Friday, February 24, 2006

Fitting Room War Story

Nothing brings out more anxiety in the “professional dieter” than trying on pants. I have come up with some mighty fine excuses to get over the trauma (if I do say so myself). Try this: "Clothing made in other countries fits differently; something about the translation of numbers from one language to another causes them to be too snug."

A mind that can twist reality into such a distorted path obviously has issues. I mean my head knows my waist is 34 inches; it's just that I fear overnight I ballooned to 107 and everyone has noticed but me.

Therefore, nervously, I cross the threshold of the fitting room. The white, plastic, dangling security tag on the trousers announces a deafening "ding-dong" that reverberates through the store drawing unwanted attention. I am convinced I hear a woman comment, "Poor misguided fool. Those will never fit. He’s obviously a 38."

With consternation, I slide into the slacks. There were many days when passage to my waist was blocked at thigh level. Today will not be one of those bleak moments. Inhaling deeply, I prepare for the acid test. Sweaty fingers feverishly working the button, I raise my belly and reach to fasten it - in vain! Panic explodes! “I have gained weight!” Gulping deeper, I lift so much of my stomach that my chest sticks out. I cannot see my waist; I must use touch to guide the fastener to its rightful target a second time. Again, the results are the same.

Vanquished and defeated, I remove the pants to inspect them. Hoping against hope that they were wrongly sized to 24, I find relief. The buttonhole was sewn shut, a nasty practical joke inviting heart attacks in those less observant.

I replace the slacks, inhale, slide the button into place, and release my stomach. I can breath – good sign. No embarrassing "riipppp" coming from my hindquarters when I sit. The pants have exceeded minimum standards.

While heading for the cashier, I go by the shirts and pause, deciding about whether to try one on. The wiser path would be to face that battle another day. Today, I shall savor the sweet taste of victory.

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