I Hate Clothes Shopping

Originally posted at EXPLORING TRANS — TUESDAY, MAY 4, 2010, 5:47 PM

I hate clothes shopping. Actually, that’s not really true. I enjoy finding new clothes. The problems come from not being able to find clothes that fit and being steered toward clothes that don’t fit with my sense of gender. In particular, I hate shopping for clothes at huge bargain stores. I guess it’s partly my fault because I should know better than to shop at such places–there’s never anything that fits. Still, I happened to be in the city today, and so I stopped by a store. Fail.

I should have been clued to the fact that this was going to be a bad idea when I realized that the men’s and women’s sections were separated completely — there was a hallway to the mall in between the two stores. Nevertheless, I hoped that I might still find something, so I continued. However, there wasn’t anything smaller than a small, and precious few of those. I picked up a few shirts that looked interesting and a pair of jeans that looked like they might fit.

I then continued to the fitting room, only to be told that it was the men’s fitting room, and I needed to go to the other store for the women’s fitting room. Great, thanks. I know I don’t actually pass as a guy, but it’s never fun getting reminded of that. Because the women’s fitting room was really far away (and past two sets of check-out lanes and two sets of alarms), I asked whether it really mattered. She said yes. (Despite, I’d like to mention, the fact that the place was empty.)

Well, what could I do? I wasn’t going to convince her to let me into the changing rooms, so I just headed to the other store to find the women’s fitting room. It was irrationally humiliating. I know I don’t “look like a guy” but really? Does it actually matter? I just wanted to try on a couple shirts and a pair of jeans. Is that really so much to ask? At other stores (American Eagle, Aeropostale, Express, and GAP come to find) the fitting rooms are open to all. After all, each individual room has a lock.

When I got to the women’s fitting rooms, there was a huge line, and I decided it just wasn’t worth it to me to wait for so long in hopes of being categorized with the women. I ended up trying on the shirts over my polo in front of one of the mirrors and skipped the jeans entirely. That was, of course, an exercise in futility: none of them fit even remotely. I didn’t want to just leave them there, though, because that’s not the polite thing to do; however, I was informed that I needed to take the clothes back to the men’s section because they were men’s clothes. Well, thanks. And whose fault is it that I’m over in the women’s section right now anyway? If you’re going to make me go to the women’s fitting rooms, the women’s fitting rooms should deal with my business.

The moral of the story? I need to learn to just not shop for clothes in big stores without extra-small sizes that have big fitting rooms separated by gender because it’s just going to make me feel like crap.

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