Shopping and other catastrophes

Like many women I know, I love shopping for shoes. The really nice thing about shopping for shoes is that I can go into any shoe store and try on and purchase a pair with my size six friends, and nobody feels the need to point out the plus size section to me or, worse, to let me know, gently and apologetically of course, that the store does not carry my size.

I don’t know which is worse, the salesclerk who totally ignores fat people, or the one who decides to open his or her mouth and spew out insults, however unintentional they might be. Oh wait; I do know which is worse.

A friend of mine was shopping for her wedding dress for what was supposed to be the happiest day of her life, according to the fairy tales, and was having difficulty finding dresses in her size. An overly unhelpful saleslady offered her unsolicited explanation.

“We don’t carry that size because bigger women don’t usually get married.”


I guess I must be an exception to that rule (along with just about every other fat woman I know). I have a fantastic husband, and yes, I was fat when he married me. Guess what? He committed anyway. So for all of you fat people out there who maybe haven’t found Mr. (or Ms.) Right, hang in there and ignore the ill-informed saleslady. Big women DO get married, and we’ll be more than happy to spend our money elsewhere. I hope she worked on commission.

Of course, the fashion industry has come a long way in the past couple of decades. Sometimes we fat people can even shop in the same stores as our thinner counterparts. Imagine that! Someday I am hopeful that even the department stores will catch on that fat women, and I suppose men too, are not all old, bedridden people who should wear clothing that looks something like a garbage bag with holes in it and is covered with gigantic, ugly flowers or sequins and beads. Oh yeah, and we also wear colors other than black.

We are young (at heart), vibrant, intelligent, and, yeah, even sexy.  And we want to dress in a way that showcases those qualities – not that attempts to hide them under a canvas tent.

I’ve lost weight and gained weight so often over the years that I have buckets and buckets of clothing ranging from size 14 to size 26 stashed away in the spare bedroom. Usually I find myself somewhere in the middle of those sizes. I can’t bear to throw the clothes away or donate them to Goodwill because I’m convinced that someday I’ll be in the smaller sizes again, and I’m convinced (and scared out of my mind) that someday I’ll be in the larger sizes again. Who can afford to buy a whole new wardrobe every several months?

I heard a story once about a fat person’s idol, Oprah. It may or may not be true, but I’d like to believe it is true because I think it’s pretty cool. According to the source, Oprah shops wherever she wants in whatever-sized section. If she finds something she likes in a smaller size, she simply purchases two or three and then has her seamstress remake the garment into her size by stitching the pieces together. I wonder if anyone has ever dared to tell Oprah that they don’t have her size in a store and that perhaps she should shop in the fat person’s store down the road? I’d love to have been a fly on the wall in that boutique.