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 Does this room make me look fat?
 


There’s a place I go to escape reality. Whenever I’m feeling particularly good about myself (which isn’t often), I go to this special spot where I can unwind. Okay, maybe it’s more like become unwound. But I feel younger. Unfortunately, that’s by about 23 years. And I completely forget about the real world, and lose myself in a fantastical place of make-believe. Too bad it requires a partial lobotomy and a gastric bypass every time I do it.

If you are a woman of any age, shape or size, then you know of the torture chamber…er… transformative…space, of which I speak. If you are a man or blind (I realize that is often the same thing), then perhaps you don’t realize that holding cell of humiliation that I am referring to is a department store fitting room.

This is the most hideous place in the entire world. More painful than the dentist’s office. More uncomfortable than watching American Idol auditions. A bigger head trip than Eli making it to the Super Bowl this year instead of Peyton.

I don’t know if I should be frightened, completely horrified or both, but the minute I step into this chamber of horrors, I completely lose all self-esteem, intelligence and any slight grip on reality I once had. I resort to playing mind tricks on my own mind. Last night I stood on my tip toes, to simulate high heels that I would wear with a dress, somehow thinking that a 1 inch heel would suddenly make me lose 10 pounds. Elevated heel: Valerie Bertinelli on One Day at a Time. Flat footed: Valerie Bertinelli on the before commercial for Jenny Craig. One Day at a Time. Jenny Craig poster child. One Day at a Time…I did this foot seesaw for 20 minutes.

But every woman knows that buying a dress in your invisible shoes goes hand in hand with your invisible hair-do. Pull up the hair, and you are as gorgeous and elegant as Princess Diana. Down, you are Diana Ross in the rain.

There must be some gas that is piped into a fitting room. Odorless and colorless, it renders us stupid. Under its influence I reason, Yes! I can work out 23 out of the next 24 hours stopping only to eat a Dexatrim and a laxative, so that by Saturday night, with a stick of butter and the Jaws of Life, I can fit into this dress and look fabulous! And please let me pay $300 for the privilege! I’m not a chemist, but I do believe the chemical symbol of this gas is DKNY on the Periodic Table.

And curse you, Mr. Dressing Room Architect, with your sadistic fluorescent bulbs that illuminate every pore, blemish, and scar. Or perhaps a more apropos curse would be to wish a pox on you, since you have managed to display every one of mine and make my spine look like the Vegas strip under your harsh lights.

I absolutely hate being this way. I hate that at my age I have the body image of an 80 year-old, the self-esteem of a 14 year-old, and the imagination of a child of six. This is no way for a grown woman to live.

Because, when you actually wear the garment at an actual event, you end up looking fabulous. You wonder why you ever worried in the first place, like maybe you should have skipped the fitting room altogether. But then you think that perhaps you wouldn’t have looked this good if you hadn’t tried it on, and that opens up the whole chicken and egg argument-- you being a big chicken if you had not scrambled to a net girdle made of neoprene to wear underneath.

The only comfort I can extract is from the one other physical and logical impossibility of that horrid little dungeon: despite being a 6’x 6’ enclosure it holds millions of women, so at least I am not alone.

Would one of you please pass the invisible panty hose?


©2008 Tracey Henry

I love Divamail! Divamail@Suburbandiva.com.

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