There are only a few activities that I hate, but the one I loathe most of all is shopping. Don’t get me wrong; I love shopping for other people. Nothing makes me happier than walking around Target alone on a Wednesday morning when the kids are in school, and I have no place to be but exactly where I am. It can be glorious. What I hate, is shopping for clothes for myself. The reason is threefold, a mix of champagne appetite on a water budget, nothing I liked was ever in my size, and I have no idea how to dress.
To tell this story honestly, I have to go back to the beginning. Back when I was a young girl and wore a uniform every day to school for 12 years. My life was so regimented that even my “afterschool” clothes became a uniform of same color sweats, turtlenecks, and jeans. My summer wardrobe was only slightly varied in the sense that I traded jeans in for shorts but only on the really hot days because my legs were and are like two sticks that look like if the trade winds came along, they would snap in two. My turtlenecks turned into tee shirts in colors of white, off-white (because I spilled something on it and my mother bleached it), and gray. It wasn’t until I got to college and saw how the other half dressed (the other half is the rest of the normal world) that I knew I needed to upgrade my uniform, but I had zero ideas of where to start.
The unfortunate thing about attending the college I did was that most of my classmates came from money. Their bank accounts ranged from upper middle class to nouveau riche to old money. When they took me shopping with them, they shopped in places like Nordstrom’s, Versace, and Bergdorf’s. I would walk around those places and be scared to even touch the clothes for fear that I might get stuck having to buy it. I had the idea that to look nice you had to spend three-quarters of your paycheck on a blouse, and it wasn’t until I swallowed my pride and asked a co-worker that I learned how to shop without spending a fortune but looking like I had.
Once I found clothes that I could afford, it came down to finding something that fit me. Now I know what you’re thinking. “This skinny bitch has the nerve to complain about finding clothes in her size when everything is made for thin chicks.” Yes, this skinny bitch is complaining, and I’m complaining because I’m freakishly thin. And not because I starve myself or I work out religiously because I don’t. My favorite pastime is Netflix and Brie. Which for those not in the know, is me sitting on the couch for hours on end binge watching Weeds for the 7th time and eating a tub of Brie with Tostitos. Maybe it’s a parasite or funky glands, but I could never gain weight. I’m built like a 12-year-old boy and as such most women’s clothing does not fit me right. I hate trying anything on, so most shopping trips result in me buying a bunch of shit and then going back a week later to return half of it.
Fast forward twenty years and while now I have an idea of what to wear, I am just now learning (thanks to my husband – yeah you read that right) how to accessorize. Some people would say he’s metro, and that would be an accurate assumption, but he’s an old soul. He’s the last true gentleman, like 1920’s style gentleman left on earth. He gets up every morning and goes through his routine. His hair is perfect, he’s clean shaven, and smells good. His clothes are always ironed, there’s not even a wrinkle in his jeans. Me, on the other hand, more often than not looks like a homeless person. Unless I’m going somewhere, and I should add an addendum to this by saying that going somewhere means having to look nice, I’m wearing tights and a sweatshirt. I only squeeze myself into my jeans on special occasions and a trip to Target is not one of them, maybe Wegmans if I think I might run into someone. I never have on makeup, and my hair is usually in a ponytail or shoved under a headband. If I’m at home, I might get around to brushing my teeth before noon. That’s the amount of lazy that I’m working with.
It’s not that I’m nasty. I just don’t get the point. I never got the point of getting all dolled up and putting on the war paint just to go to Walmart. But that’s probably why I’m in a predicament I’m in, being almost 40 with no idea how to be feminine in the least little bit. And we could also get into a whole argument about are those traits the only ones we ascribe to femininity. But I won’t today because that’s not the point of why I’m writing this.
The point is this if you happen to see me out and about and I look nice to know that either my husband or my nine-year-old daughter dressed me. Give them a high five and tell them good job. If you happen to see me out and I look like a homeless person, neither one of them was around, and I had to dress myself. Just walk away. There’s nothing to see here.