The size of a problem sometimes can be measured in inches. In my case, however, the measurement itself poses a new problem.
Being neither tall nor short, thin nor fat, lands one in a confundatory middle ground that clothiers must assume can be served with approximates and guesstimates. The exceptionally-sized people of the world might find it frustrating never to be able to purchase clothes off the rack, but what they don't appreciate is the Law of Acceptability those of us who can have had to accept.
Do these jeans look good on me? Well, they poof out around your ass and make your legs appear bowed. But they fit around the waist and hang well at your heel. They're acceptable.
And don't get me started on shirts and suit jackets.
When I buy a suit, it's a silly exercise for the tailor to even wrap the tape measure around my chest. I need a forty-three regular. Okay? Got that? A forty-three regular. Now, go into any men's clothing store and try to find me a forty-three regular. Regardless of the store, there are always only five crammed between the forty-twos and forty-fours, and they look like they've been hanging there since 1944.
Shirts are easier to find, but we go right back to the Law of Acceptability.
How does this shirt look? Well, it's baggy around your belly and you're tucking three extra feet of shirt into your pants. But it fits you well across the chest and the collar is roomy enough that your head doesn't look like it's going to pop off. It's acceptable.
A large shirt is just small enough to restrict breathing, pinch my armpits, and untuck if I so much as think of moving. An extra-large shirt, which is what I end up buying, can sometimes make me look like a kid who raided his Daddy's closet for a game of dress-up.
Maybe someday, before I die, someone somewhere will realize that people come in all shapes and sizes, including those in between the ones they already think we are.
© 2011 Mark Feggeler