numbers

My future sister-in-law (hi, Carrie!) really should have
known better. She knows my brother. She loves my brother. She lives with my
brother. Perhaps she was hoping that while my brother is this crazy, crazy-making crazy in a family of crazy do-it-tomorrow people, I would not break her heart. Perhaps she was hoping for the best.
Perhaps my pleasant demeanor and charming personality fooled her into thinking
I was not the biggest procrastinator in Procrastinator Town.
Where someday I will visit, but not right this second.

After the squee had died down when she asked
me to be her bridesmaid, it was time to talk turkey vis-à-vis dresses; namely, "the dresses have nothing to do with turkeys. They will be yellow. You
will be in one! They will be made by a seamstress." So she told me that I had to give my measurements
to the lady with the sewing machine in Brooklyn, ASAP. But she knew that I had weight-loss surgery, and would still be losing
weight and weight and weight by the time the wedding rolled around, so my ASAP
would be less ASAP. I could wait until practically May! But then I’d really,
really, really, totally and absolutely have to send them in, okay?

Okay! I said.


So practically May rolls around, and then it’s full-blown May, and I realize last week that, holy shit, accidentally I have not gotten measured for my bridesmaid
dress yet. And that is mostly because I am a person who makes extensive to-do
lists–in many colors, with tiny little boxes I have carefully hand-drawn at
the start of each item, cross-referenced with my calendar and double-checked
every morning–and then goes and takes a nap because the lists are 50 pages long
and hurt a lot and who has time to do all that shit? Communists, that’s who.
Because they don’t have anything much else to do, probably.

It was also totally practical. I mean, I am still losing
weight, almost every day. Jeans that were snug two weeks ago fit last week and
are loose this week. I am out of pants, in fact, and have moved on to my
wardrobe of skirts, and unearthing dresses I have never fit into from the
bottom depths of my closet where the mole people lurk and want to eat my face
off. If I am dropping a size every month, isn’t it totally crazy to even bother
with dress sizes and numbers and fittings? Won’t that mean I get a dress that fits me in no way at all? I mean, the bridal party will look awesome next to the girl in the sack, but I think that would make me sad. You get it tailored, Carrie said. Take it in!

Oh! I said. And here is a secret: Some small, dim,
developmentally disabled part of me that gnaws on its feet and enjoys gumming
soggy graham crackers and should be in a state-sponsored facility in which I
will be taught to finger paint and go potty all by myself, really really
thought that I would be getting it tailored every week. Like, I’d get the
dress, and bring it in. And they’d go, "Okay! We have fixed it!" And I’d come back
and try it on, and it would be too big. And they’d say, "Okay! We will fix it
again!" And I’d come back and try it on, and it would be an infinite loop of
infinite tailoring. Like Sisyphus, only with pinking shears.

It did not actually occur to me to maybe get the dress
tailored, for instance, a week or so before the actual wedding, you know, so as
to minimize the infinite jest, and because that is actually the smart, right
and correct thing to do, instead of doing the wrong, weird and insane thing.
Weight-loss surgery affects your mind, you know. That is a true fact. Vitamins.
Memory loss. Madness. Laziness, slowness, putting things off.

But it wasn’t all putting it off because I am out of my
mind–it was also, really, because I was not ready to see what size I am, or
what shape my body is, for some reason. That sounded entirely too concrete to
me, these numbers. It felt like locking things into place, when all I have
wanted, this entire time, is to just wake up and find everything finished, and
not to have had to go through all the interim steps, where everything is hard,
and going too fast, and going too slowly, and I can’t figure out what I look
like, exactly. I still can’t nail down how much space I take up in the world,
and I’m startled every time I fit somewhere, or fit into something, whether
it’s a dress or a seat on the bus, or a crowd of ordinary-looking people.

It
seems to me a measuring tape cuts right through that uncertainty, and while it is difficult figuring out what the fuck, exactly, is
going on with my body, it is sometimes easy and comforting to just let it go
and not think about it, and be happy just drifting along and waiting for the
finish line. But there is only so long I can let my craziness get in the way of
someone else’s wedding (sorry, Carrie!) and so I went to the tailor on Geary, and
I climbed the stairs, and waited around nervously for them to tell me that none
of their measuring tapes would fit around my waist and that I should get out.

Somehow, that didn’t happen. A tiny Russian man looked me up
and down and said, "Five dollars." And didn’t tell me to get
undressed, which was a relief. He fitted the measuring tape around my bosoms,
and yanked a couple of times and waved at the piece of paper he had sitting on
the counter. "Forty-four," he said. "What?" I said.
"Oh! I write it down!" I wrote it down. He was so horrified by the
size of my bosoms that he could not bring himself to note it down on paper. He
moved down next to my waist, smoothing down my shirt, which was kind of big on
me, and cinched in the tape. He loosened it, cinched it again, and said,
"Oh! So small!" and I almost burst into tears. Guy, watching in the
chairs across from us, gave me an "awwww yeah" thumbs up.

"Wait until you get to my ass," I said. "Oh
no no," he said. "Proportionate. It’s good, eh?" And he had me write
down my waist, 35", and my hips, 49", and he took all the other
measurements and Guy got up to note them down, and I kept craning over his
shoulder to look at the numbers again.

They seem like good numbers, I think. Pretty decent numbers?
I like the numbers. I think I do. I don’t know anything about the numbers, as
it turns out. They are pretty meaningless, to me. They’ve done not a whole lot
to convince me of–anything. I don’t know what I expected to be convinced of.

  3 comments for “numbers

  1. Deirdre
    May 21, 2007 at 5:34 pm

    For what it’s worth, your waist:hip ratio is .71. That’s really good from both health and beauty stand points. I wish mine were as good.

  2. May 21, 2007 at 8:17 pm

    Girl, you are going to rule the world in that dress.

  3. May 23, 2007 at 12:09 pm

    “So small!”

    How awesome is that?

    (Also, I am now going to be a maid of honor at a September wedding. And I’m already freaking out about how to make the dress fit. I think I need to learn how to sew so I can do my own day of alterations if need be)

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