Out of my Element

I went shopping at a men’s store today.  It wasn’t really by choice: I have an event to attend and I’ll need to look ‘presentable and appropriate’.  And while I have several suits, none of them fit as I have gained too much weight. 😦  I do have black pants that fit (women’s, but not that anyone would notice) so I figured all I needed was a reasonable sport jacket to wear with them.  Easy-peasy it should be…

I walked in the store and I felt a wave of uneasiness hit me: looking around the store, it all seemed so wrong to me.  I found my way back to the suits and such and started looking for a jacket.  I realized that I had no idea what size I was, what the styles were…  I was, in a word, lost.  As I browsed, a sales girl came up and asked if I needed some help (perhaps I looked as though I needed it.)  I told her I wanted a jacket to go with black pants and she showed me a few choices.  She asked me what size I wore and I had to tell her I had no idea and that it had been years since I had shopped for anything.  I was acutely aware of how awkward this all felt – how silly I must have sounded, not even knowing what size I wore.

If I had been shopping in the women’s shop around the corner, it would have been a different story.  They know me there by name, I know how their sizes run, what works for me and what doesn’t.  There is nothing awkward about being there because it’s pretty much how I have been shopping for years now.  I felt a bit like your average guy in the lingerie department: dazed, uncomfortable – and wanting to leave as quickly as possible.  Funny thing (or maybe not so funny) is that I’m totally comfortable browsing lingerie – but today, looking for a sport coat?  I wanted to make my purchase and be out of there as quickly as possible.

I did get a nice jacket and as much as it kinda hate to say it, it looks good – and I’m not sure how I feel about that to be honest.  On the one hand, I want to look good, to make my wife comfortable and to just have a nice time.  But on the other hand, I don’t like being gendered as a man – and that I (still) look ‘good’ as one evokes a feeling I am having trouble articulating.  I guess in part it makes me sad, and maybe a bit defeated…

::sigh::

And so it goes…

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