Excuse me. Which way are the dressing rooms?
This has to be one of my least favorite questions I get the pleasure of asking at least twice a month. I have recently come to the conclusion that last minute shopping trips are the worst kind out there. This kind of trip is not to be confused with what we call 'surprise' shopping trips either. Surprise shopping is a glorious thing.
Example: You have the day off and you find 50 extra bucks in your purse (cause that happens all the time..) Voila! Surprise shopping trip. Or it's your birthday and a loved one decides you deserve a new outfit on them--Once again, surprise shopping trip. Maybe you are in a store killing some time and find a fabulous dress that happens to be on sale. Only one problem--it's one size smaller than you are. Still, you decide to try the dress on because it screams I-promise-you-will-turn-heads-in-me! You try it on... It fits! You then strut up to the cash register while waving to strangers and blowing kisses to young children like you are Miss America. This is the absolute best kind of surprise shopping.
Surprise shopping trips are from Jesus. Praise The Lord for these all too rare gems.
Last minute shopping trips are kind of like that one friend you have. You know, the one that could give Debbie Downer a run for her money. The only thing she loves more than complaining is someone to complain to. She's hates your boyfriend, she wants to know why you didn't call her back last Friday (you tell her you were sick) and she really can't wait to tell you how you accidentally butt dialed her that night and she heard you partying like it's 1999 with your real friends. Like the last minute shopping trip, she is always available and ready to take you down.
They also like to pop up on your fancy days. Days where you woke up late, hungover, still wearing last night's makeup, had a breakout, didn't do your hair or, if it's an extra fancy day, all of the above. Throw in being well into your 2nd day of the curse all women are so lucky to be blessed with and you've got yourself the perfect recipe for this kind of trip.
Last minute shopping trips are from the Devil himself. And I'm pretty sure he partnered up with the evil Aunt Flow for this business endeavor. Assholes.
1. THE ATTENDANT. Consider this woman the gate keeper. Now that you have asked where this hellhole is, they reluctantly have to take you. While you stand there hugging a mound of clothes big enough for a family of Bulldogs to take a nice nap on, they ask you: How many items? Umm, 1,000. Yes, 1,000 items lady. And I am only hoping that one of them can provide moderate coverage and tone down my backside. Just let me in there. Ma'am, 1,000 items is too many. You can take 6 at a time. Six? Crap. It has been confirmed. This place really is Hades. Because it's going to take me three trips to find something. That's 6-6-6.
So you pick 6 and you head back to your doom. Before you enter the attendant looks at your heap of peplum dresses and all but says Good Luck. Then she kindly informs you that if you need a different size to just holler.
Oh yes. If this Medium makes me look like a pork sausage the first thing I want to do is let the whole room know I will be needing a Large this time around. Thanks but no thanks.
Don't get me wrong, I am not hating on dressing room attendants. It's a tough job and someone has got to do it. I'm just glad it's not me.
2. THE LIGHTING. Need I really say more? It's like a company called Cellulite decided to make flashlights and stores proceeded to hang them from the ceilings of their dressing rooms. Are you trying to get us not buy anything? Cause it's working.
3. THE CHILDREN. I think some mother's have confused the sign that says fitting room with the words day care. I'm almost positive the number of 4-year-old boys who have seen my bum is upwards of 50... and there is only one is my entire family. It never fails that in the midst of prying something off my body, a little head slides under and stares up at me. Then the little guy says something extremely obvious like Mommy she's naked! & my face then matches my frock.
Now that I think about it, keep bringing the children. I can hardly find time to shop without kids so it's definitely gotta be a challenge for you mamas. And they bring comedic relief to a dire situation.
Recently my sister (mom to 3 children under 4--yikes!) was in a busy dressing room with her 4-year-old son on a last minute shopping trip. When she pulled down her shorts to try something on, my inside voice impaired nephew announced,"Ewww Mom! Your butthole is eating your underwear!" Yep. He didn't just say 'butt'. He went for the real thing. Needless to say, the entire JC Penny Ladies room had a good laugh, my sister had an interesting walk to the car and my nephew learned the definition of a thong.
4. THE DUMB SIGNS. There are two hooks in the dressing room. The first one usually says something along the lines of Yes! It's a keeper! Which translates to: I know your starving but it's working! The second sign reads Hmm.. Maybe? Which most definitely translates to: Absolutely not. You look like a frumpopotamus. And what could be sexier than a frumpy hippo?
5. THE MIRROR. This is the eye of the Devil's nonexistent soul. It is a microscope disguised as a mirror and it wants to show you ALL the details. And let me go ahead and just confirm your worst fear: It is indeed a two way mirror and all of your worst enemies are eating celery sticks and enjoying the show.
So there they are. Evidence that you can be sure to go down in flames on a last minute trip. But wait! Good always prevails over evil, right? It surely can.
I had one of these awful trips recently. My hair was in a half bun, my complexion was washed out and I had just gotten off an exceptionally crap-filled serving shift. (See Not Just a Waitress for those fun details.) As I plopped down my mound of slimming black dresses, I stopped myself and made a decision. This trip was going to be different.
I turned my back to the mirror, closed my eyes and took a deep breath. I imagined the mirror behind me and me in front of it. In my mind, words of kindness began to trace themselves on the mirror. Scrawls of You ARE beautiful, Love THIS body, Just BREATHE & Don't be SO hard on yourself began to appear on the reflection behind me. The Devil was the one to go down.
What I initially was forgetting was that it was OK that I didn't look my best. That should never lessen my self worth. How I revere myself can not be physically harmed therefore it should not be determined by the physical. Yes, it had been a long day but guess who carried me through it? This body. The same body I came in ready to berate when it deserved a celebration.
I didn't end up finding anything. It really was just 'one of those days'.
Maybe that's not the happy ending you were looking for, but I didn't leave feeling defeated. Because before I turned to face the mirror, I had already made my mind up. I had already accepted victory. And I didn't need to see the scoreboard to be sure of this win.