"So, what do you think?" I asked Rob. "Should I just say 'the hell with it' and give up, or should I make this a personal mission?"
Rob pondered that for a moment. "Hmmm," he said thoughtfully, obviously not sure which way to go on the issue.
"You know, 'personal mission' would probably make a better blog entry," I pointed out.
"Yeah," he agreed, "but then you'd probably be too exhausted to write about it."
Unfortunately, he had a point. Even more unfortunately, something had risen up inside me that wouldn't let it go. Some spirit of stubborness (or maybe just masochism) was digging its hooks into me and would not let me give up now, even after the complete and utter abysmal failure I had just experienced.
"No," I decided grimly, "this IS personal now. We are going to do it."
Rob raised an eyebrow at me skeptically.
"We are," I announced in a tone that brooked no argument, "going to BY GOD find a pair of jeans that fit!"
There was good reason for Rob to look skeptical. An hour or more before, we had walked into one of the approximately four hundred and seventy-five local Wal-Marts in a search for a pair of jeans. Now, one might think (especially if one is of the male persuasion) that this would be an easy task. I've seen men shop for jeans, after all. You go in, grab a couple of pair that say "36x30" (or whatever your preferred waist and length are) and you don't even have to try them on. If it's a 36x30, it is, by God, a 36x30 and it fits exactly the same every single time.
The problem, for women, is multifold. First, there really is no equivalent of the waist/length sizing for women's jeans. No, no. That would be too easy. Instead, there are sizes like 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12 and so forth. There are lengths, of course, but they are basically limited to petite ("short"), medium (some sort of "average" which I've never been quite sure of the basis for), and tall. I'm not sure I've ever met anyone who actually falls exactly into one of these standard lengths, but I am assured that they do, in fact, exist. As I understand it, the three of them live in a closely guarded underground bunker in an undisclosed location, and are only brought out on Christmas for their annual measurements or when they need to clear out to make room for the President in the case of a national emergency.
But that's rather beside the point. The point is, there are pretty much three lengths of women's jeans, and they are not labeled in such a nice fashion as the 28, 29, 30, 31, 32 and so forth representing actual inches as are men's jeans.
Secondly, the size that is called "8" by one manufacturer may be the size called "4" or "12" by another manufacturer. (It is my experience that the pricier the jeans, the smaller the number representing the size. This is, apparently, to make women somehow believe that they are skinnier than they are so that they will feel happier about spending over a hundred dollars on a pair of blue jeans.)
Suffice it to say that when seeking out a pair of women's jeans, you have to sort of pick a range of sizes into which you think you might fall and then just grab things until you narrow down what size you are in THAT brand. If you want to find jeans in another brand, you do the same thing all over again.
Since I've been feeling well enough to eat more and gain enough weight to be of a more normal size over the last few months, I wasn't quite sure what size I was. I walked in wearing a pair of jeans labeled "10" that were a bit on the large, yet comfy size, so I figured somewhere between 10 and 12 would be a good range. This wouldn't be so bad, except I wanted "boot cut" (where the bottom of the leg flares out slightly) and I did not want "low rise" (where your belly sticks out in the front and your butt crack salutes the world in the back).
"Okay, we're looking for 10 tall," I informed Rob.
He nodded, and we split up to search more efficiently.
It is my experience that, when shopping for jeans, the universe conspires to have every size and style in the store at the time of my concurrent presence ... EXCEPT for the size I am looking for at the time. When I was looking for size sixes, everything was size 12 and up. Today, everything was size four or fourteen. Or tapered leg. Or boot cut with low rise.
After some time of searching rack after rack, we finally found some likely candidates, and I whisked them off to the fitting room to try them on.
It was the story of the three bears writ large in denim but without the "just right" part.
This pair was too long.
This pair was too small.
This pair was too big.
This pair made me look like I had a package like Scott Bakula in tights. (Don't ask.)
I decided that we were going to go for 12 average. Apparently, the tall woman in the aforementioned undisclosed location had grown a few inches, so I was no longer "tall." Hey, these things happen.
I went back to look for more, and finally found four more pair. I wasn't getting desperate yet: oh no. Just a little less picky. I decided that "mid-rise" (which is something like "low-rise" without the butt crack thing) might be okay, and that gave me a few more pairs to work with.
I went to try them on.
Oh, HELL no.
I met Rob as I was coming out of the dressing room. "Here," he said, trying to hand me a stack of jeans. "I found some more."
I looked at them. They were 10 tall. I pushed them back at him.
"No, Rob, we're looking for 12 average," I told him.
He stared at me. "Um ... what?" he asked. "But I thought you said ..."
"Rob," I interrupted him, "we are changing gears."
"Yesssssss," Rob said slowly, "I see that."
He gave me a pained and long-suffering look over his shoulder and shook his head, muttering as he returned to the jeans racks.
I went back again. I tried on more here and there. I tried on some others that Rob found, but nothing -- NOTHING -- was right. Not even close.
I had pretty much had it. I was done with this. There was nothing left to do but the almost unthinkable.
"Rob," I declared, staring purposefully across the store, "That's it. Fuck it. We are going to the men's section."
I stomped off towards the land of 32x30's while Rob followed in my wake.
I knew I would find something there -- I just had to.
[to be continued here]