Saturday, December 29, 2007

Pantsquest 2008

The new year hasn't started yet, but it's time to transition from Pantsquest 2007 to Pantsquest 2008. (Throws her head back and makes a quasi-anguished, disgusted "Argh!" sound.) I've probably written about this before, but it's a subject I visit regularly in life, so why not in my journal?

It is almost impossible for me to buy pants. Apparently, I am shaped and proportioned like no other human on this planet. Or maybe there are other women with bodies like mine, but they live in far-off lands where women wrap themselves in yards of fabric or only wear skirts.

When I shop, I usually gravitate to below-the-knee black skirts (I own six and wear all of them) or jewelry. I know I can never go wrong with either of these things, and resorting to buying them is a small comfort. Something out there fits me, just not the thing I'm shopping for.

Pants. I over-dress for work because I always wear skirts and dresses. I don't have to dress up so much, but I can't find pants that fit!! I am short and round. My legs are about 3/4 of an inch too long for petite sizes, but regular pants are about five inches too long. I am too damn cheap to get things hemmed.

Generally, whatever fits in the butt and thighs is about two sizes too big at the waist. If it fits just below the waist, the whole thing slides down in front until the resistance from the tightness of the fabric at the thighs stops the sliding and just leaves the pants bunched up in front. Maybe in back.Maybe too long in the crotch.

I dread the dressing room. I can visualize how something will look when it's on the hanger, but the harsh reality of the dressing room has been known to bring me to tears. Maybe it's because I can only visualize so well. Maybe it's because I take up a lot of real estate in the dressing room. I don't know. I just know I always take in the maximum number of items so I can avoid multiple trips. (This picture, although not me, could be. I might be heavier.)

Yesterday I went to Ross. I tried to be focused and brave. I found a pair of jeans that looked to be within the realm of possibility. I also found a dress, some tops, and a pair of dress pants. I started with the jeans. I almost passed out from shock. They fit...perfectly. Right fit, right rise, right length. And a choir of angels sang from above, heralding the successful conclusion of Jeansquest 2007.

The only reason I felt encouraged enough to attempt this shopping expedition was because of the conclusion of the Pilates study. I met with Bob yesterday and went through the same battery of tests we did at the start of the study. I balanced, I practiced my best posture. I pushed and pulled weights. I bent and stretched and reached for the stars. And then I pedaled my way through the evil VO2 Max test. This time, I did not cry.

Bob was very excited. "This is good, May. Very good. Look at how you've improved! You've lost body fat and gained muscle and overall fitness. Your lung capacity is better and you burn calories better. OK, step on the scale."

I slumped out of my perfect posture. The scale. "Bob, I haven't lost any weight at all. I'm exactly where I was at the start of this thing." Bob wouldn't be deterred. I stepped on the scale. Bob looked down, scribbled on his clipboard and exclaimed, "Ha! See? You lost 3.5 pounds--but you gained muscle, strength, and fitness!"

Again, the old words floated through my mind: Nobody will ever see me on the street and say, "May! Look how strong you've become! And your balance!"

I gave it some time to sink in while I drove home. Perhaps I could try on some jeans. Maybe, just maybe this Pilates thing had started to change my shape...

Today I decided to use the Macy's gift card I got from my mother-in-law. End of euphoric shopping high from yesterday. Back to reality. Except now I can honestly say, there is exactly one pair of pants on this planet that can fit my body and fit it well. A glimmer of hope in a shopping bag.

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