November 06, 2003


Yesterday I went jeans shopping; I'd bought two new pairs a month ago but the lower-rise one of the two (cut below the waist, not a true low-rise) is practically falling off my hips. So, though it's indulgent of me to buy a new pair already, I did. I loved those pants, loved the way they looked and the way they made me feel wearing them. And I wanted a replacement immediately.

The saleswoman at the Gap asked me what size. I gulped and said, "Um. Six?" There was this part of me that, I swear, was ready to say ten or even twelve. I was starting to bust out of size twelve by the end of June and yes, I've been losing weight, but I still think of myself as size ten. Because those were my skinny jeans for so long. But now, size six? Is that even possible? I thought when I said it, the saleswoman was going to snicker and say "Sure, delusional lady, whatever you say." But she was polite and handed me the pants.

I brought them into the dressing room, still convinced I was going to slip them on and find a huge gap where the button and button hole not only didn't meet, but refused to even wave at each other across the great divide of my tummy. They buttoned fine. I bought them. Tried them on again last night to make sure they still fit, that it wasn't a sort of clothing store fluke. Strangely, they still fit. I wore them today. They look fantastic. I'm still convinced it's some kind of mistake, that there'll turn out to be a recall on size sixes to the Santa Monica store, they were mislabelled, sewn wrong, there's been a huge error. Because me? In a size six?

I had a busy afternoon and evening, social and interesting. But all the while, there was this little voice in the back of my head, chattering away and saying just one thing, "size six, I'm a size six, I'm wearing a size six, look at me, I'm size six."

I know size doesn't matter, I know that. It's how you feel, how you look to yourself in the mirror, how comfortably clothes fit. And I don't think it makes sense to shoot for a clothing size as a goal because that may not be the right stopping point for you. I also don't think it makes sense to shoot for a specific number on the scale. You'll know by how you look, how it feels to be in your skin. I believe all that wholeheartedly. Nevertheless, it's a measure. And walking around in size six black jeans today felt like stepping through the looking glass into an alternate universe. I'm that which I thought I'd never be. And yet it's a waystation on this road. I'm not where I want to be yet. I don't know what size that will be, but I do know what I'll see in the mirror and I'm not there yet. Hell, I'm still not quite in Weight Watcher's healthy BMI range yet. But hey, I'm a size six.

Posted by Tamar at November 6, 2003 10:37 PM

But have you tried other stores? Other brands of jeans? That's what really kills me about women's clothes - there's no standard about what a "6" means from store to store! And comparing today's 6 to a 6 from several decades ago shows a rather vast difference in the measurements. Why can't women's clothes just go by actual inches, like men's do? Are we really such delicate creatures that we couldn't 'fess up and ask for a "26 waist" or a "38 hip" or (my personal favorite) "at least a 31 inseam?" At least then we could shop in relative confidence from one store - or one catalogue - to the next.

Sorry - don't mean to vent on this and crush your high. I think it's awesome that you were psyched about the new jeans and size and that you understand it's not all about the numbers. Congrats on this!

But I'm also curious/concerned when you say you're not done yet. What are you aiming for? You've already dropped half a size, right? Lots of women would gnash their teeth in envy to fit into a 6 but you claim you're not satisfied. What, exactly, are your personal goals? What are your criteria?

I know these are rather prying questions, so feel free to tell me to f*** off if you don't want to answer! It's just that weight/food/body image are issues with which I constantly struggle, and I'm always curious to know how other women deal with these battles and how they see themselves in their bodies.

Posted by: jms at November 7, 2003 09:30 AM