Sunday, October 22, 2006

The Pants Rant

Now, here at the Pond, the Invisible Friends don't want to hear about clothes. They've made it very clear that they would prefer to discuss the Water Cooler Ants, flowers and the ever popular butterflies. However, rather than discuss and embarrass the male Invisible Friends by talking about how the bra industry is out to screw me by making torture devices I either fall out of or fall into, we're going to talk about pants.

"Pants?" the Invisible Friends groan. "We don't want to hear about your issues with pants. Unless you sat in something? Did your pants get paint all over them? Did you get glued to a chair? Is it interesting in any way?"

Unfortunately, this is a rant about pants. Particularly, a rant about the pants at Express. When I was in high school, Express sold decent, non-skank clothing. Button down shirts, cute lacy tops, and normal fitting pants were the norm. I lived at Express. My college sophomore year, they morphed into a clothing line that catered to the wanna-be-heroin-addict-twenty-something-that-goes-clubbing-every-night-and-is-a-waiter-during-the-day-but-really-they're an-actress person. Clothes were slit, shirts became long and tight and necklines began to waver all over the body. The only people who look good in this clothing are either hot dogs, or really really skinny people. If you have hips or a chest, just buy a paper bag. Otherwise, you'll look like a hot dog stuffed into a green polyester wrapper.

My mother had bought me some pants in college, when I was a freshmen and two sizes larger. I had a gorgeous pair of khakis with the tags still on them. This afternoon, I returned them to Express. I told the openly gay clerk that I just wanted to exchange them from a smaller pair. Terrified I would touch his perfectly lined up piles, which he was using a ruler to measure, he handed me a size six. I scurried off to the dressing room.

Normally, I wear anything from a 4 to an 8, depending on the store. I'm normally a size 6. I assumed I would try the pants, twirl around, and be out of the store and off to the grocery store in mere minutes. Was I ever wrong.

The size 6 khaki stretch pants were skin tight. Painted on. If I ate a dorito, you would be able to see it. It would stick out of my butt, telling the whole world, "Oh my God! She ate a dorito! Look at me! She ate a dorito!"

"Is she done yet?" the Invisible Friends yawn. "Does she fart noisely at least?"

Peeling off the pants, I emerge and ask the hovering clerk to get me another pair of pants. The way he gently caresses the pants as he hands them to me makes me a bit nervous.

Back in the dressing room, I pull on the pants. These are an inch too big around the waist and baggy in the hips and crotch area. This is not making sense. The other pants are so tight in the hips, crotch and thighs they could easily be mistaken as pantyhose.

I emerge in the pants to examine the three way mirror, trying to convince myself they'll look decent with heels. At this point, I was so distressed by the idea of having to come back to the mall I was willing to do anything. Then the dressing room girl pounced on me.

"OOOOH!" she squealed, coming over. I looked around, praying she was squealing over someone else. "Those are too big! You need a smaller size."


I explained my situation and I was simply between sizes. "Put on the six," she instructed. I changed and came back out.

"They're too tight," I said, rubbing my thighs. I looked in the mirror. My phone book butt now looked like a bubble butt, and you could see the pattern of my underwear. These were definitely not work pants.

"Do you have any other styles?" I asked.

"Not in that fabric," she said, eyeing my figure. "Try these." She pulled out some wool trousers. I pulled them on. Not only did they itch, but I now looked like a Barbie doll. You could see every dimple and line in my skin.

After a convention of three salespeople (two gay) and the unsolicited advice from curious watchers, I pulled my lounge pants back on. I handed the pants back to the disappointed sales girl. My eyes were filling up with tears and my voice was catching. I was so frustrated that I wanted to rip the pants in two.

"Did these not work out?" she asked.

"No," I said. And with that, I sailed out of the store. The mall was swimming with people, making me more angry by the second. I began to watch legs, and everybody had pants! Some were a bit tight, some were a bit looks, but no one looked like they were painted on. I could not believe I lost control and was in tears over a pair of pants. I couldn't tell what frustrated me more- the fact I now had a $100 credit to a store that was rarely carrying anything I liked, that all the other stores were carrying very expensive but gorgeous pants, or now that I was going to have to brave the chilly week with three pairs of black pants. All I wanted was some variety.

The worst part of it all is, I have to go back next weekend. For I desperately need bras and work clothes of any kind, which makes the mall seem much worse. I'm just so frustrated I can't find a simple pair of khakis and dress pants that don't make me look hippy or like I'm drowning in fabric. I just need bootcut khaki and grey pants that look elegant, some nice skirts and shirts that aren't t-shirts. All without being long for hot-dog people and so loose or tight that I just look normal. Is that so much to ask? When did shopping become such a chore?

But I still think that this is all a conspiracy of the designers for the skinny people without hips and boobs. Mannequins, perhaps?

And for the Invisible Friends who have now turned this off because they're bored- I did fart so bad I stunk Ben out the other day. There.