I went clothes shopping today at the Gettysburg Outlets.
There I was, minding my own business walking past the stores, when I happened to glance in the window of one of those clothing stores for people in their teens and maybe their early twenties. I don’t even remember what the store was anymore, but I glanced in as I meandered by.
And there, beckoning, calling, frantically waving at me, was a gorgeous fluffy white vest. I stopped dead in my tracks. What an exquisite piece of cloth. It looked like one of those sheepskin rugs that Ikea used to sell for people to put in front of their fireplaces and roll around on, naked. Oh, come on, that’s the only reason people bought those rugs and you know it. If you couldn’t provide evidence that you had a fireplace in your home they wouldn’t let you buy the rug. I remember there was a big scandal because people were taking pictures of other people’s fireplaces and trying to pass them off as their own. It was all over the news in the mid 90’s.
I had to touch the fluffy vest. Had to.
I ventured in to the store with the music too loud and the spotty teenagers tagging along behind their parents and I felt that gorgeous vest. It was soft. It was fluffy. It felt like a baby bunny. And it was half off.
I had to have it, teenager store or no.
As I walked through the store to the fitting room with my cheek lightly resting against the soft fur of the vest, I imagined how gorgeous I would look wearing my new bunny fur, sheepskin vest.
I would wear the vest and my hair would puff out in gentle waves. My skin would be soft and smooth and I might even get an alabaster brow. (Nod to fans of Anne Shirley.) Darling Husband would take one look at me and fall even further under my womanly spell. He would tell me how beautiful I am and coo love poems to me in Italian. Well, maybe not coo. I don’t suppose that men coo. Well, whatever it is that manly men do, he would do. Because Darling Husband is certainly a manly man, of course. He wouldn’t be caught dead cooing.
And all this for half off the retail value!
This, this is how I would look:
And then I tried it on.
Why, oh why did I even bother trying it on? Why couldn’t I have stayed in that happy place where I was beautiful and desirable and 18 years old again? No. I had to go and try it on.
And when I did, I looked short and squat and every single second of my 40 years. It didn’t help that Boy11 had a sleepover birthday party the night before and no one got much sleep. The lines on my face and the bags under my eyes were deeper and baggier than ever. The vest was supposed to be size small, but it fit on me about as well as a puffy vest from a men’s Big and Tall store would fit.
Basically, I looked like an Ewok wearing a tauntaun skin. (Look it up in wookieepedia if you need pictures.)
Here. Here is what I actually looked like in that hideous fake fuzz vest:
Not the svelte young thing of my imagination that could inspire men to give double takes and coo sweet nothings to me in Italian. Nobody’s double taking, unless it’s the same double take you give the bearded lady at the circus. I mean, seriously. Can you picture me showing up at church wearing that? Or to Soup Day? In a big old puff of fake fuzz? For Christmas last year we got Boy8 a fluffy bathmat. He loves fluffy bathmats. This vest looks pretty much exactly like Boy8’s fluffy bathmat.
I scuttled out of the store, head down, past the teenagers and their parents and found a store for grownups. I ended up buying three sensible button down shirts and a pair of jeans.
Huh. Just realized I have a fireplace now. I wonder whether Ikea still sells those sheepskin rugs?