Sunday, September 18, 2005

Retail therapy

I spent Friday morning strolling through the mall, fingering the displays of crisp cotton button-down Oxford shirts and polyester blazers. I coveted the perfectly matched necklaces, dripping with amber and chocolate beads. With the promise of a real paycheck coming in weeks, I decided to celebrate my re-entry into the work world with a new outfit.

In my head, I imagined me juggling 15 different projects, holding a phone in one hand while signing an invoice with the other. Across my desk would be binders filled with project requirements, content decks and tacked to every square inch of my cubicle walls are gant charts detailing precisely when the creative would be approved and when the development would begin. And I would so look the part of pure professionalism: trendy tortoise shell glasses balanced on the tip of my nose, my freshly cut, newly dyed coffee-colored hair perfectly in place and my yoga toned body draped in a smart cream colored sweater set with charcoal herringbone wool pants.

With an exasperated sigh from a young mother struggling with her temperamental toddler, "Nooooo! I want chicken nuggets! Nooooooo!", I was heralded back into reality.

I grabbed the turquoise wrap sweater, the brown and cream paisley skirt and the three pairs of dress pants and took them into the unattended dressing room. In the reflection of the full length mirrors I was reminded that my hair sprung into unmanageable frizz with the impending threat of showers this afternoon, and my tank top kept riding up my body to reveal my belly roll exploding out over my jean skirt. Must. do. situps.

The sweater and skirt ensemble were fantastic, the blue accenting my tanned skin and showing enough cleavage to suggest an hourglass shape, yet still appropriate for the office. The skirt flared out enough to highlight my shapely hips but disguised my 'not ready for prime time' thighs. The military had camouflage fatigues, I had a-line skirts.

I took off the skirt, placed it on the 'Buy' clothes hook, and selected the smaller sized pants. The thinking that if I fit into these smaller sized pants, then the Weight Loss Fairy visited me as my reward for consuming Slim-Fast shake after another for the past 3 weeks. I put one leg in, and steadied myself against the white laminate walls while I stuffed in the other leg. The seams stretched across my thighs and with a big inhale I was able to zip up. Holding my breath I turned in the mirror to examine the calamity. Before I passed out from lack of oxygen, I pealed out of the pants and returned them to the 'No Fucking Way' clothes hook.

In defeat I tried the other pants; the one size larger pants. The zipper zipped comfortably and there was no pull of polyester across my crotch. The length was just the right height for a new pair of black heels and there was hardly any extra room in the waist. I craned my neck over my left shoulder to see the rear view in the mirror and I was satisfied. Yeah, these were my post-college size pants and yeah, I was much more comfortable in skirts nowadays, but these would also be my post-unemployment pants and that had a much more optimistic ring to it.

I happily added it to the 'Buy' rack, whipped out my credit card and strode confidently to the check out counter.

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