I hate clothes shopping, which explains why I’ve never been accused of being a fashionista. It also explains why my daughters always call first to ask what I’m wearing before they bring their friends over to the house.
Shopping is a miserable way for me to spend a day, but when my underwear drawer looks like it’s been attacked by hungry moths, I know it’s time to hit the mall.
After birthing four babies by C-section and sweating my way through menopausal hell, having a root canal is preferable to me than clothes shopping. I might enjoy it more if I was 25 pounds lighter, but shopping isn’t fun when I’m forced to skip the petite section in favor of the Orca department where everything comes in black, white or shower curtain pattern.
My husband often accompanies me during my clothes hunting expeditions because he is: (A) Bored with all 500 cable channels (B) Needs to replenish his tube sock collection or (C) Wants to make sure I don’t spend all my cash on animal print house dresses and takeout from the Burger Barn. Normally he’s pretty helpful while I scan the aisles for something I can squeeze into. It’s always a challenge to find an outfit that doesn’t leave me looking like the exploding dough from a Pillsbury Crescent Roll tube.
While I’m on the other side of the store pondering zippers v.s. elastic waistbands, my husband feels no shame in shouting across the room for everyone to hear:
“Honey, can you still fit in an XL?”
“Hey Babe, you want those jeans with a control top panel, right?”
I try to be frugal while I shop, but by the time I hit the clearance section, there are only two clothing sizes left on the racks — hummingbird or mastodon.
Once I’m able to find a dress that doesn’t resemble a large paint tarp, I head for the dreaded dressing room. It’s always at this moment that I wish I lived in the 1500s where everyone bought one-size-fit-all clothing from Dirty-Smocks-R-Us and dressed by dim candlelight to mask the effects of a meat and potato diet.
Another reason I dread entering the dressing rooms is because there are some shoppers who use these cubicles for more than just trying on clothes. How do I know this? Several of my children worked in major department stores during their high school years and shared a few nightmare tales that have scarred me for life. These popular stores should consider posting signs so that paranoid people like me don’t have to worry about stepping into DNA samples left by the previous occupants. Simple signs that would be helpful, such as: “FECAL FREE ZONE” or “MOTEL 6 IS DOWN THE STREET …..THEY’LL LEAVE A LIGHT ON FOR YOU!”
It never fails that by the time I get to the checkout counter, the angry woman in front of me with three returns and a missing receipt was once the president of her high school debate team. My eye starts to twitch the moment she engages in refund warfare with the young girl behind the cash register. Obviously neither one of these women knows I’m two hours late getting home to walk a dog known for bouts of IBS. That’s one “WELCOME HOME” surprise I can do without.
Along with the shopping spree comes the daunting task of cleaning out the old clothes to make room for the new. I’m a firm believer in recycling and have found some creative ways to repurpose my granny panties with a needle and thread. By sewing them together, I can make an outdoor patio umbrella, a tent for camping trips or an heirloom quilt for the grandkids. Pinterest has nothing on me.
The reality is that when I try on the new clothes at home, they don’t look as good on me as they did in the dressing room. I’m convinced that department stores use trick mirrors so that every woman appears as shapely as an hour glass. When I get home and look in my own mirror, all I see is a pear dressed up in a shower curtain.
Chances are I’ll be returning my one-size-fits-none clothing to the mall — but only after a quick stop at the Burger Barn.
— Marcia Kester Doyle
Marcia Kester Doyle is the author of the humorous blog “Menopausal Mother,” where she muses on the good, the bad and the ugly side of menopausal mayhem. She is a staff writer for In The Powder Room and HumorOutcasts.com and a contributing writer for What the Flicka. Her work recently captured first place in VoiceBoks Top Hilarious Parent Bloggers 2014, and her first book will be released in the spring through Blue Lobster Publishing. Marcia’s work has appeared on Scary Mommy, Mamapedia, Bloggy Moms, Messy Mom’s Radio, The Woven Press, the Life Well Blogged series and was voted Top 25 in the Circle Of Mom’s Contest 2013. In 2014, she was named a Blogher Voice Of The Year.