Dressing room tragedies and other sad tales

May 2, 2016 — 52 Comments

The stories you are about to read have not been embellished in any way. They are all horrifyingly true. I know because they happened to me. I’ve probably blocked out the worst ones but I recall quite a few. These experiences have shaped and molded me, turning me into the cranky old broad I am today.

Why am I reliving these traumatic events, you ask? It’s because I care about you, friends. I want you to know that if you’ve had an experience like this, you can take comfort in knowing you are not alone.

The first of these incidents took place about 20 years ago. I made the fatal mistake of going to one of those bargain-basement clothing stores, the kind where the dressing rooms are the size of a closet and have no mirrors so you’re forced to go the communal mirror outside, where everyone can see and mock you. I tried on a shirt that had looked nice on the mannequin. All clothes look nice on the mannequin. On me, not so much. On me, this shirt made no sense. It was too tight in some areas and really baggy in others. I was just about to go back into the dressing room to remove the offending garment when I was waylaid by one of the dressing area “assistants.” She grabbed the fabric dangling from my arm, furrowed her brow, and said, loudly, “Zis look teddible on you.”

“Yeah, I know, I was about to–”

“You no try blouse like zis, iz no good.”

I know that, which is why I–”

“Veddy bad.”

I should have told her to fuck herself but my priority was to get back to the relative safety of my little dressing cubby and stay there for all eternity. But at closing time the security guard made me leave.

The next incident happened not long after that. I was in yet another clothing store, trying on a jacket that looked really cool on the hanger. All clothes look cool on the hanger. On me, not so much. It didn’t look terrible but it didn’t look good, either. A super-enthusiastic saleswoman came over and asked if she could help me find something.

“No thanks, just looking.”

“We have some other nice jackets over here, how about this one?” She pulled one off the rack and held it up proudly. It was hideous.

“No, that’s not really my style, thank you.”

She was undeterred. She pulled another jacket off the rack. I had to admit it was nice. I tried it on, and I actually thought it looked pretty decent. As I looked in the mirror she stood behind me, smiling and nodding approvingly. “Now this looks nice on you,” she said.

I was about to speak when she added, “It looks nice on you because it’s cut very big.”

Bitch.

Suffice it to say I did not buy the jacket. Even if I had wanted it badly enough to be willing to sell my soul for it, there was no fucking way that idiot was making a commission off me.

Oh, and then there was the time I asked if they had a certain item available in a certain size. It wasn’t an unreasonable question, they had plenty of other stuff in my size. But the chick eyed me up and down and said, “I’ll check.” But you could tell what she really meant was, I doubt it but I’ll humor you.

Not even 30 seconds later she came back, with a slight but not imperceptible smirk. “I’m sorry, we only have it in a size 2, I don’t think that size will work for you.”

I wanted a trap door to open below her so she could plummet to her death. But since that didn’t happen, I went to find her manager. Unfortunately the manager was not available so I didn’t get to complain and suggest that they baste her with honey and set fire ants on her.

(As an aside, do you know how many years I’d have to be dead to fit into a size 2??)

Then there was the time I went to a dermatologist for a skin cancer screening because my complexion is about the color of this swatch:

Swatch
The doctor came into the examination room, took one look at me and said, “Oh, are you here about your rosacea?”

I am now, I thought. Thanks.

And most recently, I was in Macy’s browsing in the makeup and perfume areas on the ground floor. I like buying makeup and perfume because you don’t have to deal with dressing rooms and the evil scrutiny of fluorescent lighting. Anyway, I stopped in front of a counter at random to read a message on my phone. A cute and perky little thing in her early twenties bounced towards me. “Hiiiiii!!! Are you looking for a concealer to cover those dark circles under your eyes?”

I thought about saying, “No, but you might need something to cover up the dark bruises after I punch you in the throat.” Instead I said, “Yes please.” I bought the concealer. Don’t judge me.

So there you have it. Five sorry tales. There are many others but if I write about them I’ll wind up on the floor in the fetal position again.

I invite you to share your sad tales, but only if you can do so without jeopardizing your mental and emotional health.

52 responses to Dressing room tragedies and other sad tales

  1. 

    Such sad tales, Madame W. At least you found the strength to reach today to share them, to bare your soul. You never know – maybe one of those assistants is reading also, and they’ll suddenly realise what they did.

    Like

    • 

      I appreciate your understanding, Tom. And you’re right, maybe one of them is reading this and now realizes the folly of their behavior. Or they’re thinking, “Oh, I remember her!! She looked TERRIBLE in that thing!!”

      Like

  2. 

    You want a sad tale? Here I have one for you. I have broad feet. Don’t judge me. I like to have a base that sustains me, not makes me be a weeble. Please, do not judge me.
    But I had to buy a new pair of shoes.
    So I went into a shoe-shop. One where they sell loads of healthy shoe options, none of that gimmicky stuff you see in “Sex and the City” or which are the wet dreams of shoe fetishists.

    After trying on three or four pairs who all were a little too narrow, the shop assistant came to me with a pair which she introduced with the immortal words:
    “Here are our shoes which fit our clubfeet-customers!”
    Fear-no-weebles, do not judge me – but I NEEDED shoes … I bought them. Mortified is not a sufficient word to describe me.

    Liked by 2 people

    • 

      There’s no statute of limitations on revenge, Fran. I say we go to that shoe shop and raise unholy hell. That is utterly horrific and I am infuriated on your behalf. I seriously am. I read your comment and could feel my cheeks getting hot. No judgment on wide feet here–everybody got something.

      (And if you ever see that shop assistant, call me–I’ll come over and hold her down while you kick the shit out of her.)

      Liked by 2 people

  3. 

    I have heard the eternal salesman hold up my coat and snicker…

    Liked by 1 person

  4. 

    I’m not laughing. I’m really not. Those tears in my eyes are from crying. Well, sorta, except that I so relate to your stories (great opening hook sentence, by the way). I hate hate hate shopping and I hate hate hate when I try something on and have to go out to the ‘communal’ mirror and think “Ack, I look like a wax worm in this,’ and the ‘sales associate’ comes up to me and says, “Ohhh, darling, this looks FABULOUS on you.” I hate that. Therefore, 99% of the clothes I buy, I buy on-line…

    Like

    • 

      Hiya RW! Having a “sales associate” ooze with insincere compliments about how something looks on you is nearly as bad as the ones I’ve encountered. I know they want to make a sale but surely there’s a better way than hollow flattery. Or maybe there isn’t. In any case, I too am a fan of online shopping. It’s just easier. Although sometimes I get the side eye from one of the cats when I try something on. Everyone’s a critic.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. 

    Since I’ve gained weight, I tend to go on the offensive. I go into stores and ask the salespeople to help me find clothes that will make me look less like a buffalo and more like a thoroughbred. Then they show me over to the clothing dubbed “forgiving.” I feel more forgiving, too, even though I still look like a buffalo.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. 

    It sounds like every one of those sales clerks missed the orientation module called “Tact.” What are the odds!? But they make good stories. Sad stories, true, but told only in the most entertaining way by my favorite blogger.

    Like

  7. 

    I can only assume that working in retail brings a certain level of hostility to to forefront. And this is why Amazon.com is killing every store on earth. The runners in those vast warehouses are also hostile, I’m sure, but we don’t have to deal with them.

    Like

    • 

      This is why I’ve never worked retail–because I would last exactly 5 minutes. Working with the general public is a truly thankless job, I get it. But when salespeople are that rude and/or clueless, it makes me hope they encounter a busload of rude tourists all wanting to buy something from them. In the meantime, I’ll continue my Amazon shopping, and or buying from smaller non-chain shops that don’t seem to have staff with the same attitude problem. So there.

      Like

  8. 

    OMG I hate salespeople with a passion. I hate them from the moment I enter the store and they invade my space with their annoying questions “Are you looking for anything special today?” I always say no, even if I am looking for something special, because I really don’t want to share my something special with them. Although they never accosted me, I did get plenty of “Are you having twins?” from anyone with a pie hole and a missing frontal lobe, when I was pregnant with my first child. It was the first time I had been heavy in my life, and it was a real eye opener about how cruel people can be. I give you credit for biting your tongue and restraining your fists!

    Like

    • 

      Jean! How are you?? Your pregnancy experience is unfortunate, and sadly you aren’t alone, as I’m sure you know. I know so many women who had similar experiences, either to comment on how they looked when they were pregnant, or automatically doling out stories about horrific labor and childbirth, yada yada yada. So awful. People really can be cruel. And even the ones who don’t mean to be cruel can be so utterly thoughtless that the end result is just as painful and upsetting.

      I thought of you not long ago because I was reading more creepy stories from that website where nurses share their paranormal hospital experiences. Some of them make the hair on my neck stand up.

      Liked by 1 person

      • 

        So glad you’re back! I’m good. I forgot about that creepy website, remind me of the address again. Thanks! I’ll have to write about a couple of my creepy experiences to add to the mix. But really…so glad to see you writing again!!

        Like

  9. 

    They are indeed sad tales, and I feel for your pain. I too wish you could have shared that pain around by punching the salespeople and/or complaining to their respective managers.

    One thing I enjoy is looking at makeup and so on when dressed in habit. The looks some people give are classic. It’s quite fun doing “normal” activities in habit that people don’t expect Religious to do at all, as if we’re some sort of creature from another habit, and not fellow humans. Um, well, most of us, er, maybe some of us… 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • 

      Hello there Lou! I’d enjoy watching you shop while in the habit, just to see the reactions. I once saw a group of nuns riding in a sports car and I thought it was awesome. Just because you’ve chosen a religious life doesn’t mean you can’t cut loose, buy makeup, and all the other stuff people do. Sure, some Religious may be from another planet, but then so are so many non-Religions. Crazy doesn’t discriminate.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. 

    Some years ago, I went into a major retailer needing two pair of new trousers. I tried on a pair I like the look of, they were all one could reasonably hope for in trousers, so I took another pair from the same shelf at the first, bought them, and went home. Once there I took both pair out of the bag, intent on giving them their initial wash. The pair I hadn’t tried on, once unfolded, were clearly not the same as the others. They were like doll clothes. All the labels suggested that they were meant to be the same, but there was more cloth in one leg of the correctly-fitting pair than in the whole of the teeny trunks.

    And we now come to the fun part, which is somewhere between Kafka- and Pythonesque, wherein once has to say, “I wish to return this trousers for a pair that is the correct size, which is the size of all the labels on this pair.” Even when a pair the actual size was brought forth for comparison (which I definitely tried on, in case they were mis-labeled only one size or so), there was still a great production made about swapping for a pair that was purportedly the same, with managers called in to sign things and witness the handing of bags. And I was accompanied to the door by staff who did not look in my direction, I assume to shout “Ah HAH!” when I played my Dr. Cyclops shrinkotron ray over more of the stock.

    Liked by 2 people

    • 

      You have that Dr. Cyclops ray hidden in a Parker 51, don’t you. The hooded nib is perfect to conceal it. Come on, fess up.

      I can almost hear the brains of that sales staff short-circuiting when you tried to show them that despite the labeling, the pants were NOT, in fact, the same size. It makes you wonder if they simply had no common sense to begin with, or does their retail policy entail becoming a drone? Or maybe a little bit of both?

      Like

  11. 

    I guess I just don’t shop at the kind of places where there are attendants that shame people. I do remember when I was younger and not even that large…and there were instances of fat shaming. People can be so incredibly cruel. I guess back then I tried to buy more fancy stuff…lol Now I shop at Lane Bryant. Fancy expensive stuff without the hassle and attendants that actually help you. There are stores though that purposely carry styles that only look good on thinner people and they are not ashamed. I guess they don’t want fat dollars. Sorry I’m in a mood this morning starting a new eating regimen.

    Liked by 1 person

    • 

      Fat shaming is so horrible, and I’m so sorry you’ve had to go through that, Dani. People can be so mean-spirited. I refuse to spend money at any places that shame or discriminate. Companies whose CEOs are bigoted assholes, retail chains that carry sizes that even teenagers can barely fit into, etc etc. I’ll spend my money elsewhere, thank you.

      Good luck with the new eating regimen, I feel your pain, Dani.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. 

    Just this Saturday we had a long day of running errands, and we need to be up early for Church on Sunday. After finishing up dinner we went to check on our little girl in the NICU. It wasn’t one of her “Touch” times so all we could do is sit there and watch. We were tired, and were going to come back after a few minutes of rest during one of her “Touch” times. On our way out a nurse, who wasn’t watching our girl that day, said “Leaving already!” Like my wife doesn’t already feel bad enough for her being premature in the first place, and having complete strangers take care of her.

    Liked by 2 people

    • 

      Are you fucking kidding me??? No, of course not–you can’t make this shit up. You know, BroJo, the Bible says, “Thou shalt not kill” but there’s nothing in there that says, “Thou shalt not maim.” That nurse deserves a good maiming. As does anyone who says something so inconsiderate to anyone visiting a baby in the NICU (or anyone visiting a patient of any age, anywhere, for that matter). So fucking rude. That makes me really angry and I’m really sorry you and your wife encountered such a bitch. And I can understand your wife’s feelings but tell her it’s not her fault that the baby was premature! NOT HER FAULT. The only thing that matters is to get through this time and bring home the Little Miss. But I’m sure you know this already.

      Liked by 2 people

  13. 

    I’m still laughing at the line regarding the number of years you’d have to be dead to fit into a size 2….lol. This is why I am happy to shop online!

    Liked by 1 person

    • 

      And it’s true–even my skeleton isn’t a size 2! Some people have very narrow frames, I am not one of them. And that’s fine, I’ve made my peace with that, but it’s unfortunate that the media have decided that if you’re not rail thin, then you’re somehow less than. I maintain that my quality of life has been enhanced greatly by the internet, if only for the fact that I don’t have to buy clothes in actual stores anymore.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. 

    Madame Weebles, I feel your pain. I subject myself to far more judgement than I should as not only do I shop, I dance tango. Tango that fickle lover which I cannot do without, but drives me mad – even though I practice, practice, practice, I will never be young enough, slender enough, beautiful enough to compete with so many of my friends/enemies. Example: I’m standing in a bar, waiting to order a drink, and a beginner tango dancer whom I’ve never actually spoken to before, stalks up to me and says, “So, YOU’VE improved.” Like, in the five minutes that she’s been dancing, she’s seen me progress from “shit” to “passable.” She doesn’t even know the difference between shit and passable. I’ve been dancing ten years. Another favourite of the more b#*#$@y ladies is to stick their feet out in front of you when you’re trying to get past their seats – whether they succeed in tripping you up, or simply blocking your way, it’s all golden, from their point of view. Then there’s the simple but effective “catch her eye, look her over, curl lip in disgust” ploy. Administered at a choice moment, it can spoil an evening if you’re a sensitive soul. And of course, there is so much “damning with faint praise,” as in “well, you DO have a lovely décolletage,” as in, “you’re fat, but at least you have a great rack.”

    So….whenever I am insulted at tango, I buy a frock. Or makeup. Or perfume. Or jewellery. Whenever I think about previous insults I have suffered, I buy….something. Somewhere ahead of me, in my tortured little brain, there is that killer frock that will turn me into a goddess and make men fall at my feet. Mostly I buy online. Thank goodness for the internet. Shopping in person……meh. I can’t tell you how many times I have stood at the MAC cosmetics counter in my local department store, waiting for an assistant to help me, purposefully catching the eye of assistant after assistant, and NOT ONE of them will serve me. A couple of them have looked me up and down, slowly, with a disdainful expression on their faces, and flounced past. I refuse to buy MAC anywhere now, even online. They will never get any money from me. I hope they go belly-up and those nasty little girls end up working in MAC-Donalds’ instead. Sorry, I’m feeling kind of bitter right now. Time for some chocolate…..

    Liked by 2 people

    • 

      I relate so, so much to your experience, Jill. SO MUCH. Reading about your experience made my stomach knot up because I’ve been there too. It’s an awful feeling to be ignored, to feel invisible, to be given the once-over by complete strangers (and/or friends or family members, as has been my experience as well) and you can tell by the expression on their faces that they’ve deemed you as Unworthy somehow, for whatever reason. Whether it’s your size, your hair color, a particular facial feature, your looks overall, your clothes, or whatever the fuck someone wants to single you out for. As for the backhanded “compliments” — “but at least you have a pretty face” or “at least you have a great rack” –those people can fuck themselves too. I have to assume that it somehow makes them feel better to do shit like this, and that they probably don’t have great self-esteem themselves, but I have no sympathy.

      I bet you have some kickass dresses, Jill. I bet you look smoking in them. I’m sure there are plenty of people NOT in the tango realm that would agree. And I’m sort of itching to have a word or two or three with those little tango girlies on your behalf. As for the makeup and perfume, I’m right there with you. You and I could probably compare cosmetics and fragrances quite happily.

      Liked by 1 person

      • 

        Awww…Thanks Weebles. I try to tell myself these things but it is just more convincing coming from another person. Yes! I have some kickass dresses, and ….ah, working my way up to “smoking”….I’ll get there. *Blushes* I can relate to your experience of friends and family – who needs enemies when you’ve got family, eh? My mother colour-coded us as kids, and guess who got to wear brown clothes? My mother….well, I won’t even start, or I’ll never stop. My old varsity friends, when they met my partner, all shrieked “But Jill, he’s so HANDSOME!” Their incredulity was so blatant, I just wilted.

        I wish you could come all the way to New Zealand and have a go at the tango girlies for me, and I would return the favour with the sales assistants. I’m very good at taking up the cudgels on behalf of other people, but somehow lose my mojo when I have to stick up for myself. But your righteous outrage on my behalf really does make me feel better, so thankyou. And I will look forward to comparing notes with you on fragrances and cosmetics some time. 😀

        P,S. And also talking about old friends. I first came across your blog when I read your post on a day with Madame Pickles. Pickles looks exactly like my late and sorely missed Sophie, and she sounds like her grouchy, lovable soul sister too. I wish they could meet, I think they’d have a lot to talk about!

        Like

  15. 

    Fire ants are always a good option.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. 

    Oh dear, MW – I feel your pain. I think they should have one of those things at the entrance to all clothing shops like they do for kids on rides at the fair “You have to be this size to enter” – it would save me a lot of time! 😀

    Like

    • 

      This would make excellent sense, Dianne. At the very least they should have a separate entrance for those people not of the appropriate size, with a sign above that says “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.” This way at least you’ll have had advance warning.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. 

    I haven’t gotten a hair cut in over a year and a half because the last time I did, the stylist did such a thorough job shaming me for my hair and then trying to push product on me that I decided that even though I loath long hair, long hair is better than being made to feel that what I have is inadequate.
    I also hate clothes shopping. It’s miserable. Rarely do stores have stock in my size, mostly because I am small. I hardly ever gather up the courage to ask anymore because I’ve been told so many times that there’s no profit in my size, no reason to stock it, and if I would just put some meat on my bones I wouldn’t have any trouble finding the styles I want in the size I need. It just doesn’t matter. Small. Medium. Large. Clothing stores are assholes.

    Like

    • 

      I don’t know how I managed to forget about hair shaming, as I have wild curly hair. Lots of it. Apparently that’s not cool with most hair stylists. More often than not, they’d ask me if I wanted them to blow it straight, and I’d say, “No thank you.” You could tell they were wondering if I was insane for keeping my hair curly. There was one stylist who, when I said I didn’t want it blown out, actually said, “But why not!?” Meanwhile how about if I fly down there and you point out that stylist to me. I’ll be happy to place their product in a place it will do some good.

      Doesn’t seem to matter which side of the size spectrum you’re on, they’ll find something. It upsets me that you go through such drama and insults when trying to buy clothes too. I thought clothing shops and other retailers wanted to make money. But I suppose it’s not just about making money, but keeping a certain image so that The Right People shop there. I haven’t consulted with the Department of the Treasury lately but I’m fairly certain that the currency of skinny, fat, short, tall, gay, hetero, cis, trans, whatever, people, is equally valid.

      Also, how are you?? I’ve been off FB for ages now so I have no idea how people are these days. I need to rectify that.

      Liked by 1 person

      • 

        I have wild, curly hair and stylists do seem to hate it. The thing is, most of the time, their reasoning is total bullshit. So many have complained about how difficult it is to get a straight, even cut. But it’s curly! By nature it naturally hides uneven cuts. They should be grateful they can fuck up and it’ll never show. Unless it’s like a total massive fuck up, and then, well, ain’t nobody got time for that.
        Equally valid currency…Bwahahahaha! It should be, but it’s as much a myth as equal pay.
        I am awesome. Thank you for asking. I’ve moved to Florida and I’m making my ex’s life a complete hell by living one mile away, loving the heck out of my babies, and spending every possible moment laughing and hugging and lamenting homework together.

        Like

  18. 

    I’m not a violent person, Weebles, and my sense is that you aren’t either, but you really should have acted on some of those impulses and floored at least a couple of these douchesacks.

    Like

  19. 

    I feel your pain, Weebs. Some years back at a wine tasting at a local establishment (where we knew most of the staff), I mentioned that a particular wine reminded me of a childhood hard candy, but I couldn’t remember which one. The young woman assisting at the event said, “Well, I’m not old enough to know which one you mean, but I totally get the candy part.” Suffice it to say I was not thrilled.

    And then, when I remembered which candy triggered the memory, I knew the damn thing is still around and SHOULD have been familiar to her! 😛

    Like

  20. 

    I buy most of my clothes online for two reasons. One, I like a lot of vintage, so that’s easier to get online. Two, stores don’t carry my size. Apparently, I have the waist size of a 3-year old. Seriously, I tried to buy a new pair of business casual pants for a new job and was told by store after store that it would have to be a special order to get my size. Luckily, I found out the new job is pants optional, so it all worked out.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. 

    Every day I am more and more sure that most people are basically idiots that only care about themselves

    Like

  22. 

    I loathe shopping…and who in the world came up with communal dressing rooms. Watching me try on bra after bra to find the one that doesn’t make me look hideous is embarrassing enough…why on earth would I want to do that in public.

    For almost all of my life I have hated shopping, Nothing ever looks as good on me as it does on the rack,,,even when I was skinny. Trying on clothes is boring and when I have been forced to do it in the past, I had to take a nap when I got home due to sheer exhaustion.

    Liked by 1 person

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