Back home, I always felt, I was, um… how do I put it… a tad outsized for Indian clothes. It was never felt more than during a stroll down Linking road, where shopkeepers spotting an easy target for daylight robbery would very politely invite me to buy their stuff. Didn’t matter what it was. Skirts, shoes, tops, jeans… anything. On spotting something I liked (I’m not that hard to please, I generally like most things that are in a passable shape and as long as it isn’t ‘either-I’m-a-film-star-who-wants-to-be-noticed-or-I’ve-walked-out-of-a-balaji-soap’ loud), I would ask for it in my size. That’s when they’d finally appraise my size (all this while the lure of easy money having blinded them), half-heartedly rummage in the back and then shake their head sorrowfully and say, ‘ aapke size mein nahin milega’ Hmm… road block. Undeterred, I would ask, ‘toh phir mere size mein kya hai?’ scratching his head at this daunting challenge, he will point me to a man’s shirt/ shoe and say- ‘yeh milega.’ Gee, thanks! I feel special.
Which was the reason when I moved to this country, I though finally, shopping should be a breeze. I mean, I know I lie somewhere between size 10 and size 12 (does NOT mean I’m a size 11. it means that sometimes I fit into a size 10, and sometimes 12.) and considering that size 12 is though to be the average size for most women here, how hard can it get? I’m finally average!
So imaging my surprise the other day when I open to newspapers the other day to find a hue and cry being made about some pop start chappie using models of size 12 and above in his music video and extolling the virtue of ‘big’ girls’. Eh? Size 12 is now big? So what average? Size 8 is thin (It is. You have to be miniscule to fit into size 8), so is the new average size 10? But what if you’re size 12? Will you now walk into a store for the plus sizes? And does that make size 14 fat?? I decided to find out for myself.
So I march into a popular clothing store and demand to see the size 12 cardigans. ‘erm, sorry, but they don’t seem to be here.’ Says the helpful shop assistant. ‘no shit, sherlock!’ was what I thought, but ‘ well, could you locate some for me?’ was what I asked. After about 4 minutes of asking the shop manager and a couple of other people who seemed to be wandering around aimlessly, she informs me ‘ah! Yes. We’ve run out of those. Sorry.’ And then walks away beaming, confident that she has done well, already moving on to her next hapless victim. She, poor thing, has no idea that this has increased my conundrum. I now know that size 12 is very very average, seeing that they have run out of all things in that size. But that now means that everything I like will first get sold out in size 12, thus, I’m back to square 1. i.e. me minus clothes I like.
As for shoes… apparently, I just have large feet for a woman. I have to accept that and stop blaming the countries I live in. I am currently on the lookout for ultra-feminine men’s shoes. Anyone know where the gay men shop?