Monday, July 7, 2014

Just ...

I need to be measured for a monarch orange custom-made bridesmaid dress that I'll be ordering from the internet.

Fannie is getting hitched.

I head to a tailor's shop down the street and when I walk inside I get a gust of warm air, a smell I'll call vintage jewelry box filled with Pad Thai

The place is filled with racks of clothes. Floor-length tangerine gowns and two-piece attire befitting a West Duluth coronation. There are brass buttons and rusty broaches. No one seems to care that I could be making off with bedazzled Keds and cigarette stained veils, so I wander to the back of the shop where three women are bent over sewing machines. 

I was right about the Pad Thai. The shop's secretary/bouncer grunts and uses his chopsticks to wave me back in bounds, behind some invisible line. 

"Do you want me here?" I call. I round a corner. "How about here?"

A woman meets me at the shop's counter and tells me she can measure me for $5. Good news. I'd had no idea if this service would cost $40 or $15. Or maybe, I thought, it would be one of those goodwill freebies ensuring that I'll return to this shop if I ever need an aubergine bridal pantsuit.

Heck, maybe I'd charge them for the looksee at my navel, which has come to resemble a cartoon monster mouth. 

"$5. Okay," I say. 

Before she can break out the measuring tape, a guy comes into the store, bushwhacks his way past the Elmo fur stoles and gold spray-painted Mary Janes and says he's here to pay for his tux. 

My Tailor tells him that His Tailor has stepped out. 

"Do you know when she'll be back?" he asks. 
"That's the thing," My Tailor says. "No."
"Can I just pay you?" he asks. 
"It's not recommended," she says. 
"Ok," he says. 
"Ok," she says.

They look at each other. 

"Ok," he says again. 
"I'll tell you what," My Tailor says. "I'll give her a call today."
"Oh! Ok. Thanks," he says. "Thanks."

As he leaves the store, I wonder how long it will take him to realize that nothing just happened. 

She turns to me. 

"Sorry about that," she says and looks at me expectantly. 
I realize that she's waiting for me to take my shirt off. 

"Uh," I say, gesturing. "Here?"

The alternative seems to be the two of us squeezed into a doorless phone booth-sized fitting room. 

Before she responds I've shrugged out of my shirt. Whatever. I seem to have crossed over from someone who is uncomfortable being barefoot in public to the equivalent of just another woman at the YMCA standing naked, peppering herself with talc and giving a play-by-play on last night's episode of "Mike and Molly."

"I guess I'm wearing a sports bra so whatever," I say. 
She measures my underboob and asks if I'm a runner. 
"No," I say. "Yes. No-ish? Yes-ish."

It's so complicated. 
A truthful me would say that I am a runner, yes, deep down. But I'm continually foiled by my own unwillingness to actually, well, run. But this is about my sports bra so I keep it simple.

"I just had a baby and I'm not sure what to do with all these boobs," I say. 
"Ah! A baby," she says. "YOU LOOK GREAT!"

I have to stop saying "just" in the same sentence as "had a baby." I didn't "just" anything anymore. I had a baby. I had a baby. And I don't look great. I just look. It's not amazing that I ran a half-marathon. It's not brave that I shower more days than not. Pesky just. 

"I mean a year ago," I say. "I had a baby a year ago." 

Anyway, there is some confusion over what, exactly, is a hemline. But we get the job done, and my monster mouth smiles politely and now I can order the monarch dress.


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