Suck in, zip up an inch – this has to fit, I know I’m a size six. Formal is next week, and this dress has been reserved for months. Maybe I’m just a little bloated, or perhaps it was the massive burger I had for lunch – I knew I should have gotten the salad! However, my eating habits haven’t exactly been health conscious these last few weeks. Junk food is easily accessible in a college dorm; it’s mini fridges full of coke products and pantries loaded with quick-fix microwave dinners and ramen noodles. The infamous warning of the “freshman fifteen” is no myth. I was influenced by others’ habits, so it’s not completely my fault, right? Who am I kidding, I’ve lost all sense of self-control. Hostess is my vice, and Red Bull is my confidant.
“How you doing in there? Should I grab a different size, perhaps a wrap to accessorize?”
I hate when sales associates badger me with questions, especially when I’m trying to focus on whether the outfit accentuates the incorrect locations (makes my butt look big). “No, I’m doing fine, thank you!” Lie. I’m starting to feel light-headed, perhaps due to the fact I’ve been restricted to shallow breathing for the past couple minutes. Suck in a little more, tug the zipper up another fraction of an inch.
I glare at the mirror in front of me with a look of utter disgust. That pouch wasn’t there a few months ago, and walking in sky-high heels is difficult enough, much less with thighs that will be chafing by the end of the night. These observations are reason enough for me to forgo the dress, never mind the gaping side zipper that refuses to comply with my weight gain. With a solemn (limited) sigh, I chose to remove the beautiful gown.
The zipper sticks. My mind is jolted to a horrific childhood memory of Winnie the Pooh getting stuck in a rabbit hole because of his gluttonous tendencies towards honey. I go into a distressed panic – the dress constricts further the more I wrestle to break free. What sadistic designer would create a bodycon dress without a trace of lycra or spandex – a situation like this was bound to occur, and it would obviously affect me personally. I consider screaming help, but that would be just a tad bit awkward. Think rationally – in times of distress, simply enter said predicament into Google’s search box. “What to do when a zipper sticks?” I quickly scroll through the results praying for deliverance, but to my disappointment, I didn’t think to come prepared with a bar of soap. How negligent of me.
“Still doing alright?”
Desperate times call for desperate measures – “Actually, it appears I’m stuck. Is there any chance you could be of assistance?” That didn’t sound too terribly pathetic, did it?
“Oh, well that’s not good!”
You don’t say. I unlock the stall door and lift my arm to indicate my dilemma.
“Well let’s see what I can do.” She has a look of sympathy and concern written on her face, but she must be smirking inside. I wonder how many times she’s been put in this uncomfortable position – I’m inclined to think I’m not the first chubby girl to get stuck in a dress.
She inspects the zipper and fiddles with it for a moment, then plainly states, “It’s jammed beyond repair. I suppose we’ll have to cut you out.”
My eyes bug and heat flushes my face to a deep red as I legitimately consider dying of humiliation.
“I’m just joking, honey! Don’t look so frightened!” the worker laughs as she gives one quick yank to the closure, releasing its grasp to the surrounding fabric. She pulls the zipper down and I inhale deeply to recollect my nerves.
“Thank you,” I breathe. I genuinely appreciate mockery and the realization that I’ve packed on the pounds right before my first college formal. Really, I do.
She leaves me to finish changing, and I place the demise of my dignity onto its hanger. As I exit the changing room, I surrender the dress to the employee. She looks confused and says, “You don’t want to try on a different size? How about you go up to a size six?”