Tuesday, April 8, 2008

The Great Dress Hunt

Yesterday Laura, Heidi and I drove down to Petaluma for Laura's wedding dress fitting. Afterwards the plan was to continue driving South 101 to the Corte Madera mall. Where potentially all things are possible:

Cure for cancer.
A form of cheap, non-oil based fuel for our cars.
Maybe even finding a Matron of Honor and Mother of the Bride dress less than two months before my daughter's wedding.

The wedding dress fitting went beautifully; yes there are some corrections to be made but the bustling and the hemline looked gorgeous. I even teared up a bit at the sight of my little girl in her fabulous dress. She's so beautiful; I cannot WAIT until everyone gets to see her on the Big Day!

Then it was off to the Corte Madera mall. One of those malls where Shopping is a Religion. A Way of Life. Fountains and flowers and expensive looking shops. Obviously you're there to have a good time. Money? Pah! It's only plastic, spend it! A plethora of fashionably thin women were browsing the shops or sitting on cute little benches chatting with their friends, all wearing fashionably bug-eyed sunglasses paired with requisite overly large purses worth hundreds of dollars slung fashionably yet casually over one bony shoulder.

Now, Laura and Heidi are naturally beautiful young women and looked lovely in this beautiful setting. However, I couldn't help but compare myself to the other women I saw in my age group. Immediately I felt frumpy. I don't have a fashionably sculpted body, whether through surgery or pilates, so I cannot wear fashionably sculpted clothes made for such uber-perfect bodies. Plus, what had seemed to be okay attire for a Santa Rosa mall shopping spree; my black skirt, low-heeled black pumps and long-sleeved green top with the Neru collar, seemed dreadfully out of place in this rarefied setting.

I felt like a dinosaur. Dressed in clothes from (*gasp*) a year ago. Maybe more. Frumpy McFrumperson.

Trying to stop comparing myself with the women who clearly are in a completely different zip code than I am financially speaking and in every other way, I concentrated on why we were there and it wasn't to compare myself to other people. As we pushed through the doors to Nordstrom's, Laura announced, "Today we are finding you a dress!"

Damn straight we are, I thought to myself. Surely, in this Shopping Center for the Gods, this heavenly store equipped with a baby grand piano and a live piano player playing it rather than subject their sensitive customers to icky canned music, surely in a place like this, they will have oodles of dresses, dresses galore! It's spring, for god's sake; they'll have dresses on the floor, on the ceiling, dresses scattered EVERYWHERE and in all the colors of the rainbow!



To our dismay this wasn't the case. Nordstrom's, what I've always thought of as a veritable women's Mecca of fashion, had approximately three whole dresses that came anywhere close to the styles we needed stuck way in the back. Heidi found a beautiful dress out of the three in yellow and tried it on while Laura and I browsed the paltry collection of dresses left that might possibly fit me.

Laura thought perhaps a pink/rose chiffon dress we saw might look good and, on the hangar at least, I thought it might work out well too.

So I tried it on.

Mistake. Big, big mistake. See, I have decided that my stomach, which has begun to stick out most alarmingly these last few years, is really a giant fibroid. I have dubbed my fibroid friend "Ami", after that chick from Survivor I cannot stand.

Ami makes finding clothes that fit me rather difficult.

Ami actually makes me look pregnant. Rather incongruous at 52 years of age.

I hate Ami.

Pulling the dress over my head, I looked in the mirror and found to my horror that I'd morphed into a disheveled, rose-colored lump with pasty white arms and legs. My skin washed out so much that the dark circles under my eyes made me look like Frankenstein. And Ami, the little snot, made her presence known by bulging out in that rude, pushy way she has.

"Hi, I'm AMI! Remember me? Mwha-ha-ha-ha!"

Hurriedly ripping off the dress before the mirror shattered itself in seppuku-like protest, I scrambled back into my black skirt and green top which, if not fashionable, at least erased the image of that Pink Easter Egg Monstrosity I had just witnessed.

"Come out and let me see," Laura called through the door.

Oh no; no no no. Not on your life, not ever. shudder, shudder.

Putting the now-hideous dress back on the rack, we left Nordstrom's and thought we'd peruse through the rest of the mall, making our way down to Macy's on the other end. Right away I realized my shoe selection that morning had not been the best decision I'd ever made because my feet, unused to heels these days, began howling with pain. As I painfully limped ambled along with Laura and Heidi, checking out the stores and customers in them, I kept catching brief glimpses of myself reflected in the store windows. As always, I was shocked at how different I look in store windows than I think I look in my mind. Who was that chunky looking woman? Surely not me! Alas, it was me because there was Laura and Heidi also reflected walking next to me, albeit slender and not roly-poly.

As we continued down the beautiful mall with all the beautiful people and the even more beautiful sales clerks, I could feel myself expanding wider and wider as we passed an endless stream of slinky, stylish, skinny women; all wearing outrageously large sunglasses and enormous purses.

My sunglasses shrank to microscopic size in comparison and my purse, which I used to think was large enough and stylish enough by today's standards, turned into a tiny clutch-bag. By the time we reached Macy's, my body had ballooned up into a Giant Weeble Woman. Instead of walking, I was now waddling back and forth in my Weebleness, careening past terrified customers who plastered themselves against the walls lest they get trampled, tottering pathetically on my low-heeled shoes which now felt like knives stabbing into my bleeding stumps feet.

In fact, I had become so massively bloated by this point that I had to stand sideways just so I could fit on the escalator.

I had become a freak of nature; a Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade Balloon on the loose. Right there in Macy's.

The Macy's dress collection was no better than Nordstrom's so, finally getting the hint that our Great Dress Hunt in the super-duper, richy-mc-rich-rich mall had turned into a bust, we trudged back to Heidi's car and came back home again.

The closer we got to Santa Rosa, the more my Weeble body shrunk until by the time we reached Monti's Restaurant, I felt myself again and not the Fat Woman at the Circus I had been in Marin County. Ami had once again been banished to the back recesses of my ego where she usually resides, my sunglasses worked just fine, my purse was cute again and things didn't seem so bad anymore.

Taking a table outside in the sun, we ordered and devoured salads and fries.

We relaxed, we chatted and fussed over Bella, Heidi's sweet little pug-dogger. The shopping trip may have not been the best experience ever but the socialization afterwards was just awesome and I basked in the presence of two of my favorite people in the world.

Good to be home again.

Although I still need a dress.

If only I could leave Ami at home. For good.

But I'm afraid she won't go for that.

The bitch.


Laura said...

Oh my God so funny! One of the funnies pieces you've written. :)

Kela said...

I have to agree with Laura! Hysterical! Any woman would love this! Have you ever read any Alyssa Valdez-Rodrequez - she write like this and she is amazing. Many of her main characters are not stick figures, and but curvatious - possibley heavy women with a lot of wit! Your description of the mall reminds me A LOT of some scenes in her books!

With all that said - I feel the same why when I go into some stores, places that make you feel like that - I say - Aren't worth the pain and suffering! Shop somewhere where you are comfortable, and you'll find exactly what you need - without laying in the fetal position on the floor of the dressing room sobbing - which I often feel like doing when I'm shopping in stores aimed at stick figure 8 foot tall amazon women!!

I wish you nothing but happiness and good luck in the dress hunt, if you want to go out again - I'd be happy to come along with you... maybe you just need a change of scenery. (sp?)

I love you!
You are hysterical!

Much Love,