"We seldom get into trouble when we speak softly. It is only when we raise our voices that the sparks fly and tiny molehills become great mountains of contention."
- - Gordon B. Hinckley
May 9, 2013
Shop Girls Are Evil
by Hannah Bird

I am fat. I am not a little chubby. I don't have a few pounds to lose. There is not "more of me to love". I am just plain fat. I am fatter than fat Kirstie Alley. Fat. I don't love it. But it is incumbent upon me as an adult to accept it and deal with it with a tiny bit of grace.

I went to the store in hopes of finding a nice outfit to wear to a ballet performance. Since I do not like crowds, ballet or children I am the stage manager for a ballet school and so I usually just wear a black skirt and top and get runs in my nylons from crawling around on the floor. Besides, between the spectacular level of fatness, my dark red/brown hair, whiter than white skin and all the black, I look like a goth who lost her eyeliner. I decided this year I would wear pants and a nice blouse/top/sweater in the hopes of not shaming my loved ones.

But I am fat and splendidly so. So at the first store I saw nothing I liked. At the second store I saw nothing that liked me. It is important that you fully grasp that what transpired next happened when I was worn down and losing hope.

At store three, I am greeted by a woman who was slightly larger than the turkey we ate for Thanksgiving. What she lacked in size, she made up for in sheer enthusiasm. She asked what I was looking for and I explained my very specific needs. It must be dark since sometimes I am by the curtain. It must not be hot. It must not be sheer. And when I come out on the stage after 3 hours of heavy combat , it must look nice. She heard my needs. She understood. Quickly she amassed an armload of lovely fat things that would have seen Oprah through a good part of the 90s. I was feeling hope. I was getting cheerful.

And the she said it. “Let's just pair these with some skinny jeans.”

I explained that I did not in fact wish to pair anything with skinny jeans. Ever.

"You will love it. You are going to be so surprised how much you love it." Quickly she scooped up both a pair of black skinny jeans and an abomination known only as a "jegging". She handed them to me and pushed me in the dressing room with my armload of fat girl shirts. As she did this, she continued to tell me how crazy I was going to be about them. She said I would be surprised. She said I would be thrilled.

And in my weary weakness, I put them on. I was in fact surprised. I was most definitely not thrilled. I looked in the mirror and felt a sudden and mighty urge to run into traffic. She banged on the door and still stunned, I opened it.

Bless her dead little eyes, she barely blinked before she plastered on a way too large smile and shrieked, "Wow! Those are so flattering." I turned back to the mirror to see if perhaps I had missed something. Nope, I still looked like a ham smuggler in mourning. I turned back to see if she was serious and she continued on. "Really really flattering". To whom may I ask? To women who are standing nearby not wearing this or being me? Because I can certainly see that I would be making them look good.

I diplomatically said that they weren't really me. This was her cue to ramp up the enthusiasm. "Oh but they are. It's a classic look". I will give you that one dead-eyed turkey woman. In those jeggings I looked like my baby sister's Fisher Price stacking toy – so definitely classic but not really the look I was going for.

"No"

"What you need is a tunic. We'll just pair those with a nice tunic and you are going to love it."

I was beginning to understand that this woman and I define love differently. I think a tunic is a valid wardrobe choice. I am by no means anti-tunic. However, one should choose a tunic because they want a tunic and not because of the horrendous failure of their pants to perform any pantly duties.

"No"

"And we can cinch the tunic with a belt."

I am one M&M away from statehood and this woman is seriously proposing that I doubled down on the jegging horror with a belt.

"No"

"How about –"

"NO. I look like a hate crime against the sighted. I am not wearing these."

"Maybe I should grab them in a different color."

Way to get to the heart of the matter pushy over-enthusiastic dead-eyed turkey woman. That was my concern. If I am going to look like a hot air balloon, I at least want to be one in cheerful colors. Do these come in a hot pink tiger stripe?

"Go away."

"Let me just grab –”

"Right now."

She paused as a I slammed the dressing room door shut and began to shed my personal jegging hell. I could hear her out there breathing enthusiastically and blinking at the blink per minute rate specified in the store manual. I yanked my cowboy boots on and stomped out of the dressing room and past her, leaving the skinny jeans, jeggings and allegedly lovely tops in a heap on the bench. I was nearly to the door when she called out.

"Would you like me to put these on hold for you?"

"Knock yourself out."


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About Hannah Bird

I am me. I live at my house with my husband and kids. Mostly because I have found that people get really touchy if you try to live at their house. Even after you explain that their towels are fluffier and none of the cheddar in their fridge is green.

I teach Relief Society and most of the sisters in the ward are still nice enough to come.

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