Remember the days when shopping was enjoyable? When pants fit, when shoes fit, when bras fit? When you didn’t have to get your fix in the purse section because, well, those are the only fashionable items that you can still wear comfortably?
I realized last weekend on the first hot day of the year that long pants weren’t going to cut it anymore and I needed to suck it up and show off these sexy waterlogged legs. So, I ventured out tonight to do a little shorts shopping. Now, I never really enjoyed the thought of my pasty sticks exposing themselves freely to the world, but the thought of my pasty, PREGNANT sticks entering nakedly into the summer sunshine was a little more than I could handle. But it had to be done. I have recently started to perspire while sitting at my office desk doing nothing, so the thought of folding laundry in a non-air-conditioned house in full-legged pants was more than I could bear. I only have 53 more days (but who’s counting?) to suck it up and at this point in the baby-building phase, I should probably start to choose fit over fashion.
I simply couldn’t justify spending full price on items I’ll drown in the second he decides to come out, plus I read price tags in “diapers” now. A $35 shirt? That’s 120 diapers! And then, I say no and leave the store with pangs of guiltless regret. So tonight, I gathered a couple handfuls of clothing from the clearance racks and headed for the fitting rooms, determined to make something work to help get me through the warmer coming months. I glanced back at Nate with a look of “here goes nothin,'” took a deep breath, and stepped in to the closest stall.
Fitting room lights are never flattering. Every woman will tell you that her sexiness level drops abruptly upon seeing herself under fitting room lighting. You could walk in feeling put together, like you could conquer the world and get digits from the cute guy in the suit and tie at the service desk. But, when you walk out, you feel the need to hit up the Clinique counter and the local hair salon ASAP to hide all your new-found blemishes and uncolored roots.
This is when it happened for me – under the fluorescent lights of fitting room fat camp. Ignoring the bad hair and lack of makeup, I tried to focus on the lower half of my body only, since that was the area I was shopping for anyway. I slipped off my shoes and jeans and pulled up my first pair of potential work capris. They fit like a glove, in the thighs, the waist (what waist? Who am I kidding?), and the butt. God bless America! Pants that fit! I admired the fit all the way down…to the ground. The capris fit my legs nicely, but where my legs met my ankles? Not so nice. What was this I was seeing? I was being rudely introduced to my newest pregnancy nightmare – the sausage ankle!
My once-athletic legs had tone and muscle. There was a definitive kneecap-calf-foot separation. And, maybe it had just been winter too long or this happened overnight, but somehow, some time, somewhere…I developed cankles. My calf had melted down into my foot and become one solid form, freakishly resembling that one overstuffed cheddarwurst left exploding on the grill to die, painfully alone and unfulfilled. I was puffing out like an overcooked cheddarwurst, people!
I sat down on the micro-seat in the stall (those chairs are meant to hold real-life-sized human beings, right?) and did my best to bend over and rub the fluid out of my feet. They felt like play-doh and the more I poked at them, the easier they were to sculpt into my own fun and colorful skin sculptures. I got the puffiness to settle down a bit and decided it was safe to take another gander in the mirror to observe the new capris. It was official. There was going to be no more consumer productivity coming from this fitting room. I couldn’t take my eyes off my feet long enough to notice the color, fit, or flair of my other clothing options. Forget about it! I’d try on a shirt and look at my ankles. Yup, they look fat in this shirt. Guess I won’t buy THAT! I was ruined for the night.
“How did those work for you?” I was asked as I left the room. I looked up at the sweet grandmother doing her job so very well, and non-aggressively, with a tinge of disgust, snapped back, “I have sausage ankles. Maybe another day.”
At the end of it all, I did wind up purchasing a comfortable pair of running shorts and a casual pair of black capri sweats. My husband, and maybe some neighbors, will be the only breathing lifeforms that will be exposed to the Jimmy Deans attached to my toes. I only spent about 40 diapers and am sure this new ankle-obsessed Aphrodite-syndrome will subside eventually. And, when it does, I’ll be happy I made the purchase. But, like any good woman, I bought myself a purse to tie myself over until that day comes. And, you know what? The purse fits like it was custom tailored for my body, sausages and all.