Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Waist Not

So! This weekend was challenging, to say the least.  After navigating (or avoiding, really) a discussion of the facts of life with Susie, I was hanging out at the tot lot with a neighbor, who was watching her son.  Another kid we didn't know had taken a shine to him and asked her, "Are you his mom?"  She told him yes.  Then he turned to me and...

[I just have to take a breath here]

He turned to me and said, "Are you his grandma?"

Are you his grandma?

I let that bounce around in my psyche the entire day.  Over and over, like a looped tape in my mind, I heard, "Are you his grandma?"  I sulked.  I pouted.  I refused to talk to Larry, because he is 4 years younger than I am and no one mistakes him for a grandpa.  And the next day, because I am obviously a glutton for punishment, I went to the mall and tried on clothes for 3 hours.

She's smiling, because she has a waist.
Really, Macy's?  A 3-way mirror?  You shouldn't have.  Because all I saw there was Grandma...Grandma...Grandma....

In other words, it was a severely demoralizing experience, made worse by the fact that -- due to my height deficit -- I must confine myself to the "petites" department.  Do you know what it is like, walking past acres of beautiful clothing for women, knowing that NONE of it is for you, until you finally reach the tiny corner labeled "petites"?  And then half the clothes there are grandma clothes?

Get thee behind me, Worthington and Alfred Dunner, with your full elastic waists and sensible scoop necks -- I will not go gently into that dark night.

I soldiered on, stalwart soul that I am, because I needed a dress or skirt to wear to Theo's graduation.  Mid-calf length, as I CANNOT wear an above-the-knee style.  What with the cellulite, age wrinkles, and varicose veins, it would be a punishing sight.

By the way, what the heck happened to pantyhose?  They used to hide a multiple of ills for people like me.  A pox on all you skinny young ones, with your vein-less legs and your stomachs that don't need control tops.

So, apparently, a mid-calf skirt or dress for a short, well-endowed woman is as attainable right now as a sensible budget deal in Congress.  There were a few sleeveless dresses that might have reached below the knee, but they were too revealing on top (meaning, my marvel-of-engineering total-containment brassiere peeks out).  I finally found something that isn't quite long enough, in a color I don't really like, that I bought out of desperation.

But I still wasn't done, not by a long shot.  I was wearing jeans with holes in them, and all my pants at home were in a similar condition.  So I had to find jeans that fit.  I know!  The holy grail, as it were, of fashion.  Larry doesn't understand, because he can walk into a store, pick out jeans by waist and length (34, 32) and walk out, just as he has done for going on 3 decades now.  He won't believe me when I tell him that women's clothing sizes are not reliable indicators of the actual size of the clothing.  25 years ago, I fit comfortably into a size 8.  But today, when I am at least 15 pounds heavier?  I have to try on numerous styles in size 6 and size 4.  Go figure.

I don't even EAT muffins.
And the trouble doesn't end there.  Once I do find a pair of jeans that fits my hips and legs, I am left with a jeans snap that digs into my overabundant stomach flesh and the resulting unattractive protrusion of a muffin top.  You see, menopause -- having a nasty sense of humor -- has chosen to deposit a solid spare tire of flab right around my midsection, to the extent that you probably can't tell from behind whether I am male or female.

In other words, I am grandma-shaped.  At 50.  Look, I know that I am supposed to end this screed with some affirmations about self-acceptance and inner beauty and the like.  And maybe by tomorrow, as the trauma of my shopping trip fades, I'll want to focus on my 3-mile-a-day walking regimen and my determination to tone my arms in 7 days by following some instructions I found on Pinterest.

But right now?  I just want my waist back.

[3-way mirror: Fill My Cup]
[Muffin top: Aussie Fit]


  1. Oh sweetie. I'm sure you don't look like a grandma.

  2. I completely and utterly sympathize. I also have to shop in the petite section, which has a much smaller selection, usually at a greater price, than the 'regular' section.

    And who thinks up these fashions? Who decides that all the dresses should be sleeveless, that dresses should be worn without a bra, that all the jeans should have snaps that dig?

  3. That paragraph about Larry: that's me and my husband. He doesn't get why shopping is so hard, why every time I need a pair of jeans it's a HUGE ordeal and ends up costing an arm and a leg. He just walks into a store, plucks a pair of 32-32 off the shelf and heads to the checkout. (Though there was the time I insisted he try on some skinny jeans. That was funny.)

    (Oops, he's correcting me. It's one SPECIFIC brand: Wranglers.)

  4. In terms of the 'grandma' part, remember that kids are stupid sometimes. When I asked a 7 year old student of mine how old she thought I was she said 13! Because she has no idea. Anything in double digits sounded old to her. And when my best friend did her first student teaching the class asked how old she was and when she told them "24" they laughed, and she had no idea if that was because they thought it sounded young or old to them. So ignore the dopey kid.

    And I have the opposite problem with clothes sizes because I am 5'10" and pants are too short and I end up in the men's department for shirts that almost fit and it's annoying. The muffin top thing is frustrating. I may have to give up and resort to spanx.

    Anyway, much sympathy. Clothes shopping (especially for jeans) is a modern circle of hell.

  5. I am two years younger than you and been accused of being my boys' grandmother on several occasions. But you know what, I take it in stride. In all honesty, I am old enough to be their grandmother. Not everyone at our ages can still handle the day to day mom duties. We are awesome.

  6. I am 50, and the only reason I color my hair is because my 12 year old daughter's friends have asked if I'm her grandmother. The walking-with-a-cane while I await my hip replacement doesn't help the image at all.

    However, I am 5'10". At least there IS a petites section in stores. Have you ever seen a "tall" section? No. And try being tall but not model-thin. It's impossible!

  7. If it makes you feel any better, I went to the mall to find a dress, fully prepared to spend my money, and came home with nothing. Everything was ugly. (Actually, the only dress I found that I liked, they only had my size in petite. Oh, the irony.) I ended up buying two dresses online.

  8. yes, being a tall woman is just as hard as being a short one (when it comes to clothes). Add in "plus-size" and it gets really frustrating. All plus-sized women are on the short and dumpy side, right? Don't even ask about tall, plus-size, and pregnant. That was just a disaster.

  9. Shopping? I hate shopping. I found a pair of #1 pants she left here. The tag says they are size 12 and they fit me, when other size 14 and 16 pants can be too tight.
    Dresses, I usually make them. I have one part way cut out that I was making for Easter, last year. ;)

  10. Could be worse.
    You could already be a grandma. Like I am at 43.
    That's what happens when you have a kid at 19.

  11. I wish all the online shops had stores at the mall. There are SO many beautiful dresses for women of all heights--but I WANT TO TRY THEM ON first, dag nabit!

    Sharon--I always love a chance to use my favorite movie line: "Could be worse--could be raining". (Young Frankenstein, natch.)

    Korinthia is correct--kids have NO IDEA how old anyone is. Is 18 old? Is their mom 93? Is their grandpa 30? Try to let that part go and spend your angst on the cruelties of menopause.

  12. Sing it, sister! 21 + 21 + 8 = 50. It's math. *sigh*

    If it makes you feel any better, I tried on every pair of shorts in Target, and none fit. They had my size and everything. Handy hint: if the zipper is shorter than four inches, they will not cover your butt crack. Don't ask about the front.

    And next time you're in the mall, try searching for the "tall" section. (See? It could be raining!)

    Hang in there...

  13. My waist left over a decade ago. I'm still in mourning.

  14. Honestly, you do NOT look like a grandma. I too mourn the lack of longer skirts. I know about the "maxi" trend, but these tend to sweep the floor. All I am asking is for my knees to be covered, but it seems that is impossible.

  15. I hear you. Loudly. And oh so clearly.

    I can help you with the legs thing though--I never wear anything below the knee because it chops my short legs off and is NOT flattering. My secret is Sally Hansen airbrush legs. I actually had a conversation with a guy last year on my 48th birthday--sparked by our shared birthday--wherein he said, "Well, you don't have the legs of a 48 year old! I decided to ignore the fact that perhaps the rest of me looked 48 and enjoyed the compliment.

  16. It's not you. It's the freaking clothes designed for mutant women who don't really represent the rest of us.
    And the petite department at any store is a consistent disappointment. Short does not mean fugly!!!

  17. Someone asked me if I was my husband's mom one day. Granted we were are the bar and it was dark and the guy was probably drunk but I'm still working my head around that one. He's almost 4 years old for God's sake!!

  18. That little boy in the tot lot had too much sun ... really. Anyway, where was HIS mom? See? You don't have anything to worry about.

  19. In my part of the country Sanger-Harris became Macy's and all was well until Macy's appeared to stop selling clothing that appealed to anyone under the age of 75. What's with that??? It's as though you have a choice to be 21 or you can have one food in the grave, but there is nothing out there which would appeal to anyone between the two extremes. So depressing.