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–”
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.”
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:
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.