Monthly Archives: May 2013

Plus Size Fashion Woes

I love shopping. It’s one of the many ways I cling to quintessential girldom while maintaining my snarky, feminist attitude. If I’ve had a bad day or a good day or a day in general, capping it off with a trip to a shopping outlet is the perfect medicine/reward. I used to revel in clothing shopping. I could walk into a store like Forever 21 and dive headfirst into rack after rack, only coming up for air to start a dressing room. Spending hours in H&M or Forever 21 was not only possible, it was necessary. I needed to look at every single item on the racks in case I prematurely ventured to the cashier and passed up on a polka-dot mini that I was destined to have, or a tie-waist shirt dress that would accentuate my vivacious curves. That would never do. I’ve said before that I was never skinny. I was always curvy but as big girls know, curves (and milkshakes) are what bring all the boys to the yard, so I didn’t mind. In fact, I celebrated it with body-contour dresses and belted waists. (I went through a phase where I thought I pretty much was Bettie Page.) The big, trendy stores were my holy place because I was (and will always be) all about quantity over quality. I like to have a ton of choices and when you make as little money as I do, H&M prices are your happy place.

This is how I feel in normal sized clothing

This is how I feel in normal sized clothing

Shopping was my first relationship but it’s always been one of love/hate. Since I have always been curvy, and since clothing lines made for more “ethnic” bodies weren’t available to me in my younger years, I was always hovering between a Juniors size 13 and a Women’s size 14. While I agree that this size may seem pretty big to be proud of, you can trust me when I say I was a hot plus size. I’m not short and I was well proportioned, situating all the bulk in the sexy places. It worked. Fitting into the sizes offered wasn’t a terrible issue in my earlier years, but I did have odd problems to deal with on account of all the sexiness in my thigh and butt area. The gap. Not the uber-preppy store, but the situation that happens when you have too much jelly for JC Penny to handle and end up with jeans that fit around your thunder thighs but gap widely in the back, giving the world a view of those size XL undies. It was nothing a cinched belt couldn’t handle, but it did make wearing shorter shirts impossible unless I dared wear my jeans ultra-low like all those hipbone-baring harlots I made fun of. No thank you. I’m not even convinced I have hipbones. For all I know, it could be jelly all the way through.

I could have used these in high school...

I could have used these in high school…

Let’s talk about arms. My arms have always been grotesquely big. Even when I was a svelte size 13 and dancing my way to physical fitness, my arms have always been a point of contention on my otherwise va-va-voom body. Aren’t arms supposed to be a different size than legs? I thought so. Mine aren’t. My arms are literally the thickness of most people’s legs. It’s pretty disgusting. Aside from being terrible to look at, they keep me from wearing an entire genre of clothing: sleeveless. All through the hot, hot summers I have to sport the ever-present “three-quarter-length” sleeve. I believe that putting fabric over my tree-trunk arms will disguise the largeness of them. Logically, I realize this is not true, but it does disguise the interesting things that happen when my arms are at rest against my sides. So that’s enough reason for me. Along with holding me at arm’s length (ahem) from super-cute sleeveless dresses, my arms keep me out of most blazers and long-sleeved shirts. These shirts are manufactured for normal people. People who do not have to consult Popeye for fashion tips. It has gotten to the point now, where I can simply tug on the fabric of a blazer’s sleeves and know I shouldn’t even try to stick my arm in there. I’ve had many a terrifying dressing room experience of believing, if only for a moment, that I was going to have to be cut out of a pullover shirt. Nothing like confined spaces and too many mirrors to calm a panic attack. I’ve talked before about how I literally hulk-rip the arms out of shirts when I go rogue and try to shop like the little people. If you hang out with me at all in real life, you’ve seen the proof. It’s not pretty but it’s the chunky, chunky hand I’ve been dealt.

Such a fashionista

Such a fashionista

So, let’s go shopping! I could use someone to field my snide comments and attempts at covering my embarrassment with sarcasm.

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Racism, Sexism and a Bit of Gingism

Today after work I went to get a pedicure with a friend. We were both badly in need of some TLC on our toes (tender loving care, not T-Boz, Left Eye and Chili) and headed over to the local “Chic Nail Salon”. 

If you know anything about bargain nail salons, you know that they are usually run and operated by nice Vietnamese women. They have insane memories and will remember you even if you don’t go in for a year or two. They won’t remember your name, just strange specifics about you. I haven’t been into this nail salon in a very long time. The owner made sure to comment on the fact that my hair is different and asked if my friend was indeed my friend. I said no, and they all laughed. 

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I hate feet, so the thought of other people touching strangers’ feet as a full time job really grosses me out. It even grosses me out and makes me extremely uncomfortable to have them touch my feet and deal with that deep blister that formed when I wore inappropriate shoes to hike around Boston. As is the case with most situations I deem awkward, I cope with the pedicure issue by making snarky comments and joking as much as humanly possible. And never, ever making eye contact. I also like to say things out loud that I think they might find gross, so it sort of takes the fun out of it for them to talk to each other in Vietnamese about it. 

I started out my stint in the pedi-chair by apologizing for my hairy legs (only slightly stubbly, which is the best scenario I can usually manage) and warned her about my crater of a blister as well. She smiled and said, “No Probrem”, and went about her business of telling me to put my foot in or out of the water in the quietest voice I’ve ever almost heard. I would of course never be looking at her face while she sloughed dead skin off of my heel, so she would have to gently shove or pull my leg, whichever was necessary. 

While I was trying to pretend there wasn’t a small Asian woman attached to the end of my leg, I took a phone call. It was my boss who had just gotten her hair did and called to fill me in on the result of the color, as I had asked her to do. Instead of just telling me about it, she decided to be hilarious and simply say, “I have no soul!” So obviously I knew she had gone red. She’s in my ear, talking about how she’s a ginger now and how she has no soul and I would have been laughing if it weren’t for this super-creepy ginger girl, staring into the depths of my soul as if she knew I was internally laughing at her kind. She wanted my soul for her own. She was basically Malachi from “Children of the Corn” and I was terrified. She was in the salon for the duration of our stay and never broke eye contact. I’m getting chills just thinking about her rusty head, milky skin and those dead, evil eyes. 

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Once I was able to break my shell-shocked gaze away from the tiny ginger child I honed in on the fact that what I thought was the sound of a light breeze drifting through the salon’s open door was actually the two nail-ladies talking to each other in Vietnamese. And they both appeared to be hearing and understanding the other. I don’t speak Vietnamese, so they could easily be pretending to hear one another and simply saying nonsense words out loud in response, but my guess is that they have super-human hearing, which makes it really hard for me to let out my snark or talk about ginger kids right in front of them. 

In what I assume was a Vietnamese version of a shout, my lady laughed and told me that my hair didn’t cut her hands, so it wasn’t bad. I laughed as well, but nervously in case I had misheard her and she said that my stubble did cut her hands. Because…that would be weird. Then, once it was time for the polish she decided to follow my lead and try out another joke. She tapped my shin, gestured to the clear basecoat she had applied and asked me if I liked the color. I smiled and sort of laughed while she said, “Ha! I just shoking. Just shoking!” You’ve got to give a girl credit for trying to relate to her customers. It was adorable. 

The icing on the racist cake was when I was taking a look at the price-list/menu board and realized that under both Manicures and Pedicures it offered a “hot tower massage” instead of a “hot towel massage”. We’ve all seen the “Engrish is hard” jokes, but this was real life and I laughed hard, despite my experience with Linguistics and my knowledge about why those two letters are so interchangeable for those who speak an Asian language. It’s still funny. 

In closing, I got my feet prettied up, realized I’m more racist than I knew and I’m pretty sure my soul is now in the possession of that terrifying ginger child.

Sometimes You Have to Choose

My laziness gets the best of me often. I’m forced to make choices on a daily basis that not only affect what I look like, but what I accomplish in life as well.

The daily choice-making begins immediately when my alarm clock goes off at 6:00 am. Every time, without fail, I make the choice to hit snooze until 6:30 am. Then, when the alarm goes off again I make the choice to hit snooze until 6:45 am. Then, when the alarm goes off again I rationalize whether or not I really need to take a shower or if I can just wait until I get home from work (and then not do it either). Then, I hit snooze again until 7:00 am at which point I quickly rationalize whether I need to wear makeup, and if I think there are clean clothes within arm’s length of my bed. If I think there are, and that I can get away with a “fresh-faced” look, I hit snooze until 7:15. If I don’t get up at 7:15, I’m not getting to work on time. Period.

On mornings when I have a bit more zest for life (and if my hair really needs to be washed) I’ll stop the snooze-fest at 6:50 am to get in the shower. I set my alarm originally for 6:30 to get in the shower, but as you’ve seen above, I rationalize until the absolute latest moment I can get up and get in there.

This morning I really needed to get up and wash my hair since I have to hit it with some more blue hair dye after work and it needs to be as clean as possible for that to happen. I begrudgingly tore myself out of bed at 6:50 (6:52) and dragged my feet to the bathroom to get in the shower. Once the water hit my face I realized that I only had a total of 30 minutes to shower, get ready and get out the door for work so I had to make another important decision. Do I shave my legs? The only thing I had in mind to wear was a skirt, so rather than throw a kink in that round of rationalizations I decided to quickly shave my legs and see what time I had left when I got out.

If you’ve never weighed over 200 pounds then you don’t understand what an undertaking a simple shaving session can be. My legs are probably twice the surface area of yours and I have half the flexibility of a normal person. That combination makes for some pretty uncomfortable and sometimes life-threatening moments in the shower. Speed is not an option if I’d like to go about the rest of my morning without leaving a trail of blood in my wake. And I would very much like to go about the rest of my morning without leaving a trail of blood in my wake.

So, because I chose to shave my legs, I had to forego blowdrying my hair. There simply wasn’t enough time. Once I got out of the shower I had enough time to jump into my clothes, brush my teeth and slather my face with BB Cream before running out the door and cursing myself for not leaving enough time to stop and get coffee. It’s a fight to the finish, really. If I choose to take some time to do something that resembles self-grooming, then I have to leave something else out of my routine and therefore I’ll never look completely good. My hair air-dryed today and it looks ridiculous. I look like an older/fatter version of Thora Birch in Ghost World.

The resemblance is uncanny

The resemblance is uncanny

 

You might say, “Why don’t you just get up earlier?” And that’s a valid question to some people. But I’ve just written an entire blog post about hitting the snooze button, so you tell me. Is it an option? No. No it is not.

I’m doomed to have wavy hair on either my head or my legs.

Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes

My friend the bartender, of previous “inappropriate weeknight drinking” blog-lore, recently left her position at my go-to bar and posted up at a restaurant/bar inside Grand Rapids’ notorious “tourist building”. At first notification of this transition I got angry and blamed her for effectively ruining my social life and putting a halt to all things blog-worthy. You can feel free to momentarily blame her for my absence as well, but I think you’ll change your tune once you read on.

The BOB

The BOB

Last week I finally gave in and ventured into what I assumed was an area sanctioned only for those with bedazzled jeans, afraid that I would instantly be infected with Nickelback fandom and a sudden urge to pound a Jager-bomb. I just couldn’t leave my dear friend all alone in there to fend for herself (And I was honestly at a loss for where else to go by myself) so I gave it a go.

Tonight, since I had already familiarized myself with the terrain and I knew that I needed to get my mouth around those bacon-wrapped scallops again, I decided to go ahead and pop in to visit my friend once more, on a Monday night. I sort of liked that there were no 22-year-olds shouting at each other. There were only real live grownups, drinking real live grownup drinks and minding their own business. Minding one’s own business isn’t great for blog fodder, however, so I obviously tuned into a few of the patrons.

Gilly's. Classy without an uncomfortable amount of class.

Gilly’s. Classy without an uncomfortable amount of class.

One man, who sat proudly next to his hard-hat while he alternately drank both his bottle of Corona and his tall Long Island Iced Tea, told Courtney to put my next drink on his tab. I was much obliged and a little surprised considering my greasy hair and general Am-ish (sort of Amish…) outfit, but I accepted nonetheless. I was drinking a Grey Goose martini, after all, and those aren’t cheap. Once I thanked the small man and went back to my sumptuous scallops, it became clear to me that I was betrothed to conversation with him for the duration of his stay. He asked me the requisite “getting to know a stranger” questions and I answered as sincerely as I could (which we all know is terribly difficult for me). I told him that I was a writer but that I spent my time as a customer service rep to pay the bills. He seemed intrigued with my writing and axed (yep) a million more questions about the blog, so I gave him a card. That may have been a mistake since I’m currently writing about him. Oh well.

This man would sit quietly, drowning in his dual-fists of alcohol until I put a giant bite of food into my mouth, at which point he would ask me a question that required much more than a simple “yes or no”. I would put up the “effing WAIT a minute!” finger and answer to the best of my ability. He asked me what I ordered and I told him they were scallops, as innocently as one answers a food-related question. He then said, “Oh, so you like seafood, then”, in such a lecherous manner that I felt instantly naked. As if my affirmative answer was somehow payment to him for that $12 dirty martini he naively purchased for me. Luckily, after several more minutes of attempted conversation, the small man moved on with his life, taking my business card with him.

The absence of yet another tiny suitor left me to observe my friend the bartender. She’s a magical creature with powers I’ll never understand. She had three middle-aged men on the opposite side of the bar metaphorically bending to kiss her feet. This became especially relevant when they began to woo her with tales of their self-importance. I sat, smugly watching from afar as they promised her a free pair of Timberland non-slip shoes. They were, after all, very important men at the company. They commended her on how nice she was, before she even knew how important they were. And then they said something that will remain in my nightmares forever, “See? You were meant to wear us!” (Confusing and gross). And, as a side note, nobody who shows up in poorly pressed plaid button-downs and white athletic shoes can be that important. I glanced away from the threesome and looked back just in time to see them take a group selfie and discard the first attempt after a brief veto from the double chin police. I had to stifle a snort. Or maybe it would have been a chortle. We’ll never know.

The Timberland crew at rapt attention.

The Timberland crew at rapt attention.

As I prepared to leave, the bar began filling up with even more middle to old-aged men. I was hesitant to leave such a goldmine but contented with what my bartending friend left me. She has a way of sidling up to any group of men and by simply remembering their drink order, making them hear, “Oh yes, big daddy. Do me! Do me for as long as your little blue pill will allow! There’s no pressure here!”

Gos bless you, miss Courtney. What would I do without you and your legions of suitors? In all seriousness, Courtney is an amazing bartender and I will follow her to the ends of Mcfadden’s if I have to. Ok…so that’s going a bit far. I may burst into flames if I enter Mc’Frat-ens. Gilly’s at the BOB, however, isn’t so bad. It’s sort of good, actually. I stand corrected.