I was having lunch today with my aged mother and my blissful sister Twig.
Mom was objecting to the noise level in the restaurant by pretending she couldn’t speak any louder than a whisper, which was exhausting me. Twig was eating roasted heirloom carrots and a cauliflower appetizer because being healthy is second nature to her; she’s terrifying.
After lunch, Twig asked if Mom and I would mind popping across the street to check out the store “South Moon Under.”
“Sometimes they have cute things.”
Mom and I were agreeable. I’ve been shopping in “regular” stores of late; by moving from size 2X clothes to regular old XL, my shopping options have expanded, and I’m trying to get over the fact that I shy away from many retail establishments like a dog that’s been smacked. I’ve never been in South Moon Under; maybe they, too, will have something that I might like.
Really, when you risk the emotion, going clothes shopping CAN be kind of exciting.
So off we went, moving slowly enough for Mom. (She had a third of a lung removed some 20 years ago and sometimes she finds she’s out of breath on chilly days when she has to walk too far. She’s a million years old, after all, and still up and strutting – a slow amble across the road doesn’t seem too much to ask.)
The clothes in the window looked… suspect. Or, put another way, they looked tiny. Like clothing for women who hadn’t long since left girlhood behind and who are very interested in displaying the maximum skin available.
I can’t help it; years of pressing my nose mournfully to the glass of places like this have made me instinctively regard the salesladies inside as The Enemy. I just KNOW they’re thinking, as soon as I walk in, “Oh, we don’t have anything to fit YOU, honey. Layne Bryant is just down the street; why don’t you waddle along?”
But I’m braver now. There is less of me. I can wear XLs. So I followed my tiny-butted sister and my aged mother into the store. If they could go, I could go, too.
Short story made long – the windows weren’t lying. The store had nothing larger than a “large,” and they looked like very small larges at that. And the clothes were… cute. Made of soft fabrics and cut to display the bounty of dewy mammary glands. I knew quickly that there was nothing here for me, but I wandered with a discriminating air, as if I was willing to be tempted into an impromptu purchase of a pair of shorts so tiny even the elfin saleslady said they looked like they were from Baby Gap.
And then? I should have seen it coming.
My mother – my MOTHER – decided she liked several bathing suits. So she tried them on. The salesladies all gathered around to coo at her. She bought two of the suits – high-cut thighs, strappy backs, no shoulder straps. She looked great, and SHE dared to come out of the dressing room, with her underwear sticking out, and walk around to gather opinions.
It’s not that I begrudge my mother a bathing suit. It’s that … well, I guess it’s that I’m still feeling like a major outsider who shouldn’t be allowed into such places. I look good, my posture is excellent, I have stomach muscles to spare. But I’m not normal. Not yet.
This is not the bathing suit my mother bought, but it is on the home page of South Moon Down. I thought you’d like to see it. Women CAN be very pretty. (Pity party.)