Rose Richard

On Thursday I found out that I’m fat. Oh yes, after two straight months of working out and eating food I hate, I learn that I am absolutely HUGE. How did I find this out?

It’s kind of a longish story. As my friend’s maid of honor, I am obliged to purchase a dress that is not only expensive, but hideous as well. You can’t just buy these prom dresses gone wrong off the rack either. You have to get measured and fitted a bunch of times. This is so the bridal industry not only gets money from the bride, but her hapless attendants as well.

I’m not happy to be doing this. I’m not fond of the price, in the first place. The bride claims that we are getting a great deal. We get 15 percent off the price of the dresses because she bought her dress at the same store! So, the dresses are only $145 now! See? What a great deal!

So I go look at this purportedly perfect and reasonably priced dress. I wish I could buy something else, but social convention dictates that with respect to the dress, you as a bridesmaid must bend to the will of the bride.

In order to purchase this satin and georgette creation, I first must undergo measurements. I don’t want to know any of my measurements. I have lost some girth in my waist, and my arms are nice and buff (five pound weights are my salvation). I have no idea how much weight I’ve lost since I began to work on my “body for life.” I never step on a scale. It’s strictly visual. If I get up one morning and my khaki ass-pants (they give form and meaning to my otherwise amorphously shaped posterior) fit, then I’m doing pretty well.

Anyway, I go into the dressing room of this horrible Oregon City establishment with one of the employees. She kindly howls my measurements to the rest of the store. I am pretty pissed. Not only does the store now know that I have childbearing hips, but I find that my breasts have expanded by two inches in the last six to nine months.

After a brief wait, the owner of the store, a man, comes out with a little chart. He looks around furtively, as if he’s about to show me some really dirty porn. Instead he informs me, in a loud voice that I am a size 20. I have never gone above a size 14 in regular store sizes. I am angry.

I get even madder when he tells me that since I am so “big” (oh yeah, he said big), I would have to pay eight dollars extra for my “larger size.” He looks down his nose at me, as if now, I am fecal matter. I’m paying a fat tax so this guy can treat me like shit. I’m so pleased with the service, I’m thinking of coming back to this place when it’s my turn to get married! My bridesmaids will get a 15 percent discount on a dress that no one could possibly fool herself into thinking she will wear again. And the first seeds of hate will be sown.

So now that I’ve submitted to this most total of humiliations, I now have to pay for the damn thing. I put the 50 percent down and grimace with every pen stroke. Even paying for half the $145 plus the eight-dollar fat tax makes me want to eat glass.

After I hand over the tear soaked check, I peruse the various tracts and brochures for the store, when I notice something wrong.

“Were these expensive?” I ask.

“Well, kind of. Why?”

“There are spelling and grammar mistakes all over this. It’s horrible,” I say. I did spend a year editing this here Opinion page, and I’ve been writing for six years, so I think I know what I’m talking about.

His face falls. “Oh. I did them.”

I become the embodiment of a person wallowing in Schadenfreude (taking pleasure in someone else’s pain). I take it upon myself to edit his literature, drawing careful strikes through comma splices and correcting myriad errors in indicating possession. I’m not the best editor in the world, but this guy probably has a seventh grade reading level.

He grimaces again when I show him my handiwork. I smile and show him my teeth. I feel a lot better, considering that I have to pay more money for that dress, have more fittings and wear it in public (but only once thank God).

I learned something that day.

You can change fat, but you can’t change stupid.