Um, excuse me? The colour of WHAT?!

I am part of a team of graduate students who are jointly teaching a Biochemistry class. It’s pretty cool, and I got this opportunity because I was 1 in 4 people who won a Molecular Mechanisms of Disease (MMoD) training grant. The other 3 MMoD candidates plus an additional graduate student make up this team and together, we are doing our best to teach sophomores scientific analysis and technical writing (the un-official name of this special topics course).

I own a lot of raggedy clothes, with lots of holes in my t-shirts, food stains all over the boob area, and pants with the crotch half gone (hey, it happens when you wear the same pants over and over again, and when your thighs touch.) Usually, I don’t care what I look like. When I am teaching a lecture/discussion based class, it turns out, I do care because I want to be taken seriously. This is when Kristi REJOICES because she can finally take me shopping (something I don’t like to do) and buy me new things. This is just another thing she loves and I don’t love (for more reference, I wrote an article on this here).

We have a coupon for $50 off a $100+ purchase at Younkers, so we go there first. I like Younkers because this store is the only store in the mall that sells the brand of pants I just love. What greets me when I enter the store? This kiosk:


The colour of skinny. That’s right, you didn’t mis-read that sign. You will notice at the very bottom of picture, some black jeans. Some very uncolourful, black jeans. The largest size on that table? A whooping 4. This kiosk was placed in the part of the store that does not sell “women’s” sizes (ugh, don’t get me started on this sub-classification). There was another kiosk next to this one saying “Dangerous curves ahead” (I couldn’t get a picture of this one because there were people standing in front of it.) This second kiosk also rubbed me the wrong way.

I wish, for once, that size was left out of marketing. If we are a size 4, we will find our way to the size 4 pants; and if we are a size 18, we will find our way to the size 18 pants. People are not stupid. But signs like this can hurt anyone.

I have to admit, at first, I kind of liked these signs. Until, I started thinking about who they were targeting and who they were excluding. We have the skinny table and the curvy table … but not the skinny with curves table or the skinny as a rail with no curves table or … you get the drift (I hope).

I put this out of my mind as we made it to “the fat section” as I like to call it. The section of the store I can call home and the section of the store I always hate. Why can’t I have the same prints and designs as the “skinny section”? Instead, my section of the store is usually filled with animal prints (because every heavy person wants to wear zebra print) or sweaters with cutesy animal embroidery on them (just like my mom wears). (No offense mom! She is seriously adorable in those sweaters.) But, lo and behold! I see fashionable, if I can be a judge of fashion, clothing this time! I grab a few shirts and head to the dressing room to see if I can tolerate anything this nice on me.

What is that? What do I see staring at me in the dressing room? THIS!

“WARDROBE MUST HAVES” …. an advert for full-body SPANX! What is spanx? They are modern corsets, and are worn to make you look slimmer.  Only, it seems that people never question where the fat goes. It goes in, folks. As in, into all of your precious organs, thereby placing an enormous burden on tissues such as your bladder and your lungs. Spanx are used to hold all of you in, so you don’t bulge out of your shirt/dress/pants/etc.

Needless to say, I felt like crap after shopping here. Kristi does a great job cheering me up, we even went to buy some tea from Teavana!

Younkers, you get an A+ for making me feel poopy. I just don’t understand why fat is the worst thing you can be. I agree with J.K. Rowling.

Is fat really the worst thing a human being can be? Is fat worse than vindictive, jealous, shallow, vain, boring, evil, or cruel? Not to me.
-J.K. Rowling


  1. Cecy’s belly vs.Spanx…ding ding…it took less than 2 hours for it to roll down and practically off quite embarrassing and a waste of money. I can relate to your shopping experience but thankfully I have my husband to tell me how awesome I am and how great I look. It doesn’t make me feel 100% but I’m glad I married someone who loves me anyway I come.

    1. When I was getting married, I went looking for a specific type of strapless bra. For those of you who see me and know me in the real-sphere, you will know I have some large ta-tas (or ba-hoobies, as the wife likes to say). So, I wanted a strapless bra that kind of extended down my torso to give me the extra support I need. Everyone thought I wanted it for the slimming effect (which, it doesn’t technically do …. I can see how it would smooth you out though, it just doesn’t cinch in.) Anyway, the sales lady had be try on a regular strapless bra and some spanx. The kind of spanx that looks like huge granny panties (they slip on like undies, and they extended all the way up to just under the bust). I was breathless just trying to squeeze in to them … and when they were finally up, they were too big for my shorter torso. Spanx are really made for people of specific proportions and I feel (ladies listen up) ALL OF YOU ARE SO INCREDIBLY BEAUTIFUL EXACTLY THE WAY YOU ARE (you can trust me, I’m a lesbian and I check you out on the daily.)

  2. Oh man, Nicole! I LOVE LOVE LOVE this post– you definitely struck a cord in me!

    My husband refuses to try on clothes or shop for himself for the most part and living in a small town (extremely small town) I end up doing most of our clothes shopping at Target and every. single. time. I end up completely infuriated! I’m in that limbo place between “normal” clothing sizes and “plus” sizes and end up half the time unable to find anything in that place. And it bothers me to no end that I can find something I like that’s just a touch too small in the normal section and then can’t find it in the plus sizes because suddenly it’s a completely different set of options. Why do women have to be divided/corralled/cordoned off into 3 separate size categories when I can walk into the men’s section and find everything from XXS to XXL in one section?! It’s just not right.

    I dream of a world where I walk into a Younkers or wherever and see a big fat sign that says “The Color of Comfort” or “The Color of Joy” or “The Color of Confidence”… anything else really!

    And apologies in advance for making this so long… but Spanx. UGH! They’re just not right. We scoff at the idea of corsets from the past, but this is exactly the same thing with spandex instead of string. They are uncomfortable and dangerous and decidedly unsexy. I still remember looking at my poor sister before helping her put on her dress (my teeny, tiny, perfect little sister) and thinking “This… this is not sexy. And this is what your husband is going to see when you take your dress off. Woof.” So I refused to wear anything like that under my dress. I wore sexy, at least in my opinion, white lacy under-things and let my body be my body. I felt good when my dress came off and besides being RIDICULOUSLY HOT in the un-air-conditioned church in my many-layered dress, I was totally comofrtable all night.

    Comfort and beauty are NOT mutually exclusive! Neither are fat and beauty! I love this kind of talk– we should chat about it more often!!!!!!

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