I was shopping today with my mom. Actually, she was shopping, I was her personal shopper, flipping skirts and sweaters over the dressing-room door. "Here, try this." "Here, try this."
Mom is 65, the hippest 65-year-old you'll ever meet. Her style isn't Talbots and her style isn't "trying too hard." She just always looks great. No applique sweatshirts for this senior. No way.
Today, as I was wandering around Christopher & Banks
grabbing items for mom, I saw someone nearly as tall as me.
I'm tall, if I've never mentioned. 6'3". So if I walk into any store in any mall, I'm pretty well assured that nothing is going to be long enough. My fellow tall friend wasn't shopping for herself either. She was pushing a friend in a wheelchair.
She was also rather thin. Not swizzle-stick thin, but pleasantly thin. Trim. Fit. Healthy.
As we were both waiting outside the dressing rooms, I approached her.
"Do you mind if I ask what size you are?" I asked.
I clearly caught her off guard. "What size? Well," she said, her hands moving to the front of her khakis, "I just bought these. They're a 10."
I told her that I'm losing weight (I can get into my 12s, but they're rather snug these days) and am trying to get a visual sense of the appropriate size for my height.
"Oh," she said. "I used to be between a 12 and 14."
"Well, you look great," I said. We traded info about where to shop, which labels run a bit longer, and I thanked her and met up with my mom.
I have a pair of 10s in my closet. I've had them for several years. To date, I haven't gotten in them. I've gotten close, but, you know, no cigar. I decided at my last birthday lunch that I will wear the 10s to my next birthday lunch. Which gives me until November. Plenty of time to reach a realistic goal. And, meeting her today, I realize that a size 10 is the right size for me. If I try to get into an 8, I'll look ridiculous.
Thing is, in the fashion world, even being an 8 would make me a plus-size model.
An 8. An 8
Granted, most models, while tall, aren't as tall as me, but most models are, what?, a size 2?
One of my guilty pleasures is America's Next Top Model
. I started watching it last year for some reason and I got completely sucked in. This cycle, there are two plus-size models, Tyra's dream. They're size 8s.
For the love of God. Even her own web site
(for her talk show) says most plus-size models are 12s, 14s, or 16s, than 10s are used but are not as common.
I'm not calling Tyra out, but even by her own suggestion, the plus-size models on ANTM
are thin. Go here
and see if you can spot the "big" girls.
Of course, they're too heavy to be real
models, too. And tonight, (SPOILER ALERT ... as if!) Diana was eliminated. One big girl down, one to go. Because, as one of the skinny girls on the show said tonight, "Do you really think there's ever going to be a plus-size model on the cover of Vogue
What's that? Jennifer Hudson, you say? Absolutely. It was a stunning cover. But do you really think she'd have had a chance in holy hell of getting that cover if she wasn't this year's poster child for the Academy Awards? Of course not. And I'd wager that no model inside those pages is larger than a 4. And even 4 might be "big" by Vogue standards.
What's my point, you ask? My point is that this insanity has to end. What message are we sending to young girls (and boys, for that matter)? A few years ago, my niece pronounced, "Carbs are evil." She'd heard it from her mom, but at the time, she was 7. 7. And she was already worried about her carb intake. I'm not blaming her mom, because we grown-ups do have to be more mindful of what we eat, but seriously, when 7-year-olds are already fretting about their bodies, things are seriously out of whack.
I once dated - briefly, very briefly - a guy who abruptly stopped calling. To his credit, he eventually clued me in to his behavior. And I quote: "You're heavier than I thought you'd be and I'm having a problem with it." 6'3", size 14. Could I be thinner? Sure. But I don't want to be thin for thin's sake. I want to be in shape. Fit. The treadmill's a-callin' every day.
But he didn't want a girlfriend. He wanted a trophy. He was willing to write off all my good qualities - and let me tell you, friends, it's a laundry list - simply because I wasn't skinny enough.
"So what now?" he asked that night.
I laughed, a sarcastic, disgusted laugh. "What's next? Nothing. This is your dealbreaker." I pointed out to him that weight is a variable. I said, "If you think I'm smart and kind and pretty ..."
"Beautiful," he interjected.
"Well, thank you," I said. "So weight is the thing that's changeable. Not that I'm trying to change your mind."
"So, can I call you sometime?"
I laughed again. "My phone number isn't going to change."
I've never heard from him again. I wasn't expecting to, but I thought it would be kinda fascinating if he did call, because what could he possibly say?
"Uh, are you thinner?"
Yes, I am.