Friday, March 16, 2007

When Being A Woman Sucks....

Yesterday I was invited by David (who was invited by his boss) to a Spring Ball. You know, the kind with cinderella ball gowns and champagne and glass slippers and men in tuxedos and bands playing waltzes. The ball is being put on by an Oil & Gas interest and is being attended by all sorts of O&G big wigs and little wigs and want-to-be hot shots and their dates. I imagine it is wonderful.

I enquired and found out that last year the women wore (a) cocktail dresses (b) long ball gowns (c) every glittery thing besides a tiara. Men wore dark suits or tuxes. Hence the event is "formal" which to me means that I better look divine.

Herein lies the problem. The event is 6 weeks from now. I don't own a ball gown, nor suitable cocktail attire, and I am 10 lbs (at least) over my acceptable "half nude at a party" weight. This means that I need to do the following:

- drop 10 lbs in 6 weeks and miraculously get my upper arms/shoulders into shape as well as my calves, which will be poking out the bottom of my Barbie dress.
- buy a Barbie dress
- try not to hate the whole wretched time-wasting, humiliating process.

I hate all this feminine ideal crap. Ok, let me correct - I love being a woman, I love fashion, and I'd love to wear killer clothes, but sadly, the fashion world ignores women like me - the size 8 hourglass. Ok, the fashion world ignores anyone (female,that is) with body fat.

And a cocktail dress?! I just don't like being thrust into the stiffling feminine-ideal box, which is what you are thrust into when you need to shove yourself into a stupid half-nude dress. You need to be "in shape" for one thing, preferably look 18, and have small boobs to fit into those spaghetti-strapped and strapless dresses.

My boobs are 34D, and they aren't meant for those wispy little dresses. I need a *good* strapless bra (almost impossible to find in my size) which is preferably push-up (definitely impossible). Most of the dresses, even if they do have straps, have boob compartments that are meant for a B-cup not a D. So even if I did, miraculously, find a good strapless bra, there isn't nearly enough fabric on most to cover me without half the bra showing.

And another thing...if you do the cocktail version, your legs are bare (in April!) and need to be, well, shapely and cute at least. What about those of us who aren't 15 and don't have tans and have varicose veins and very average-not-fat-but-sure-not-sexy calves and don't even wear shorts any more? Why are we forced to expose our "flaws" (i.e. our normal human qualities) in clothes made for flat-chested 100 lb girls?

Menswear is so much more forgiving. Yay for men. You just cover up in a big navy or black wool sack with pyjama legs. You can look like shit inside your suit, which most men do. You can have a fat gut, man boobs, skinny legs, no ass, a big ass, a beer gut, a hairy back, flabby arms, etc. and no one is the wiser. Meanwhile, your female cohorts are painfully squeezed into a totally unforgiving slip of scratchy fabric, so that they might be appraised and assessed in rigourous detail.

Being female sucks sometimes. Society sucks for shoving female perfection down our throats. The female ideal is the 16-year old. Once you are past that point, you are desparately made to cling to your 16-year old body. Must lose weight, must remove hair, must sculpt and dye and nip and tuck to remain a little girl with a little girl body. Must not grow up. Must not have a voice. Must not be allowed to be a person, just a fucking object. I hate it.

So...unlike most women, I am not excited about wearing a Barbie dress. It makes me feel bad about myself. It makes me feel unacceptable and unsightly and I don't even weigh 140 pounds. I can't seem to find any dress options that provide any support or coverage or structural detail. Everything is flimsy and unforgiving. I am worn out already looking for a dress, store after store, and nothing fits. I would even take something ugly if it were a good fit.

Men don't get it. It would be like sending a 200lb Dad into the boys' clothes store and telling him to "find something cute to wear."

I guess I could wear a jacket - I did buy a cute little silk ivory Eileen Fisher short jacket (50's with 3/4 sleeves) that I plan to wear over whatever dress I buy. And I started back to the gym. But still, I feel unfeminine and ungainly and ballooning when I even look at these clothes. My arms are mushy and not hard like they used to be when I went to the gym 6 days a week and weighed 120lbs. And you know what - I don't even want them to be hard any more. I just want to be allowed to BE MYSELF. And that means not being a total hard body anorexic. However, the world won't let women BE. It won't let them be themselves. It forces us into these fucking moulds that I despise, which are so restrictive, so impossible, so dismally narrowly horrible.

And by the way - am I alone here? Why are there not cool, sexy, interesting, stylish, well-tailored, high-quality clothes for women over 30? Everyone is either supposed to be a "Mom jean" type or a little 90lb girly girl. I haven't bought jeans in 2 years since I can't fit my size 4 waist and size 8 thighs into anything. My hourglass figure went out of style in the 50's and I can't find a thing to wear that doesn't look middle-aged.



Anyway, I am ranting and drifting all over the place and I don't mean to. I guess all I want to say is that it makes me annoyed that I need to expose myself and feel bad about myself for an event that is supposed to be fun. Instead, I need to go half naked to some function in an ill-fitting dress that it took me 6 weekends to find. I don't want to waste my time and money on this, on something that frustrates me, and angers me, and insults me!! I can't find a dress anywhere, I know, along with the jeans and everything else, that will fit my body right. I'm not the target demographic for slutty white trash ball gowns I guess.

And sadly - the answer to my prayers does exist. I went to Holt Renfrew and saw a gorgeously stunning Chanel dress which would look amazing on me. Thanks to the vanity sizing, the size 4 or 6 would be plenty large. It was refined and classic looking, with a cute little Jackie O jacket over an empire wasted dress made from a heavy woven fabric (hence structure and coverage) with lots of elegant detailing in pearl and ribbon. So pretty. And only $2300!

I know I need to relax. Hey, I am too serious. I have way too many feminist (humanist) thoughts to be a proper lady. I need to embrace my inner girly girl and buy a poofy dress and act perky and cheery. In the end, I will buy a conservative dress and a little cute jacket to wear over it and will feel entirely under-dressed and too serious next to the dim-witted ignorance-is-bliss party girls who love the chance to wear a poofy dress and heave their wee boobs on a platter. Ugh. Sometimes I wish I could think less and be more of a standard-issue life is wonderful kind of girl. But the truth is, life isnt wonderful. It is very unfair to women and I am sorry for noticing that.


  1. Great post. I can so empathize. The uncomfortable support garments, the itchy dress, the angst leading up to the event...

    Thanks for the comment on my blog. Quick OT question: How did you find it?

    Best of luck with your black tie event.

  2. I have a great idea - dress like Diane Keaton. Be both comfortable, and glamorous. You will be the belle of the ball, and every woman will be wondering why the hell she didn't think of it. what a bunch of dumb barbies. just a thought

  3. amen to that post. i'm with deborah, just be as covered up as you want, and let other ppl. deal with it. you'll look elegant and feel sexy. what more could you want?

    seriously, good luck finding a dress.

  4. You will be gorgeous! I could never fit in (even if I was teeny, which I'm SO not) because honestly, I hate black. BORING. I like lots of flashy colors and styles.

    Wear what you like, and your attitude will make you the belle of the ball ;)

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