My XL Problem with Suburban Sprawl

Everyone is so concerned with Suburban Sprawl — the rape of the countryside, the never-ending expansion of the suburbs.

I’m concerned with my own suburban sprawl. The one I’m sitting on right now as I type this post.

See, I’m spending my summer in “the country,” as we city folk like to say, and instead of my usual 3.5-4 miles a day of walking just as a matter of course, I’d say I do about, oh, I don’t know, ten feet of walking. I’m exercising and all that. I’m trying to use my bike to run small errands. But it just isn’t the suburban/country way. This is a car society. And what with the GIANT SUV’s everyone drives around here (understandable, of course. I mean, Long Island is SO very mountainous, with ton of treacherous roads.) there isn’t much room for me on my foot-brakes-only circa 1972 cruiser. So I’m sitting a lot. In my car, at the computer. While waiting on line at Waldbaums. (Hey, once you’re a sitter, you’ll sit anywhere.)

The scale is staying pretty much the same. (I’ve been trying to lose the same ten pounds for twenty years.) But the sprawl is happening. I can feel it. And then, the other night, I got confirmation. I went on the MyShape website, where I was told to submit my measurements to find clothing perfectly proportioned for me.

Taking my measurements was an experience only a tad less traumatizing than trying on bathing suits, or say, sticking knitting needles in my eyes. But I thought the website’s premise made sense: if they knew EXACTLY what my body shape/size was, they could pick the right clothing to flatter (i.e. camouflage) that body.

So measure I did, and clicked to see what magical recipe for making me look fabulous these guys would come up with.

Yeah.

Seems my measurements make me a perfect candidate for tent-like dresses that would be overwhelming on a pre-op Star Jones, flow-y tops even Stevie Nicks would find too much, and perfectly attractive looking pants in size XL. Yes, you heard me XL.

Now wait a minute, I wear an 8 or a 10. (Well, mostly a ten, but sometimes an 8, and at Old Navy, even a 6 now and then. Gotta love that vanity sizing.) So either the sprawl is worse than I thought, the website has gone kablooey, or I’ve been wearing my clothing WAY too tight for WAY too long.

But what really gets me mad is how much that XL on the screen freaked me out. I was the same size after it appeared on my computer screen as I was before it nearly threw me into a depression that only a wheel of Brie and a large baguette could shake. But that didn’t matter. I was devastated. I almost went for those knitting needles and had an Oedipus moment. Or at the very least, went for the wheel of Brie.

That XL made me wonder if I have such a skewed image of myself that I have XL moments in other aspects of my life. For instance, I like to think I’m pretty funny. But is everyone just giving me an XL roll of the eyes behind my back? I like to think that I’m still young enough to get by without foundation. But am I just revealing my XL age-spots to the world? And those septuagenarians I wrote about last week. Maybe I was simple XL-ly deluded. Maybe even the old-farts aren’t checking me out anymore.

So I think I have to go with the Kablooey theory. The website just got it all wrong. Or I measured all wrong. Or MyShape is part of a vast skinny-woman conspiracy to make the rest of feel even less good about ourselves.

I don’t know what the real deal is, but in the meantime, I’m shopping exclusively at Old Navy. Let’s hear it for Vanity Sizing!!

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