Friday, April 18, 2014

Special Shops and Meanderings

It's spring here and there are some flowers. As Karen Walker said in an episode of Will and Grace, "Aw, honey, they're almost beautiful."

I've been here ten months now, and I officially have no clothes that fit and very few without rather catastrophic holes. (Donations accepted, thanks.) I am now wearing predominantly an extremely ugly pair of jeans - made uglier by the fact that they're now a size or two too big and baggy in all the wrong places - and yoga pants. I'm rationing the yoga pants, however, because I want them to last. And apparently, I wear clothes harder in China.

So, yeah, right, now all my clothes are too big. Before you all go saying things like, "Oh, how wonderful," a couple of things: 1) Remember who you're talking to; 2) Really think about the next thing I'm going to tell you. I eat 100% more Oreos and KFC and drink at least 75% more soda and alcohol than I do at home. My diet is disgusting. I would say that, because we walk to work, which averages probably about an hour total (to and from work twice) five days a week, I'm getting more movement, but I think the weight loss is mostly psychologically influenced. And, despite it, I'm still too big for pretty much anything in China. I'm a 5XL here.

5XL. I'd have to go to what my students call "a special shop" to find anything that fits. And it's not like there aren't any fat people here. It's just that fat exists in kind of a different way. Actually, I should say that beauty ideology exists in a different way. In America, beauty and health are very much intertwined and we're force-fed this idea that in order to be healthy and desirable our abs must be flat and our thighs mustn't touch, and in order to achieve this we should drink laxatives (SlimFast) and hop onto fad diets and pay billions of dollars to the diet industry all the while being self-deprecating and promising that our future selves will be different, which is it's own special brand of bullshit. BUT we can still walk into almost any store - except, you know, those "super cool" places like Abecrombie and Fitch - and buy plus sizes, or as I like to call them, sizes. In China, beauty and health are mostly separate, but thin is very, very much in, to the point where people who would probably be a size six or eight in America think they're enormous. Especially for women, being waifish with arms that you can wrap hands around is quite sought after. Forget weight lifting. Anyway, consequently (perhaps), the vast majority of stores aren't stocked with larger size clothing.

An anecdote: Around August - so, a while ago - I asked one of my students where I could find leggings. I rather stupidly hadn't brought any, and I thought it would behove me to have a pair or two. Her mother was a shop owner, so my student said she'd ask her mother if there were any "special shops" that sold leggings. She reported back to me that I could "have them tailor made." Fucking leggings. I can buy them for $6.00. Tailor made. Jesus.

So, anyway, I am now stuck with my hobo-esque wardrobe, which grows more bedraggled everyday. It's spring, as I said, so I can hopefully start wearing skirts and dresses soon, but I bid adieu to my last functional pair of tights several months ago.

I am very much looking forward to Cumby's-hopping and refilling coffee for $1.09 while buying some new tights and jeans. I will then eat a bagel. Perhaps a turkey grinder. That's the plan.

Oh, also - and on a completely different topic - does anyone know when George R.R. Martin is planning on finishing book 6 of A Song of Ice and Fire. I mean, seriously. Okay, so I've never written an epic series, or anything, but there are things that need to be clarified. So, if somebody runs into him, tell him to get on it.

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