Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Shopping for Frustration

I love to shop.

I love to look around for that perfect gift for somebody.
I love to come out of a shop with a bag full of DVDs I hadn't even known I wanted.
I love spending hours on end in a bookshop and browsing until the stack of books I want to buy becomes too heavy for me to carry.

And yet, shopping for clothes makes me want to cry and scream after about five minutes.
There is nothing that will destroy my morale and my will to live quite so quickly as a clothes shop.

You wonder why? Me too.
The last time I checked, my anatomy was "normal". One head, two arms conveniently linked to the body at the shoulders, one torso, two legs ending in two feet, which point the right way (as far as I can tell). My joints bend in the directions they should, I have no tail, no wings, nor any other appendages not normally associated with Homo sapiens.
Granted, my body is closer to Rubens' idea of beauty than to Karl Lagerfeld's...but still.

It's the same pattern every time. I walk into the first shop with a clear idea of what I want and what it should look like, full of naive hope that *this time* will be different.
Five minutes later, my hands are full with stuff I like (just like in a bookshop).
Then follows the dreaded ritual of Trying It On.
In small, enclosed spaces with far too much light and far too many mirrors for self-delusion.
At this point, my mood takes a nose-dive into the deepest depths of self-loathing, because the clothes don't fit.
After the fourth item, I become convinced that nothing will fit. Not today. Not ever.
That the search is hopeless and therefore not worth continuing. But I know that I still need those clothes, because going naked and/or freezing is not an option. At that point, I want to either scream in frustration and trash the entire shop, or curl up in a corner and cry...or both.
I'm not kidding - clothes shopping regularly brings me to tears.

By far the worst is the sacred quest for Trousers That Fit (TM).
Finding the Holy Grail seems easy by comparison.

There are billions of trousers out there, and a portion of those are (nominally) my size.
Of those, some are basically imposters, which aren't really my size at all, but have been labelled as such purely to increase the feeling that there is something wrong with me.

Others are, in all obvious respects, more or less my size, but there is a wrongness about them that makes them look weird on me or at least uncomfortable for me. Some even look good right up until the moment when I first sit down and get back up again.
Those are Ill-Fitting Trousers, some of which live in my closet by necessity, because I'm not much of a skirt-person, and even less of a going-naked-person.
Jeans are the worst. I like jeans, but somehow they always make me look as if I had a penis because they bulge in all the wrong places. For the record, I don't have a penis and I don't want one. And no Freudian jeans-conspiracy will convince me otherwise.

I actually can't remember if I ever owned Trousers That Fit (TM).
If I did, it must have been at least 10 years ago.
But I still haven't given up hope that somewhere out there, they do exist.
I have a clear idea of what I want and what it should look like, and I'm absolutely sure that next time, everything will be different.

On the way back?

I don't know...maybe?

Most of the time it doesn't feel that way at all.

But sometimes I look at the fact that I'm reading (and occasionally even writing) again, or I go home from the couple of hours of almost-work I'm doing most days, and I get the feeling that I might be on the right track.

Anyway, I'll try and post here again - just to prove to myself that I can.