather look like an overweight hobo who still somehow manages to have pants that are too big than take my clothes off at a place other than my own home for the second time in a week.

Life is about growing, learning lessons that help you improve yourself. With age comes wisdom and all that jazz. What lesson did I learn from The Ballad of Buying a Second Pair of Pants? Fuck lessons.

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This post was in response to Studio30 Plus‘ writing prompts this week.

read to be read at yeahwrite.me

38 thoughts on “If at first you don’t succeed, try it on, try it on again. Unless you’re me.

  1. Unless it’s food, I hate shopping. Clothes shopping? Poke me in the eye with a dull butter knife and force me to listen to Nickelback.

    I couldn’t care less about fashion. I wear jeans and yoga pants when I can. When I have to buy either of these, I get stabby, as I’m tall but have a small waist (shut up, it’s not a good problem.) That means they either long enough and huge in the waist or flood up my shins but fit the waist. I swear. I give up. I wear the same crap that I’ve had for years.

    In other words, I feel your pain.

    • I wear jeans, a t-shirt, and hoodies. Capris in the summer cause I have to. I have the problem of being 5ft 3in – juuuust too tall for petite, too short to not step on the bottom of regular length jeans. I just don’t care enough to find the right clothes or go to a tailor.

  2. I have a different ritual depending on where I am shopping. I know that the mirrors in one store make everything look like crap, but when I take it home and look at it in normal light and not a funhouse mirror, I like it. Another store makes you look like a rockstar, but then you get home and it’s like you had beer goggles on when you bought the outfit.

    I like online shopping. That way the only trip I have to make is to the post office to return. I can try my items on when no one is home to see me jump, wiggle, wrangle, twist, and cry my way through.

    Wow. This was cathartic.

  3. I hate clothes shopping too, BUT I also hate the post office and the inevitable online purchase return. Since I’ve been every size from 6-16 at one point or another, I just keep all my clothes and shuffle through wardrobes depending on my level of bloat and fluff. I realized last week that I’ve had my favorite pair of yoga pants for 9 years! Of course I realized that because I noticed there are basically nothing but four threads left in the crotch, the coverage of which is one of the main points of wearing pants, so I might have to do some shopping soon (shudder).

    • I had a pair of jeans (my third pair of fitting pants, may they rest in peace) that the area below my butt started to to give and I wore them until it just wasn’t socially acceptable (my definition, not other people’s). Men aren’t the only people who will hold onto things until they disintegrate.

      I only go and drop the packages in the mail slots in the lobby by using the pre-printed return labels. Technology has really made strides for the anti-social introverted shopper.

  4. If I ever get super rich, the first thing I’m going to do is have someone do my clothes shopping for me. Just put some comfortable crap in my closet and leave. I don’t want to talk about it or try it on.

    I remember an episode of Good Times where Willona got a job being the spy behind the mirror and somebody had on some hole-y underpants and she stood up for what’s right. Or something.

    • YEEESSSSSS! Thank you thank you thank you. I couldn’t for the life of me remember which TV show it was with the spy mirror episode. I watch A LOT of TV, you know. I looked it up, the episode is “Willona, The Fuzz.” You are my hero today, tumbleweed.

  5. This made me laugh so hard, and not only because of the topic. Great, funny writing, thanks for sharing!

    I hate trying on clothes and often flat out refuse to do it. I’ll just buy stuff and if it doesn’t fit once I get home, I’ll bring it back and try again. No, I’m not very efficient.

    • Same here. I’m an extremely inefficient clothes shopper. I hate to admit it but I also sometimes waste money because I’m too lazy to return things. I’m so generous, giving people the shirt off my back because it didn’t fit.

  6. Holy crap! I though I was the only person who “flew the bird” in the mirror before trying on clothes. In fact, I’m so certain that some total voyeuristic bastard is watching me that I absolutely ONLY try on clothes as a last resort. I’m far more likely to buy-and-return.

  7. I don’t mind shopping too terribly much, unless it’s for either bras or jeans. Then it’s torture. My size doesn’t actually exist, which always pisses me off to no end. Seriously, why aren’t there half sizes?

  8. This would be why I haven’t shopped in a real clothing store in about 8 years. If it isn’t on Zappos, Ideeli, Amazon, or a handful of other online stores, it isn’t on me. I HATE SHOPPING. There I said it. I guess I have to turn in my girl card now.

  9. Clothes shopping is of the devil!! Just last weekend I had to go to the store to shop for clothes as I am pending 2 trips and needs shorts/skirts/dresses or some such craziness. I am a wear pants all the time, even in the summer, type person. My sense of fashion would fall in the category of “comfortable but not sloppy.”

    So I go. I pick out a bunch of clothes and pile them up on the shopping cart. It was Kohls so I didn’t have to deal with one of those take a number things (one of the good things about that place), so had an overflowing cart of shit. I took a picture of it and sent it to my friend Jen, saying “I am in HELL!!” She actually had me send pics of some of the clothing when I tried it on so she could give me some fashion advice, of which I have NONE. It helped. I got a few things. But it was a neverending purgatory of trying on crap. Plus, I had not eaten, so had low blood sugar. It was a close one. I almost either passed out or went on a kill crazy rampage. Luckily, everyone got out alive and I have a couple new outfits. Win-win?

  10. omg YES! hysterical!! 🙂 🙂 🙂
    i don’t ever try on clothes in stores anymore. never. i just buy them, try them on AT HOME, then return or deal with them if need be.

    “feels like a sadistic grandma is smothering you with a soaking wet hot quilt”- YES YES YES OMG YES… and i live in Chicago!

  11. You are so funny! My sister hates to shop too. I like it but only when I’m by myself. I hate it when other people slow me down (I’m not very forgiving about that). But I do hate it when my “normal” size doesn’t fit. That sucks. And swimsuits NEVER fit. I hate that too 😉

  12. I do love shopping but I can’t stand most retail stores, thrift stores are my friends. The quality and lack of style these days drives me crazy.

    Pants shopping is the worst. Why can you not find a decent pair of non-skinny jeans? I can’t get the stupid things past my thighs and I am not a big girl, just strong (I dance). I also am short, 5.4, but I find that New York and Co. is a good place for pants because they come in three different lengths.

  13. As a guy who is exactly the wrong amount off “normal” for pants sizes, I totally feel your pain in finding the right size.

    Though my dressing room tales aren’t near as funny.

  14. I hate clothes shopping. If Kellie manages to get me in a dressing room, she keeps tossing in clothes until I submit and buy something.

  15. I hate pants shopping. One pair is too tight in the waist, the next is too tight in the thighs. I can never win. Which is why I’m currently scouring the web for summer dresses…that are on sale.

  16. First off, ohmygod Double Dare! I haven’t thought about that show in years! Second, I’m with you on the shopping thing. I often find myself looking at cute clothes on the interwebs (mainly t-shirts with pictures of my favorite childhood t.v. shows,) but I would rather take a beating than actually go out and buy clothes. Gross.

  17. I gained 30 pounds over the winter. Shopping just ain’t gonna happen until I lose it. I should invent mouth tape because that is what I need.

    Meanwhile, I just walk around half-clothed.

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