Friday, September 16, 2005

Role Reversal

I remember it so well. I'm meant to be going shopping with Zoe tomorrow. I have an insatiable need for new clothes (or at least to try on every size 14 I can get my hands on following last night's achievements), whereas she told me last time we met up that she's put on three dress sizes in the past year or so. Which means that, from a rough guess, she must be pretty much where I was before I started losing weight, if not bigger. She's just sent me an email saying she might look for some shoes or a handbag tomorrow.

Oh yes. I've been there. The horror when you go shopping with a skinny friend and realise that you just can't get clothes from the same shops as each other. (Miraculously, if I genuinely am a size 14, and a surprising number of clothes seem to confirm that analysis, I'm too thin for the fat shop! Maybe that's a reason to go in there, so I can try some clothes on and check, but how gutted would I be if they fit...). How I remember the solace that comes from the fact that you can never be too big to buy a handbag or a pair of shoes*.

*except you can, or at least you can be too fat and have feet too big for normal shoes, as I moaned earlier in the week. And apparently some people's feet do shrink when they lose weight. I'm still hoping for that one to happen. In my case even accessories didn't really do the job because I didn't see the point of trying to tart up something fundamentally unattractive. A fat girl with a nice handbag and shoes is still a fat girl. Some people see it differently and make the best of what they have. I wasn't one of those people, I didn't see the point. But still, when forced to shop, shoes and handbags would be the limit of my aspirations.

Back to the point. I'm really at a loss for what to do. I've never been the skinny friend in this situation before (the use of the word skinny here is entirely comparative), and I don't know how to handle it. I can't just drag her into the thin shops where I know she won't find anything so that I can try to shoehorn my arse into increasingly small jeans, but will it draw attention to the fact if I volunteer a trip to the fat shop? (actually, I might have to squeeze that one in because I will probably want to look at their boots) Even though I feel a million times better than I did at that weight and have a tendency to come over all evangelical sometimes with my "running is the best thing ever and I can't imagine going back to being that size" spiel, I don't want to make her feel like I'm judging her for her weight or trying to pressurise her into losing it.

It will be odd for me, very strange, to go shopping and to be the thin one. I remember sitting sulkily in shops as a teenager while my sister tried clothes on that I never dreamed I'd get into (hee hee!). I remember shopping in the fat shop at 16 for school clothes while getting the sympathetic but still makes you feel bad commentary from my mother "we can cut the labels out, no-one needs to know". I remember the pain of when it first got to the stage where I was too big for the normal shops. I was "still growing" at that stage, then I realised I'd grown right out of a normal size and into the elasticated wilderness beyond. I remember a world of pain and humiliation associated with shopping as I tried to convince myself I could still wear a size 18 despite the fact that even 20s didn't fasten, thereby setting myself up for more humiliation when I tried the 18s on. I hated every second of it. I suppose it kept me solvent through university, but shopping was the worst thing in the world (particularly on those dreadful days when I needed both shoes and clothes).

Maybe I'm being over sensitive on her behalf, but I've been there, and I know how much I used to hate shopping in places I couldn't even dream of trying anything on. I just used to hate shopping, full stop. It shouldn't be an issue, we're mates, and I don't want to make it one. She knows where I've been and what I've done for myself. But I don't want the fact that I'm suddenly so much thinner than she is to get between us by accidentally doing or saying the wrong thing. I don't want her to feel like I'm leaving her behind while I go on this quest for a new body.

Ah well, there's one sure cure - 2 for 1 cocktails at Mononi when we've finished!


Blogger kathrynoh said...

2 for 1 cocktails sound like they'd solve a lot :) Hope the shopping goes well and your friend finds some nice stuff.

6:15 AM  

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