My home is not a place, it is people.
When Shopping Goes Bad
Published on October 8, 2006 By Cordelia In Humor

I hate everyone. I just want to clear that up right now. I hate everyone and I’m not apologizing for it. I include myself in this group, so don’t assume I’m playing high and mighty. I hate everyone and they all deserve it, including me. 

I went shopping today, and therefore I’m pissed off. 

I get pissed off every time I go shopping. In truth I probably just didn’t eat a big enough breakfast to deal with the stress and chaos of shopping, but there is something about shopping that leads to fear, anger, and inevitably to despair. 

Question: when did they stop making clothing for women and begin making clothing for men that they then slap some embroidery on and call “for women”? I thought real women had curves. And it’s not just because of the movie of that name. I am a woman. I have curves. That means that when I try on a pair of jeans they should go IN at the waist, not OUT. Not STRAIGHT UP. IN. Admittedly, there are probably some women who don’t curve in at the waist, but can I possibly be the only one whose ass is bigger than her waist? Seriously? 

I recently lost some weight and am now in the position of having to replace my entire wardrobe. This is much more difficult than I thought it would be. Expense aside, it takes effort to put together a wardrobe that doesn’t look like it was picked randomly out of the neighborhood garbage and since I can never find more than one or two pieces at a time, I am required to go out most weekends to shop. And I. despise. it. 

I always have such high hopes when I set out. Admittedly, I keep hoping I’ll find everything I need in one local store and then I’ll never have to go shopping again, but at the very least I can hope to find one or two things that seem to be pressing needs that week. Like pants that don’t fall down when I stand up. Seems like a good career move to have that in my wardrobe.  

So I go out. I try clothing on. And then I begin to realize that there is something fundamentally wrong with our culture. 

Seems like a big leap, doesn’t it? But follow me: I go shopping. I see a bunch of dead-eyed people endlessly milling around shops, and letting their souls get sucked out by mother culture. As I progress through my shopping trip I feel myself becoming like them – or rather, the illusion that I’m not like them gets stripped away. 

While the need to be clothed is understandable, especially to protect yourself from the elements, the need to “look your best” is a little more mysterious. If I am an enlightened, self-aware being then why do I care what other people think of how I look? Granted, I may not be an enlightened and self-aware being. Maybe I’m just horribly, horribly vain and that’s where all this stress comes from. In reality I suppose I should just buy whatever pants fit my thunder thighs and then slap a belt on. Or better yet, keep all the ill-fitting clothing I already own and safety-pin them so they don’t fall down (most of them lack belt-loops).  

The dance of destruction we know as “shopping” all comes down to what other people think, does it not? You FEEL your best when you LOOK your best. And how do most people know when they look their best? Other people tell them.  

I tend to get upset when people compliment me. At 34 years old I've learned to smile tightly and saying “thank you” when I receive a compliment because most people consider it rude to have their casual “you look nice today” thrown back in their face with a dirty look and an angry “are you mocking me”?

Compliments are an insult to me, to my intelligence, and to all mankind. You may question me and my intelligence but I’m not exaggerating when I say all mankind. Compliments are simply another means to perpetuate mother culture. Positive reinforcement is used to train dogs and children in the proper way to behave. Wear these pants with these shoes and God Forbid you should ever wear colored stockings with a sleeveless top. You look mahhhvelous, dahling!

There are rules to the way we dress, just as there are rules about the way we are supposed to eat, the way we are supposed to groom ourselves, the way we behave in certain settings and oh so very much more. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes these rules are necessary and useful. How would it be if we all just drove all over the road however we wanted to? But I feel trapped by these rules, and weighted down. This is why I don’t go swimming: I’ll sink like a stone. 

Make no mistake about it; the reason I’m upset right now is not because I’m a revolutionary and I alone thwart society with my rebel ways. I’m upset for precisely the opposite reason. It’s not even so much that I see how society should be, and isn’t. I have NO answers. I can offer no alternatives. I, myself, perpetuate the rules of society and I hate myself for it. And I hate all of you, too. 

So you see here how one shopping trip can turn into a long bout of existential angst. The best I can do is come home and fix myself a nice cup of tea or a straight shot of bourbon (or gasoline, or whatever is handy) and try to calm down. This angst is always there. There is no escape. There are times when I can shove it all down into the oubliette that I laughingly call a soul, but it sits there waiting for the next shameful, humiliating “compliment” to resurrect itself and devastate me. 

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go watch America’s Next Top Model. 

Comments (Page 1)
2 Pages1 2 
on Oct 08, 2006
Hilarious. And you know what? I feel so much the same way you do. I've given up on trying to fit the social norm for shopping and dressing. Lucky me I don't have to live up to any standard of Corporate America's ever-changing styles. But I too hate the empty look in people's eyes & souls at shopping malls. And I don't want to be like them.

I'm all about safety pins too. It makes getting dressed a lot easier. No extra trips to the store, y'know?

Sure I look like crap, but I save a lot of money and emotional angst by avoiding the malls!

But I'm sure you look great. You're a professional lady who's just slimmed down. Good for you. (That's not a compliment. Just an observation )
on Oct 08, 2006

That's not a compliment. Just an observation

Yeah, don't make me come over there!

Thanks for reading.

on Oct 09, 2006
As a pretty fashion-naive guy, for me, clothes shopping is an exercise in speed. Find the cheapest thing that looks okay as fast as possible, then run away.

But I can't help myself Cordelia, I have to say that the above article was brilliant writing. And, yes, that is a compliment. Bring it on.
on Oct 09, 2006
The words flashing through my head right now: kindred spirit. Damn. I know EXACTLY how you feel. I have to psych myself up for weeks before I can face the malls. Shopping makes me fear I have ADD. Can't take the sensory overload... Zola wrote a book called "Ladie's Paradise" about the advent of the first mall... it's worth a read (coincidently, the start of malls saw the birth of cleptomania. When people are told they have to have something to fit in...). Worst time to shop: November/December. Talk about madness. And it's just around the corner! YEAH!
on Oct 09, 2006
Question: when did they stop making clothing for women and begin making clothing for men that they then slap some embroidery on and call “for women”? I thought real women had curves. And it’s not just because of the movie of that name. I am a woman. I have curves.

I know that movie, and I agree! I saw a woman the other day that must have been about 10 inches at the waist (and the rest of the body). I wondered how she could walk, or even breath!

Real women have curves! That is why God gave them curves, and the rest of us (read most men) love to look at them!
on Oct 09, 2006
Good Rant Cordelia! You got it off your chest!    I enjoyed reading it!
on Oct 09, 2006
You got it off your chest!

on Oct 09, 2006
I share your hatred of shopping, but for some different reasons.

But I'm going to continue to compliment you when I feel like it. I don't care what you say.

on Oct 09, 2006

Well if it makes you feel any better, I hadn't noticed the weight loss...



..Look just tell me what to say!

on Oct 11, 2006
I'm laughing at this, pretty funny without meaning to be! I understand about the clothing part, forget about just curves, how about where the sizes are concerned too! Good job on losing the weight, post a picture!

And last but not least, I do understand the anxiety about shopping, I really do, but as someone who loves to shop [even though I don't do it too often], I'm sorry, I can't join you in the loathing!!
on Oct 11, 2006

Thanks for reading everyone. I'm slowly getting over the trauma of my weekend shopping trip but today my pants are about to fall off and they have no belt loops, so clearly I'm not yet done. I think I'll revert to shopping online, which presents it's own series of problems (I create problems wherever I go).

on Oct 13, 2006


Mother Culture (or Cosmo, or whomever) has decided suspenders are not in fashion this year. Thank you for playing. Please try again.

Or perhaps it just didn't work out just me, trying to wear the rainbow suspenders a la "Mork"?

on Oct 15, 2006

Reject Mother Culture!

So many possible responses to this, but they all end up sounding weak. I shoulda taken the red pill.

So I'll just participate in the joke.

and ignore alien orders, too

But the aliens were telling me it's ok to eat all the Halloween candy early. I like the aliens. They're nice. In spite of the "probing".

on Oct 17, 2006
Lower your shields. Your biological and technological distinctivness will be added to our own. Resistance is futile. You will dress like us.
on Oct 17, 2006

You will dress like us.

Aiiiggghhh! Get away from me you drones! I already dress like you, what more do you want from me??

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