My worst fat girl shopping experience (and there have been many of them) came at the end of senior year of high school. Boys and girls wore robes in our two school colors, red and white, to graduation. We did this so they could seat us in the shape of a big “M”, the first initial of my school’s name, and take a picture to hang on the guidance counselor’s wall.
However, the white robes weren’t a solid white, just a cheap, kind of shear, nylon. If you wore anything dark under it, it looked tacky. Since guys would be wearing darkly colored suits, they made the girls wear the white robes with white or lightly colored pastel dresses under them. You had to comply or risk not being able to participate in the ceremony.
Yes, my high school made a 260-pound teenage girl buy a white dress. I should have sued them. I’m sure I would have had a case. Cruel and unusual punishment? Child abuse, maybe?
Shopping for a white dress that didn’t make me look like a bloated, cloud led to not one, but two horrible experiences. On Saturday, my mom and I went to several stores looking for a dress and of course completely struck out. There really isn’t much of a demand for white dresses at stores like Lane Bryant. Uh, maybe because they make huge people look even larger? I came home completely demoralized and promptly ran up to my room to bawl in the dark over how fat I was.
So of course, this was when my older brother knocks on the door with his friend who gave him a ride up from college. They were here for my graduation ceremony. They wanted to surprise me. Well, the surprise was on them because they were a week early. Oops. I had to then come downstairs and converse nicely with my brother and his friend and pretend my eyes were not completely bloodshot from my self-pitying cry-fest. Oh, what a lovely evening.
Act two of PastaQueen’s Embarrassment Festival 1998 came the next day when my mother and I ended up at Catherine’s. We were browsing the racks when who do we run into but Mrs. N, my kind-of-kooky freshman English teacher. Now, seeing teachers outside of school grounds, walking around like normal people, has always freaked me out. I had run into my math teacher at Kroger twice and the second time I actually ducked behind the magazine section so she wouldn’t see me. Running into a teacher while completing a drudging task was double creepy.
My mom, Mrs. N, and I all went back to the dressing rooms, when guess who else appears? Why, it’s Mrs. H, my current senior English teacher. All of us. Together. At Catherine’s. At the exact same time. Watching me try on dresses that made me look like the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man. If this had been a scene in a movie, no one in the audience would believe it could actually happen. God, you with your wacky sense of humor, you!
In the end, I did find a dress that didn’t look completely horrible. I never wore it again after that. I’ve never run into my former English teachers while shopping either, but only because I moved to another state.