I went into a changing room today. I did not want to cry. That’s the first time probably since I was at university, which is about 25 years ago.
Let’s be clear. Changing rooms are the pits. They are too small and too hot. The curtains never close properly so you are in a constant state of panic about people sneaking a peek or even worse, just opening the damn thing fully for a good eyeful of you trying to squeeze into a pair of skinny jeans not to mention the abundance of cellulite, non matching underwear, BIG knickers, grey knickers, sometimes knickers that have departed with said skinny jeans on the way down. And hairy legs. Not good.
This happened to me once in Hobbs in Covent Garden. My eldest must have been about 4. The changing room was a curtained off corner that faced straight onto the shop floor. Central London is a busy place. This was a busy place. She was looking for me, figured that I was behind the curtain and opened it with what can only be described as a professional flourish and shouted very loudly “Mummy!!” Yes. There I was. All of me. Looking at all of you. If you were there that day and are still receiving therapy, I am so sorry.
And the lighting – always the lighting! Are these shop people really that stupid to think that if they make you look sallow, pale, wrinkly and grey (ok, so you match your knickers, big deal) that you will buy more clothes? It makes me want to cry, not spend. Try 30W bulbs, or even candle light. Candle light is good. And gauze.
Of course the people on that shop floor, as well as all the others sneaking a peak in M&S and John Lewis, would be perfectly proportioned, perfectly bronzed, and everything would be matching, exfoliated and epilated. Lovely.
So today the curtains still didn’t close and my underwear did not match, my legs could do with another shave and yes there is still cellulite. I do not weigh less than I did in my 20s. 4 of the 5 pairs of jeans did not make it above my knees. I stood there grunting and pulling. No, the skinnys won’t fit. But by ‘eck, do Levis make a superior quality belt loop. But I did not care what the size was on the ticket. Like the number on the scales, it is just a number. It does not define me. There was a pair that went all the way to the top and even closed without me fainting and I squinted to look in the 360 degree mirror hell, only it wasn’t hell any more. It was fine. And I took them off and I had another look at the knicker situation, and that was fine too. Goodness, it was not Heidi Klum standing there, but even Scarlett Johanssen has cellulite, so welcome, sister, it’s quite nice here.
What’s changed? ‘Mindset’. The set of attitudes held by someone. And my attitude is: This is my body and I am doing the best I can by it. And it is fine. By the standards of the press and the fashion industry it would be called an abomination. To me it’s beautiful and it works and I am proud.