Saturday, February 12, 2011

Shame and Semi-Nudity: Laura Goes Jean Shopping

None of my jeans fit me anymore, so I had to go jean shopping.

You see, when my gallbladder was coughing, sputtering, and dying, I was also losing weight, lots of it. During the fall, I had broken down and bought size 12 pants, because I wanted to conceal everything, and I was certain they would be too tight by winter. I was wrong.

When your gallbladder goes kaput, you stop being able to digest things So your body says, NO WAY, and what results is a kind of involuntary bulimia. That's the nice way to say, I threw up a LOT. It was unpleasant in the extreme. I cannot express that enough.

I lost weight fast, mostly because I stopped eating anything but bagels. Bagels were delicious and they didn't make me feel like death. They stayed (more or less) comfortably inside my stomach. They lacked variety, but who cared? They were food, and they took the edge off of my soul-shattering hunger.

Goodbye gallbladder.

I don't know exactly what all the symptoms are for Gallbladder Death, but they must be more than just stomach issues. I think my gallbladder made me gain weight. I don't know how, but it MUST have. Because even since FIXING the gallbladder by getting it the heck out of Dodge and returning to my normal diet (lots of cookies, lots of Italian food), I still kept dropping weight.

Remember how I said I'd been a size 12? Yeah. That didn't last. By the time I had my gallbladder removed, I had already snatched up size 10 pants. They still fit beautifully after my surgery, and for about a month afterward.

I went jean shopping today, and I am now a size 6 again, which was my college size. Hence, my Dying Gallbladder Made Me Gain Weight Theory.

I find that whole process so shocking, I just had to share it with you. Also, I've told my family like a thousand times, and they don't find it interesting anymore. But I do. So you get to hear it. Again.

Jean shopping.

I always hate it. Why? Because I know EXACTLY what I like in pants, and I want to buy only jeans that fit that criteria, despite the fact that fashion disagrees with me. Wide flares? Eww. Skinny jeans? Only with my tall Frye boots. The Epic, Steampunk Boots. The ones that now have a fixed zipper that is amazing.

I want a jean that is not distressed*. If my jeans have holes in them, I want to have put them there myself, by falling down a flight of stairs or catching them on a nail of some kind. If jeans are already worn out, I want a discount, because that means they will last me less time. Stores do not agree with me on this issue. They charge MORE. So I won't buy distressed jeans.

I want a jean that doesn't have a giant flare. I like a jean that doesn't conceal my awesome shoes. I also like a jean that fits me through the hip and thigh, not too tightly (I like having circulation in my toes) but not so loosely that I can grab tons of fabric or put both of my legs in one pant leg. So, no "relaxed" jeans for me.

In other words, it took me a long time to find pants at The Buckle today.

I went there this time, because I needed serious professional help. Losing all that weight meant I was back to buying pants for College Laura, and College Laura was long gone. Current Laura didn't remember what kind of pants College Laura bought**, and Current Laura also had no idea what size she was anymore. And I had noticed on The Buckle's website that they were having a giant jean sale, so that meant fancy jeans CHEAP. And I like that.

Are you bored yet? I hope so. Because that will make this next part even more entertaining for you.

The Buckle I went to has stupid dressing rooms. Firstly, they are in the corners of the room, so each door opens toward the other, meaning you can slam innocent people in the face with your door, or jump out of the dressing room at each other, both of which happened to me and a really nice lady who maybe used to work there.

Secondly, the rooms are right there in the middle of everything, not back in a little hallway all on their own. I think this is to help the salespeople help you find jeans that fit you. But really, it just means you walk out to see the mirror in full view of every other shopper, even if you look like a freak.

Thirdly, the doors are the kind that don't fill up the whole door frame. The door starts at about my knees, and ends level with the top of my head. Or my eyes, whatever. That's not important. What's important is that you'd better shave your pale, ghostly legs when you go to try on jeans, because if you don't, everyone will know.

My exacting jean preferences meant that there were tons of jeans draped over my door and more inside for me to try on. Everyone now knew my approximate size, so I had a giant pile I could try on without fear. The jeans, I was sure, would more or less fit me, and I could just examine them in the mirror outside, where I would determine how gross / good I looked in them. Meanwhile, my poor handknitted socks were droopy, and I was afraid to lean over and pull them up, because I didn't want to accidentally bend over too low, and show the whole store my posterior.

One pair of jeans felt not-stretch.

So I pulled them over my calves. I pulled them to my knees. That was when I could tell that these jeans were so not a six. They were more like a double-zero. I had to get them off before I split the seams and had to pay for them!

Did I mention this dressing room had no chair? No stool, no bar to hold on to? Nothing? I was along with a giant pile of jeans and only my balance to keep me on my feet as I struggled out of jeans and discarded them, but this time, my balance wasn't enough.

I don't really know what exactly happened. Maybe I tried to shimmy a little to free up one leg. I may have blacked out. Or maybe my legs, starved of blood flow, had just given out in protest. But as I tried to free my right leg, I fell.

Remember the door? Remember how it stopped at knee length?

Now I was on the ground, with my pants at my ankles. My underwear-clad bum was exposed for all the store to see, and my legs were trapped in pants that wouldn't allow me to leap back to my feet.

I was down, and my undies were on display, and I suddenly realized the wipe-out had given me rug burn on my arse right upper thigh that I was sure would be misinterpreted by anyone who happened upon semi-naked girl, writhing on the ground in too-small pants, trying to free herself so she could conceal her naked shame.

You know me, guys. I was raised in an endless succession of churches. Most of them very conservative. And I was taught that nakedness, especially female nakedness, was evil. And if you were naked in daylight in public, that was extra bad and gave you points on your Punch Card of Sin, and everybody knows the more points you get on that card, the closer you are to an eternity in Hell.

That means that for every second my mini peep show went on, I became more and more horrified and certain that I could never leave the dressing room again. I would have to die there, and I hadn't brought any extra yarn to knit with.

I think the whole thing happened in under 15 seconds. But it didn't matter. God had seen, and I was sure that inside my brain, the eight year-old me could hear Satan laughing and offering up candy and TV a little closer than she'd heard him before.

I stood, in my underwear, and I waited.

No laughter came. No gasps. No screams or shouts. No ominous clicks of cell phone cameras...nothing.

The sound and bustle of the store continued just as it had before I fell.

That made me wonder...had anyone actually seen? Hope swelled inside me. I grabbed the next pair of pants and slipped into them. Then I cracked the door open and peered outside. No one was in my corner!

Yes, when I had been given a dressing room, it was in the far corner of the store. As far from the men's side as could be, as far from the entrance as possible. Indeed, the corner had been empty when I fell, and it was empty still. Suddenly, I started giggling.

Nice Girl Next Door gave me a strange look as she emerged to look at the cute sweater she was trying on in the mirror outside (there was only one mirror). I ducked back into my room. The giggling was quickly approaching hysterical laughter. I grabbed my cell phone and told Twitter what happened.

Just wiped out in Buckle dressing room. Door stops at knee level. And #nopants. #shame #afraidtocomeout

Twitter is always the first to know when these things happen.

I could go on and tell you how exactly I came to recount the wipe-out story to every salesperson at The Buckle, including the sole male salesperson, who happened to be stopping by to help find straight legged jeans. Or I could just show you the picture my mom snapped of me as I recreated the fall.

This is why I hate jean shopping. I just can't be trusted in public.

*I do not care about various washes, although I prefer darker jeans. The jeans I hate are the ones that have been attacked by a pumice stone in spots, or the ones that already have giant holes in the legs or knees. No, thank you.

**That's probably because College Laura didn't have money to buy jeans, so she just used the same two pairs until they fell apart, and begged for another pair at Christmas.


  1. Um. So, if you have 12's in the Goodwill pile, you could, uh, give them to me and I'll drop them off with my stuff. (If you see pants on me that are very similar, it'd just be a coincidence)

  2. Mum has already claimed them ;)

  3. How awesomely horrifying. But what an excellent story it made.

  4. Yeah, it was the kind of horror that could only happen to me.