“Are you alright in there?” inquired the impossibly thin sales assistant.
“Yep,” I answered, trying to stifle the desperation in my voice.
But no, I was not alright.
I had found my DREAM dress. It was exactly, everything that I had ever imagined I would wear to my birthday celebration. When I spotted it in the hip, upscale, but fashionably minimalist store (the kind that only have eight different outfits in two different sizes) my heart literally skipped a beat and then, just as promptly sank when I realised they didn’t have my size (why would they?).
I inwardly cursed my thick waist and broad bottom, and then like a woman possessed, grabbed the next size down and stormed defiantly into the change room. I was praying for a fashion miracle.
15 minutes later, I was just praying for a regular miracle.
Staring back at me, from three hideously unflattering directions, was a defeated, frazzled, sweaty, blotchy teary-eyed size 14 girl, with a beautiful ruined size 12 dress, cobra gripping her waist.
No, I was not alright. I was the opposite of alright. I was stuck – or should I say f*cked.
The zip had broken, along with my spirits.
Thankfully, the impossibly thin sales assistant also happened to be impossibly kind. And after she had wrenched the beautiful carcass over my head, leaving me balaclava’d and baring my too-old cotton knockers for a little while, sent me on my way with a comforting lie – that ‘it happens all the time’.
What some lucky women may never experience is the panicked desperation of a woman who can’t find a dress in her size. Many times I have started hopeful in my search, but after an hour or so of no success, I begin to become a little unhinged. My movements become erratic, my eyes dart from rack-to-rack. I tear through the clothes with the ferocity of a drug addict, needing her ‘fix’. I start to think strange thoughts like ‘Did that mannequin just smirk at me?’ And mutter things under my breath, like ‘Don’t be stupid, that won’t work’. Oh yes, it’s fair to say that this plus size girl and shopping have a very sadistic relationship, which almost always ends with a serve of greasy noodles from the food hall, because why bloody not?!