I needed to get a new pair of pants to wear to my high school reunion. I hadn’t bought any new clothes since I started Weight Watchers and I was starting to look like a cancer patient in my old jeans. I had to wait until Meka had a free moment away from school. My biggest fear was picking something out, bringing it home, getting dressed and walking into our bedroom. Meka would take one look at me and say, “You’re not wearing that, are you?”
We drove over to Marshall Field’s Macy’s at the mall to get something nice. I staked out my claim on a fitting room while Meka searched the aisles of the men’s department, looking for suitable clothing. Daniel was our go-between.
“Daniel,” I’d say though the louvered door, “tell Mommy I need to get a size lower.”
“MOM! DAD NEEDS A SMALLER SIZE!”
Based on my belt, I figured I’d lost an inch around my middle. Meka handed me a couple of pairs of pants to try on. They were huge and threatened to drop down to my ankles if I didn’t put my fingers in the belt loops. Meka went off to get some different pants a size smaller while I practiced Hammer Time in front of the full length mirror. The next size was too big as well. So was the third. She finally came back with a pair of khakis that had a waist size I hadn’t seen on me since my freshman year in college. There was no way I had lost that much weight!
To my utter shock and disbelief, they fit just fine. I was suspicious. I filled my pockets and bent over. Blood still circulated to my legs. That was enough for me! I got back into my old baggy pants and folded up my new ones for the ride home. The mall was closing, but I bought them just under the wire. As we were walking out to the parking lot, I remarked I should stop at Wal Mart and pick up a couple of pairs of jeans, just for bumming around the house. It wouldn’t take very long. I knew what size I was now.
“Well, you’d still want to try them on,” said Meka. “Nicer stores tend to be more generous in their measurements.” Excuse me? It turns out one of the main reasons women like to shop at nicer stores is because they might be a size 12 at Wal Mart, but at Macy’s – for a couple of extra zeroes on the price tag – they can be a size 8. I have never understood women’s sizes, so I figured it was probably pretty easy to screw around with them. Men – on the other hand – have pretty straightforward measurements: waist and inseam. If my waist was four inches less than it had been, that was it. I was four inches thinner. Still, I respect Meka’s sense of style. I was shopping at Wal Mart a couple of days later and tried on a pair of jeans before I threw them in the cart. Would you believe it? They had the same waist measurement as the khakis from Macy’s and I couldn’t even zip them up! I ended up going up two sizes to find some that were comfortable. While that’s still two inches less than I was, frankly I felt kind of used.