Smaller Than You

Ah. Finally it’s the weekend! Well…my weekend anyway. My work week tends to run Wednesday through Sunday. Often I spend my Mondays cleaning/organizing my bedroom/office, doing laundry and running errands but not today. I’m resolved to relax and write a little. I think I promised you a story.

Casually I’ve mentioned that one of my jobs is doing food demos on the weekend. Yes, that means I’m one of those ladies at the grocery store handing out samples. It ranges from painfully boring to incredibly enjoyable depending on how busy the store is, what I’m peddling and who I’m working with. Even when I’m so bored that I start doing subtle exercises (like standing heel raises) to make me feel like I’m not completely wasting my time, I appreciate having a reason to get out of my apartment and interact with people instead of a computer.

I was hired to work in a fancier Meijer that has higher expectations for their demos and has a little classier uniform (a white chef shirt and black pants). But I’ve spent most weekends subbing for another store where I have to wear a black button up and black apron with my black pants.

When I found out I’d be subbing for this store, I didn’t have a black shirt in my closet. Buying one seemed like a waste of money, so I asked my dad if I could just borrow one of his. Though months have passed and I’m still consistently subbing at this store, I’ve never bothered to buy my own shirt.

I was surprised when I first tried on my dad’s shirt by just how big it is on me. There are inches and inches of extra space. Tucked in and with the sleeves rolled up it looks passable, but obvious oversized. It’s an extra-large so I probably shouldn’t have been surprised. Mentally, I know that I’m far away from that size but once upon a time it would have fit me perfectly.

Back in middle school and high school, I actually used to wear a lot of men’s shirts. When I’d go to Salvation Army or Goodwill with my sisters, it was always easier to find a guy’s shirt I liked and that fit than to find a shirt for me in the women’s  section. Plus, men’s button up shirts tend to be nicer than women’s: better fabric, more durable, and perma press. Though it hasn’t had a place in my wardrobe for a while, men’s wear continues to have a special place in my heart.

Ever since I borrowed his shirt, I’ve been curious about what size I should be wearing in men’s. Another nice thing about men’s clothing is that it’s much more standardized than women’s. There isn’t that much of a size difference between brands. Women’s sizes are outrageously dissimilar. For example, in my closet right now I have sizes small through large that all fit. I fit into three different sizes of pants. I was curious to have a better gage of just how much I’ve shrunk over these last years and these last months since I got back on the weight loss bandwagon.

Saturday, after my shift, I made my way over to the men’s section and tried on some shirts. I thought maybe I was a medium now. No. I wear a size small. That feels like a big victory.

Maybe other women wouldn’t feel this way. For me, it means a lot. In high school, my friend Rob had once offered me his jacket on a freezing day when I’d left mine at home . Even though he was a big, bulking football player, and I wanted to accept it as we made the long trek out to his car, I turned him down because I was afraid it wouldn’t fit. Over the last six years, most of my guy friends have been…much less bulking. They wouldn’t have even been foolish enough to offer me their coat since it obviously wouldn’t have fit me.

Though I still outweigh most of my guy friends, it’s remarkable to know that I’m getting smaller than them. It’s an incredible thought to me that if I was ever offered one of their jackets, I wouldn’t have to turn it down out of fear it wouldn’t fit.

I still didn’t bother buying my own work shirt though. My theory with this job is that I should look nice enough that people stop but not so nice that they linger.

One thought on “Smaller Than You

  1. I really enjoyed this lovely story…and I think a lot of people can really relate to what you’re talking about here. I should tell you in detail sometime the story about my ‘long-schlong’ pants (excuse my vulgarity, and spelling?) – I’ll tell you in short version here: When I was in middle school my body was ‘awkward’ (or actually it was just like a girl’s adolescent body often looks) and my mom bought me some boy jeans from the Dollar Store (no use spending money on pants I would soon outgrow anyway). They were fine except for the long zipper in front (we all know what that’s for, right?) This guy in my class started a rumor that I had a penis (or rather a schlong) hiding under my pants. Yes, this really happened. Anyway, your story was a reminder that we never quite get over ourselves as bodies…our bodies are always a part of us and we are always our bodies. *by the way I wrote a much longer version of that story for one of my classes…I’ll have to let you read sometime because it’s probably never going on the blog*

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