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  • Paul Davidson

The Rules of Trying on Clothing

Everyone has baggage.

Some people have baggage from horrible, psycho relationships that cause them to be overly cautious when finding a new person to spend time with. Some people refuse to play board games (it’s true) due to childhood scenarios with overly-competitive family members. And other people (like me) have real baggage when it comes to, yes you guessed it, trying on clothes.

I know I’m not the only one.

As a kid, I was involved in the usual “back to school” shopping sprees with my mother. The kinds where she would follow me around the mall and tell me what clothing was hip and what clothing I desperately needed her to buy for me so that I would be in-the-loop of current trends. It always involved getting shirts and jeans and socks and what not. And the most horrific part of it all was that I had to take said items of clothing into the dressing rooms, and get this… I had to emerge from said dressing rooms with said hip clothing items on and model them for my mother.

I feel the urge to heave just writing about it.

As I grew older and grew more of an independent personality (but not independent enough, yet, to have money to buy my own school clothing), I rebelled against the “trying on clothes for your mother in front of the entire store and the entire public in the middle of a mall” scenario and began to issue my own rules to my mother in regards to this scenario. Some of those rules included:

1. I will not try on clothing in the dressing room and walk out so that you can see how they “hang” on me.

2. I will not allow you to come to the door of the dressing room and peek inside to see how said clothing fits.

3. I will not allow you to hold up shirts or pants in front of my body, outside of the privacy of the dressing rooms in an attempt to “visually determine” if said clothing will fit my body.

4. I will not allow you in the dressing rooms, either.

5. I will shout to you from behind the closed dressing room doors and tell you if the clothing (a) fits good, (b) fits just OK or (c) doesn’t fit at all.

6. Any violation of any of the above rules will result in the end of said shopping spree, even though you’re the one with the money offering to take me on said shopping spree and any other kid would be jealous to know that such events were taking place in, yes, their same city.

My baggage soon was transferred onto my mother, who regularly would pull a shirt off a rack and go to hold it up in front of my body (via instinct, I suppose) and then realizing at the last minute as she was about to touch shirt to chest (and see my eyes glaring) — she would pull back the shirt as if she’s just touched fire and mutter something like “Oh my god!” or “Aaaah!”

My baggage became her baggage which resulted in shopping sprees with no baggage (i.e., bags of clothing).

Today, such baggage still remains intact. When I go to a store, I hardly ever like to try on anything. I do not like to parade around the carpeted floors of Abercrombie or Express or “The Republic” with pants or shoes or socks or shirts on for “anyone” to evaluate. I think I’m old enough and mature enough to determine if something fits and if I like it and if it will look good on me. I do not need to do a simulated walk down a simulated runway with turns and rotations just to determine if me and the clothing should become one. My baggage, about trying on clothing in public, obviously remains intact.

It is a sad, sad, state of affairs.

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