Short Stories From 10 Years Ago – October 27, 2004
Short Stories From 10 Years Ago – October 27, 2004– There was a time when the thought of spending time shopping with a friend, having lunch and then shopping some more, sent little tingles of joy surging through my size 10 body. Most things that I tried on fit – I wore size 28 slim boot jeans, looked great in a fitted blazer and could wear cropped sweaters and figure hugging tee shirts. I was in my mid-forties. I was still a babe to be reckoned with – this much I knew!
Then I went through menopause. Boom – done! I know why no one tells you what “the change of life” is really like. Doctors don’t want a slew of their patients demanding drugs to shore up their moods in anticipation of menopause. If you happened to have a male doctor he probably reasons, “it can’t be all that bad”. What no one tells you is that it is going to forever ruin retail therapy for you, as you add weight, lose muscle tone, find your hair less luxurious and stand in your bathroom mirror fantasizing about a face lift, tummy tuck, boob lift, botox and calf implants.
In spite of the fact that nothing fits me any more and that I reluctantly scour the elastic waist racks when I do happen to be in a clothing store, there does come a time when I have to buy some new duds and a pair or two of new shoes. Today was one of those days, so after having lunch with my friend Rachael, I zipped up the Don Valley Parkway to Fairview Mall. I had two destinations in mind – The Bay for black slacks and Danier Leather for a new leather blazer. Any other little gems that caught my eye might also find their way into my shopping cart.
I started at The Bay and wandered aimlessly through the racks of little people clothes, until I came to the big woman section, where I thought elastic waist pants might be lurking. I looked for size 12 and 14. In the dressing room I tried on camel, grey, taupe, charcoal and black slacks. Only one pair fit – a smart black size 12 polyester blend that can be machine washed and hung to dry – important to menopausal women. Running off to the dry cleaners with natural fabrics just doesn’t appeal to me anymore. Round one was over and it had just taken an hour.
Next stop – Danier – a coat and jacket sale in progress. How very excellent. I have been a Danier customer for fifteen years. I used to wear their straight cut leather pants, slim pencil skirts and cropped leather jackets. Not any more. Today I just asked to see everything in large that might possibly fit a woman with hips. The sales clerk smiled and asked me to follow her to the back of the store. I didn’t take this as a good sign, all the cute stuff was by the front door. I trudged down the length of the floor and stopped beside the helpful woman who was a size two.
She was holding up an electric blue, fitted jacket in “extra large”. I smiled weakly and put it on. I looked like Flipper. Next came a lovely red leather jacket with slash pockets and a zipper front – it wouldn’t close over my magnificent breasts, so I sucked in my stomach, stood up to my full height and zipped that sucker shut right over my pancaked and protesting cleavage. My hips ballooned out beneath the bottom of the jacket and I looked a bit like a ship’s anchor.
I shrugged my shoulders at the lovely tidbit of a woman assisting me in this seemingly hopeless task and suggested that we keep going. Next came a short, zip front black jacket with a stand up collar. Good grief – it fit. Sleeves a bit too long but that was fixable. Nothing was stopping me, now that I’d had my first taste of success. An hour later I left with two jackets, altered to suit me, both capable of closing over my now generous hips and each a statement in middle-age cool, or so I liked to think.
I wasn’t finished yet. I dislike shopping so much now that I wanted to get it over with in an afternoon. I still had shoes and lingerie to go. Naturalizer coughed up three pairs of sensible, yet stylish, black pumps and a quick return trip to The Bay yielded Jockey French cut undies. I was done. That should wrap up my shopping requirements for the next couple of years.
Thankfully I have enough good, classic clothes that these additions will get me through the winter season in fine style. As I walked out of the mall I watched the young women, finished with their work day, stream into the store for an evening of shopping with their friends. I, on the other hand, couldn’t wait to get into my car to drive home. It’s funny how our priorities shift as we get older. I’m glad that I was once a retail goddess, but times change. Now I’m happy to have a coffee with a brandy chaser, and surrender shopping mania to women half my age.
P.S. – October 2014 – my days of leather buying are long gone – I know too much now about animal abuse. All my purchases are cruelty free. My health is excellent – I’m used to my middle-aged body – comfortable with myself and amazed at the woman I have become!