I think it was To Kill a Mockingbird that imprinted on me the need to walk in someone else’s shoes to really understand them. To withhold judgment until you know the whole story.

Now that I’ve spent a bit of time—figuratively and literally—walking around in women’s shoes, I do have somewhat of a better sense of what clothing does to women.

I’m 6’3″ tall and go between 210 and 220 pounds. While people tell me otherwise, I feel fat. I’m in reasonably good shape thanks to some fitness classes and trying to stay active.

But wow does feminine fashion hit you over the head with your size. I wear anything from a 10 to a 16 depending on the label, and even then sometimes it’s just not happening. I come from a world where I know my sizes pretty well: in men’s clothing, I’m a large on top and a medium on the bottom. Most of the time.

That means I can shop online, add things to my cart, and I’m done. It’s just a hopeless task for women, as you can click and hope, but you won’t know until the stuff gets there.

Of course, the bigger trick for me is fitting rooms. With the furore going on with bathrooms and trans people lately, I don’t dare try on stuff in person. Between being thin-skinned and non-confrontational, it just isn’t worth the pile of stress to me.

That means I get to click or pull of a rack, check out, and hope.

This has been difficult in the last few weeks as the end of the term took a toll on my body. I stress eat, you see. Well, I stress snack. My body starts to really crave carbohydrates. And when you have about 12 hours of grading to do plus a bunch of other bureaucracy, sometimes it’s not worth the fight with yourself.

Which means I’ve put a few pounds back on. The term is over now, and I’m trying not to drive at all, instead biking and walking for the things I need to get. I’ll break that tomorrow when I go grocery shopping, as I’m really low on food and don’t want to try to carry that all uphill on a fully loaded bike. But I’m trying to be optimistic that it will come back off, this weight.

Still. My women’s clothing isn’t helping on the confidence front with all of that. It’s why, while the double-standard annoys me, I’m glad that women can dress more masculine and have it be socially acceptable. It’s just a lot easier.

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