Monday, September 22, 2008

Waisted: Jean-etic Disorders

Kathy joined Weight Watchers. Shut up. Because it apparently breaks some weight loss commandment to display even a scintilla of cynicism at meetings, Waisted is where she bitches about eating, not eating, oversharing weight watchers, and probably you.

It is arctic in my office. It is so cold I have to pack extra sweaters in my bag like I’m going to Girl Scout camp in Maine or something. It’s so cold I have to take walks at lunch to thaw my fingers (and scour SoHo for possible Lindsay Lohan sightings. She is my Bigfoot. She is my Loch Ness monster.). Last week I made the mistake of coming to work in a skirt and, by one in the afternoon, I was so cold I had to go out and purchase pants.

If Lindsay Lohan is my Bigfoot, pants have historically been my kryptonite. Meltdown inducing, muffin-top producing, ass-crack revealing, thigh-squeezing, Old Navy-procured kryptonite.

I know they’re just two tubes and a zipper, but pants are just as big a social identifier as your hair and I’ve been frustrated for more than a decade at having to wear jeans that say the wrong thing. When I was in high school, all I wanted were bell-bottoms (it was a very Woodstock ’95 impulse, and you can all suck it) and all I could fit into were men’s carpenter jeans from Old Navy. When I was in college all I wanted were cute vintage pants from the consignment shop downtown, and what I settled for was ordering pants online from American Eagle (extended sizes available via the internet only, because fatties should never be allowed to leave the basement) and, of course, Old Navy. And then I moved to New York and all I wanted was a goddamn pair of skinny jeans, but I ended up instead with pair after pair of crappy pants from--say it with me now--Old Navy.

I don’t actually have anything against Old Navy and, in fact, rather appreciate that they carry a whole lot of size options in their stores. It’s just that the Old Navy aesthetic, the Aubrey O’Day to the Gap’s Victoria Beckham, is extraordinarily not me and more than a little cheesy. It’s always been difficult to cobble together some kind of representative look when everything there either goes one step too far (inexplicable rhinestones, or a fun screen print of a sun and a beach or something) or else feels like stuff my mother would’ve made me wear when she still made us go to church on vacation.

So, I was freezing and I needed jeans and I walked straight to Old Navy without thinking. I was barely through the security sensors when I realized, holy shit, I didn’t have to shop there if I didn’t want to. I spun my ass around, walked out, and purchased a pair of jeans at H&M for $19.90, and yes they have terrible back pockets but they were on sale, and fit right, and confirmed my suspicion that I’d lost another inch in the waist.

I’ve lost 58.2 pounds since January and look different enough now that people who met me once before then don’t recognize me as the same person. People I know are, with growing frequency, passing me by on the street without recognizing me until I say their name. It’s hard to see the difference when I look in the mirror, but the little changes weird me out sufficiently: my hands look completely different and I lost more than a ring size; my shoes fit differently; my mom’s middle school charm bracelet fastens all of a sudden; I can’t immediately identify which figure is me when I’m walking with a crowd past our reflections in a window. Weirder still, I’ve noticed people feel comfortable making fat jokes about other people in front of me, which used to happen very rarely. I mean, yay, I’ve partially shrunk out of the demographic you’re shit-talking, but emotionally, I’m a big-ass fatty fatso fat girl 4 LYFE, ya herrd?

But what do you do? I don’t know, I’m still figuring it out. Sometimes you just put on your small pants and they dye your legs blue because they’re brand new, and you talk to boys even if it’s completely pointless, and you get vaguely Diablo Cody-esque bro tattoos in a kitchen in Bed-Stuy, and you count your whiskey points dutifully, and you just keep going and hope anything makes sense when you get there.


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