Guy wants me to tell you this, before I start the story: He is not fashionable. He
does not like clothes, or care about clothes, and really, he only wears clothes
because he was arrested that one time, and it chafed. Guy wanted me to list all of his fashion faux pas, which he
cheerfully enumerated for me on his fingers, which include the following:
t-shirts with holes, white socks, white socks with dress pants, not knowing he
needed a brown belt and brown shoes and not
white socks with his beige suit, tapered jeans (before I burned them),
too-short jeans (before I burned them), acid-washed jeans (before I jumped up
and down on them, tore them to pieces, and then burned them), and a list of
myriad and various other fashion terrors too terrible to terrorize you with.
I think he dresses fine; he is a jeans and t-shirt kind of
guy, and now that they are cool t-shirts without holes and dark-washed jeans,
he is especially cute. But that is kind of the point, really, of this anecdote:
that he is a jeans and t-shirt guy who never cared about clothes, and still
does not, and never will, who tells me I look nice all the time, but will never
actually notice an outfit that I am wearing. Until this weekend, when he saw me
wear the same shirt and pants, same shirt and pants, giant shirt and giant
pants, giant shirt and giant skirt, same shirt from before. He turned to me
last night at the bar, where I was wearing the Same Shirt, and he said "Honey.
You really, really have to get yourself some clothes."
I really, really fucking do. Today, I am wearing an
ankle-length leopard print skirt that I have been hauling from place to place,
city to city, for the past sixteen years.
I bought this skirt at Lane Bryant, when I was a stupid goth kid wearing stupid
goth clothes and I thought it was the coolest, cutest thing you had ever seen
in your life. It has fit me and not fit me over and over again for over a
decade. It was cutest when it was a clingy kind of pencil skirt, but now it is
this hanging column of fabric in which I look a little bit like an insane PTA
mom, trying to hang desperately on to her youth.
It also doesn’t really fit me at all–it’s sitting around my
hips, and it sort of spins around as I walk. The slit-to-the-knee is at the
front with my first step; two steps later, it’s down the left side. Three steps
later, it’s slit to the knee in the back, and here it comes around again to my
right side! I am like a tiny little leopard print parade in this skirt.
The shirt makes it even more festive; I’ve no idea where I
got this thing. All I know is it appeared in my closet, and it is isn’t twelve
sizes too big for me, and so I am wearing it. Despite the fact that it says
"Hugs and Kisses." And it has got little skulls and crossbones. Which
I have just realized are glittery. Glittery skulls and glittery crossbones. I
am precious. I kind of want to die.
This isn’t exactly how I envisioned it. What I envisioned,
when I was able to envision anything at all about how I would look and how I
would change and be different and my body would transform, was a series of
increasingly awesome outfits with every pound I dropped. I pictured the coats
and the shoes and the trousers and the blouses–I pictured a lot of blouses–and
the dresses. I had fantasies about the spectacular spectacular I would make, in
the wardrobe of beautiful dresses that I would suddenly have and be fabulous
Now that I realized don’t really care if my arms are not
perfectly toned and that I like showing skin, the fantasy opened up even
further to encompass sleeveless sundresses and halter tops and spaghetti straps
and–things! Things I never would have worn before! Magical, beautiful things in
fabulous colors, with whirling lights and whirligigs and maybe a musical
I dressed well as a fat chick, and I liked clothes immensely,
and I liked to look good and cute and sexy and awesome and have people ask me
where I got that shirt or those shoes and they did and it was always very cool
and made me feel so fancy. But I’ve always had this sense that there was this
whole spectacular world of clothing outside the plus size zone, where every day
was a Festival of Fashion. I think I was imagining marabou feathers and fur
miniskirts and sequins and maybe a parade of stilettos and g-strings. Where is
my parade of stilettos and g-strings?
I will tell you where they are. When I did all my
envisioning, in these scenarios inside my crazy head which you will rightly
call slightly broken, I was not–shockingly!–entirely, smashingly,
astonishingly, desperately and tragically broke. My fantasies somehow always
involved actually having, you know, money to buy these things. No, okay, what I
was hoping for was that my new sexy outfits would appear as if by a miracle. Or
because I am so cool.
Guy brings me dishwashing detergent and cat food, but I
can’t say "honey, please, could you maybe bring me a pair of darling Capri
pants and maybe a snug wool coat that belts at the waist?" I can’t even
thrift, because I am so broke, and I am busy feeling sorry for myself and
living on cans of tuna. I don’t even care about living on cans of tuna. Tuna’s
fine! A handful of soy nuts for dinner, I’ll live! Whatever! But fucking
Christ, I am tired of standing in my closet and deciding between two shirts or
a mumu. Please don’t make me have to wear a trench coat and sneakers to work
tomorrow. It burns.