I get on the scale one morning and it tells me something I don’t want to hear: a very large number. A number twenty larger than the number it told me just over a year ago.
This scale was originally owned by The Departed, so there’s a good chance that it, like its previous owner, is a liar.
Unfortunately, I have a closet full of pants that were all purchased by me alone, and they agree with the scale.
It all feels rather conspiratorial and, frankly, a bit rude.
I’ve baked a lot over the past year, and discovered candymaking too, sometimes spending an entire free day in the kitchen cranking out muffins and cakes for no one in particular. Baking feels so therapeutic: You beat the hell out of some batter and are rewarded with a treat at the end.
I had thought it was cheaper than therapy too, since flour and eggs don’t cost much. But now the trash-talking scale and traitorous pants have ganged up on me like so many mean girls, and I feel like I have two choices: Spend more money than therapy ever would have cost on a closet full of new clothes, or go on a diet.
As angry as I am at the pants, my wallet insists me I really have only one option.
Something else happens right around that time: My dance card fills up. I look at the calendar and realize that for the entire month of December, I do not have one single free weekend day.
Now, I could talk about the fact that this never – and I mean never – happens to me. I’ve wondered for years why people are so stressed this time of year, when all you have to do is shop and bake and decorate and watch It’s a Wonderful Life as many times as you can. This year, though, I am invited to Christmas parties and ornament exchanges and even a Mayan-themed end-of-the world party, which has to be the best party idea ever. Who cares what you eat! You won’t get on the scale afterward; there won’t be any scale. Who cares who you kiss under the mistletoe! The pictures will never appear on Facebook; there won’t be any Facebook.
We could talk about why this never, ever happened to me before, but I think we all know the reason and this is not the season for dead horse flogging.
No, the real concern I have is this: What am I going to wear when nothing in my closet fits and I have so little money to go buy anything that does?
In late November, I receive an invitation to a girls’ night out. You know the kind I mean: you are expected to buy something, and even if the hostess says, Oh, just come for a glass of wine and don’t worry about it, that’s just not possible and everyone involved knows it. This one is for clothes, and I like the clothes but not the price tag. Still, I think, well, I’ll just go have a glass of wine and maybe they’ll have a scarf that will fit me not matter what size I am and won’t cost too much. Ha.
The party is held at the consultant’s home, and after much food (which is obviously not helping the situation) and a bit of wine (which isn’t helping either but is at least mellowing me out), I decide to try on a couple of blouses that will probably fit me now and in my eventual thin state. I go into a spare bedroom to try them on.
The consultant calls after me, While you’re in there, see if there’s anything you like in the closet. That’s my sample closet; everything is 75% off.
I like a lot of things in the closet, and better yet, much of it is in my size – my size which suddenly doesn’t seem so bad when one of the other guests is trying on the same blouses and I find myself thinking, that looks nice on her.
I look nice too. I put on one blouse and several ladies say, Yes! all at once. It’s so you! they tell me.
It’s beautiful, and it’s $20.
I leave the party with a huge pile of clothes, including a silvery party skirt with a stretchy waist that won’t care what size I am, ever.
The next night, I take The Child shoe shopping at the discount shoe outlet. She’s been looking like a modern day Little Match Girl lately, wearing a pair of hole-ridden boots that are held together by duct tape. She find a pair of Duck boots that she adores (“Duct-Tape Boots – Duck Boots, get it?”), and I find a pair of party shoes on the sale rail. And a pair of boots, also on clearance. I can afford them at these prices, and both will go much better with my silvery party skirt than my muddy dog-walking boots.
I chat happily with the sales clerk, who asks if I’d like to sign up for their frequent buyer card, which is something I don’t usually agree to, but I’m in such a good mood, I say, Sure, why not?
The clerk signs me up and rings me up, and then says, You’ll get a coupon in the mail for being a new member, but I’m taking the $10 off your purchase tonight.
Just because, she tells me.
When I get home, I toss the scale onto the pile of stuff that is headed to The Departed’s new residence. He didn’t ask for it back, but like everything else on that pile, I won’t be needing it anymore.