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Monday, April 16

Madly Mall Missing

It has been a well documented fact that I can’t do any clothing shopping in Japan. I have had articles of clothing yanked from my yearning hands while being pushed towards the door, amidst gasps of “won’t fit your big old American booty” on a couple of occasions. (I still refute their belief that I wouldn’t fit into a stretchy tie-died skirt. Although looking back now, I think they did me a favor.) Honestly, I am a size 14 and pretty darn happy with that. Did you know that was Marilyn Monroe’s size? I could be a dead ringer. I jest. The point I wish to make is that I am quite comfortable in my own skin these days even if for years prior, I wasn’t.

Since I moved here, I have resorted to online shopping with my back-home standard stores. Frankly, because I know my size and fit with these standards and shopping in a Japanese store can often bruise even the strongest of egos. On rare occasions that I have tried to shop here in Japan, it has always been at one of the many Gap stores that sprinkle across the landscape. (And never for pants. Floods just aren’t the look I am going for... at least not since junior high.) In my now nine months here in Japan, I have been to Gap a total of five times. (For those that know me personally, would you please send me a cash award in honor of how very good I have become at overcoming my little addiction… never mind that it was forced mall withdrawal?) This is where yet another moment of my ignorance has reared its ugly head.

Each time I have been to Gap, on my way to the dressing room I was handed a gauzy bag. On each of these trips, not once have known what the hell the bag was for. But I took it with a big smile and a slight bow of the head and locked myself in the dressing room to try on my prospects. After I huffed and puffed through try-ons, I would then try to squeeze all the stuff I didn’t want into this flimsy, little bag, guessing that I was to use it to return the rejects. Oh, how very wrong and how very stupid it was.

Yesterday a Japanese-American girlfriend who shares my size and knows my difficulty here took me shopping. We went to an area called Jiyugaoko that sported streets full of little shops including a Talbots. While I am not normally a Talbots person due to expense, I am indeed desperate… which totally negates the price issue. As we headed in to the dressing rooms armed with mounds of potentials, I asked my friend about those little, gauzy bags and what there usage might be. Would you know that you are supposed to put it over your head when you try on things so you don’t get your cheap, sparkly lipgloss all over the clothing? In one tiny instant of memory at those previous trips to the Gap… stuffing all that clothing into what was actually a head bag… handing it over to the dressing room attendant with a big, stupid grin on my face… my face glowed red at the thought.


Of course I had to explain my maddening blush to my friend which only made it worse.

As if adding another insult to my blushing injury, Talbots’ dressing rooms offer head bags too. With directions on the box you take them from. If only I had kept my mouth shut for one more minute, I could have hid in the dressing room for the next twenty minutes until the embarrassment died from my stained cheeks, leaving my friend to never have been the wiser about her poor decision to make friends with someone so terribly clueless. And the looks of laughable curiosity would have been left indelibly only in my mind.

That book that everyone thinks they should write in their lifetime? Mine will be entitled, “How Not To Play Such A Damn Fool.”

I think online shopping is all I can handle from here on out.


Mike S said...

Y'All NEED a trip to Korea for some sensible shopping. Plan on spending a few days:)

Kimono Karen said...

We are totally planning on Korea! Find me a cheap flight and I am there! I've heard the rumors about the shopping... God in heaven it sounds wonderful.