Wednesday, April 17, 2002

So what is the point of clothing sizes? The system is meaningless. The numbers are arbitrary. And I'm talking about women's pant sizes in particular, because from what I understand, a pair of men's pants can be purchased simply by knowing the raw circumference of a man's waist. How logical and man-like.

With women's pants, the size is not so much a measurement as it is a value system.

Take the self-worth test! It's easy and fun. First, reach behind you and find the little tag with the number on it. Okay? Now say the number out loud. Still with us? Did I lose anyone? Now, say the number really loud and imagine that you've just shouted your size to a skinny saleswoman across the crowded floor of a Lord & Taylor. If you still feel like eating anything for lunch other than iceberg lettuce and a packet of NutriSweet, congratulations! You passed.

I've heard there are actually women out there who buy clothes because they fit, regardless of the size. I think these might actually be mannequins come to life in some strange, magical midnight mall miracle! At any rate, I'm not one of them.

Suppose you want a pair of leather pants, for whatever reason. Pretend it's Halloween and you're going as a cow. Whatever.

If you're like most women in America, you wear a size 14. You head to one of the trendy little racks of pants in a trendy little store frequented by multicolored teenagers, and you look for a pair of size 14 pants.

You will browse the various racks and find nothing above a size 5. (Because the trendiest clothes come in odd sizes, just to rub your nose in the fact that if you are normally a size 8, there's no way you'll manage to squeeze into a 7. You'll have to go up a size to a 9. And down a notch on the self-worth scale.)

Do you start to get the feeling that a size 14 butt is not supposed to be wearing this particular style of trendy pants? These pants are just too cool to be caught dead on your sorry butt.

Even the leather. Which will be caught dead on just about anything else -- it has no choice.

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