Stop Staring!


I had a ‘moment’ on Friday.  In order to understand why this moment shook me up so much, you need to maybe understand me a little better.  There are a couple of things to know:

  1. I have never actually ‘dieted’.
  2. I don’t own scales.  I figure if my clothes fit, I’m good to go.
  3. I don’t participate in exercise I don’t actually enjoy.
  4. I LOVE good food.
  5. I believe that a functioning body is a miracle of mammoth proportions (just thinking of the number of perfect cell divisions that take place daily is mind blowing).

So there I was, looking for a ‘take me seriously’ dress.  Who knew they were so hard to find? One shop after another,  I went in and out of change rooms.

I know that the mirrors in change rooms are too close for anybody’s comfort.  I know change rooms are badly lit.  I know they shouldn’t affect a person’s self-image.  Knowing all this, I make sure I always look at myself in the mirror in the change room across from my own (that’s a nice safe distance).  I make sure I use the right ‘self-talk’.  I say, “this doesn’t fit me”, rather than, “I’m too big for this”.  So I was well armed for my dress-seeking mission.

Then I went into Portmans.  I have always relied upon Portmans for ‘take me seriously’ dresses, so I thought I’d be all set.  Portmans is also the place I remember shopping when I first started work, because it was the only place I could find clothes that fit.

Standing in front of a (very small) rack of serious dresses, I picked out a tiny piece of material.  Size 6.  Who, I wondered, looking at the tiny swatch of fabric, would ever fit into such a miniscule garment.  Then I pulled up short mid-thought.  Moment.  Me.  Back when I shopped here all the time, I fit this specific size.  In fact, this size was the reason I shopped here.

I put the dress back and left the store a little despondent.  To be fair (to myself and every other grown up female on planet Earth), I wore those tiny dresses twelve or thirteen years ago.  Not only has gravity had more than a decade to work on me, I’ve also had an extra child.  I deserve an extra dress size.

Still, indestructible as my self-image would seem, I found myself confronting my husband during dinner.  “I do alright…looks-wise…don’t I?”

Instead of the usual male fear this kind of question generally invokes, my lovely man asked.  “Why?  What have you been doing that would make you ask a question like that?”

I twisted my napkin and picked at my food.  “Staring at myself.”

“Stop it,” he replied. “It’s rude to stare.”

I have, because he’s right.  Staring is rude.


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