Tuesday, September 20, 2016

The Consequences of Your Inactions

I know, I know. It’s my own fault. I knew this was coming almost a year ago. I could have done something about it then, but I didn’t. Now I have to pay the price. I have no one to blame but myself.

My nephew’s wedding is at the end of this week, and I have nothing to wear.

Back around the beginning of the year—yes, resolution time—I thought about trying to lose weight. I knew the wedding was set for September and I’d probably end up wearing a dress. I preferred not to think about that. I’m not a dress person. I’m also not an exercise person. All that heat and humidity this summer made it easy, even safer, to stay sedentary.

I honestly can’t remember the last time I wore a dress. Back in the Dark Ages, when our school eased up on dress codes and finally let girls wear pants, I was among the first to make the switch. I pulled on a pair of jeans and never looked back. When I moved into the work force and offices eased up, I soon traded my skirt-and-blouse combos and to blouse-and-slacks. What can I say? To me, Ellen Degeneris is the height of fashion. Besides, if Hillary gets in this November, pants suits will become all the rage.

But I still decided I was going to wear a dress to the wedding. Call it a nod to traditionalism. Or my last hurrah. I also decided, last minute, that I wasn’t going to spend a lot on my wedding outfit. After all, I don’t go out that much, and pants are accepted everywhere. No point in spending a bundle on something I’ll probably never wear again. That’s supposed to be the bride’s problem.

So last weekend I went to the local Goodwill to check out their offerings. Found some nice ones, too. I must have tried on at least half a dozen, all perfect for public appearances.

Except for one little problem. None of them fit me.

Here’s where that sedentary lifestyle of the last eight months came back to bite me in the ass. And the hips and thighs. And especially that bulging stomach. Picture Jabba the Hut frantically pawing through the plus-size racks and you’ll have an idea of how I must have looked.

Okay, then. Plan B. Off to KMart. They were bound to have a better selection anyway. And they did. Of tops, blouses, shorts and slacks. No dresses that I could see. None whatsoever in plus size. Once you get past size 16 you’re not supposed to leave the house, I guess.

Walmart’s inventory was much the same. The dresses they had weren’t intended for anyone over the age of 12, or over 100 pounds. The pants-and-top combo idea was starting to look better and better.

Back home, on impulse, I dug into the back of my closet. I used to own a dress or two from my days doing office work. Of course, that was several dozen pounds ago. Maybe I still had some nice tops I could pair with a new set of slacks. Elastic waistband, of course.

Right in the back of the closet, I found it: an old interview outfit. A simple black spandex sheathe with a green jacket that covered the bulges quite nicely. And wonder of wonders, it fit. I even found a matching pair of shoes. See, it pays to never throw anything out.

Experimentation time. The dressy tops I had looked fine with it, but they were a little tight. So it was back to Goodwill. I got a pair of oversized, colorful tops to dress up the basic black. Thursday night I’ll do a fashion show. Whatever looks best and fits best over the sheathe will become my wedding outfit. All I need is a pair of pantyhose and I’m ready to rock.

Sue Grafton, speaking through her detective character Kinsey Milhone, was right: all any woman really needs is a basic little black dress.

Though everything would have fit even better if I’d dealt with my weight in the many months leading up to this moment. If I’d lost even ten pounds I could have fit into any one of the decent dresses I tried to try on. Yeah well. It’s only for a couple of hours, in front of family members I don’t interact with, some of whom I haven’t seen in ten to twenty years. I haven’t even seen or talked to my nephew since Mom’s funeral six years ago. (To which I wore slacks, by the way. Mom would have understood.) Do I still have to get him a gift?

Just as a backup, I’m going to hit Target later this week and see what they have in the dress department. Or if they even sell dresses any more. Maybe you can only get dresses at Sears or Penney’s or specialty stores. Screw that. I’m not going to the mall for this. It’s not worth it.

Guys have it easy. They just have to rent a tux. One or two suits last them for life. Women get socked in the wallet for wedding dresses, prom dresses, bridesmaid dresses, cocktail dresses, work, casual wear, formal wear—geez. And you have to sit up straight with your legs together in all of ‘em. No wonder I gave it up.

In fact, this whole thing may be moot. This morning I tried on the dressy purple top with my pair of black slacks. The outfit does't look that bad. Better than it does with the dress. Fits better, too. And the pants are roomy enough to hide that multitude of sins below my waist, as well as the waist itself. I guess that settles that.

So much for dresses and weight loss. Look for me at the wedding. I’ll be at the bar, having a drink with Ellen Degeneris.

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