Tuesday, November 23, 2010

More Than Just Fine

Now that I've lost a lot of weight (and am still losing), I'm having a hard time finding clothes that fit. Although there's a part of my wardrobe that now fits me properly after having been worn too tight (or, in some cases, way too tight) for way too long, jeans must be held up by a belt, sweaters fall off one shoulder, blouses must be tucked in and yoga pant cuffs drag on the ground beneath my heels.

So although I'm not in a financial position to renovate my entire closet, I need some new clothes.

Last night while walking down 34th Street, I noticed that everything is 25% off at Banana Republic through Sunday, so I stopped in. I brought a little black dress (a necessity I'm now without) into the fitting room and tried on the size 6, two or three dress sizes smaller than I ever was, ever in my life. Still unsure of my ability to pull certain clothes off (despite my bravery in donning a two-piece Middle Eastern costume for Halloween), I stepped out of my stall and sought the opinion of the fitting room attendant.

"What do we think?" I asked, as I posed, hand on hip, red carpet style.

Disaffected, he paused, and said, "It looks...fine."

I stared at him in horror.

"That's not the ringing endorsement I was looking for," I said, giving him a chance to do his job and sell me the dress. When he continued folding other customers' discarded clothes and placing them back on hangers instead of replying, I stomped away in a huff.

In my room, I unzipped the side zipper of the dress, taking one last look at myself, muttering to myself, "I'm not paying $150 for a dress that's just fine."

It's not just that I was looking for a compliment, which I was. It's not just that I seem to need constant reassurance that my smaller size is real, which I do. And it's not just that I always feel a little weird vulnerably changing my clothes in the same room as a strange guy with only a partial door separating us. But this guy was so apathetic, not only to me and my needs, but to even doing his job. Forget my emotional reliance on the fitting room attendant to lavish me with praise even when I'm wearing a size 12 that should probably be a size 14. The floor clerks are there to get me into the dressing room. The dressing room clerk is there to seal the deal, not to just fold and hang the dresses I decide I look too fat in.

If this guy doesn't really want to be working at Banana Republic surrounded by a bunch of neurotic women, shouldn't he get a job elsewhere? And if he can't get a job elsewhere, if Banana Republic is his last resort, shouldn't he be so grateful that he actually has a job?

But, in the end, maybe the dress was only fine, and not great. I'm not in a position to buy any new clothes that aren't great right now, so I can only feel grateful for his honesty.

It didn't have to be the best dress I ever wore, but why settle for anything less than great?

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