I’ve been this tall (about 6 feet) since I was 12, so that’s over 3 decades of towering above the masses, and there’s no denying it: it’s generally a good thing. You can always spot me in a crowd and if you need someone to dust the top of the fridge, I’m your gal.
But today I say a thousand curses upon this giraffe-like physique of mine. This lament comes after a recent excursion that, for reasons I should be well acquainted with by now, left me wishing I could stuff myself in the dryer and come out shrunken to normal size. Yes, I went … clothes shopping.
After taking stock of my “wardrobe” and finding it heavy on sweatpants and light on attire fit for a return to the work world, I hit the stores. It’s been so long since I’ve done this, I forgot what an exasperating exercise in futility it is to clothe a woman who so closely resembles the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
I was thinking a pair of pants, maybe a matching jacket, something to make me look like my CV and I are remotely related. I may as well ask for the moon. Now I’m no fashionista, but I do know that what flies at work here might be cause for raised eyebrows elsewhere.
I recall going to a very swanky office when we first came to Switzerland—marble floors, fountains, the slickest building in our whole immigration process—and the woman who served us was wearing a halter top and a cheek grazing mini skirt. Don’t think there’s a gender bias here, the men were sporting pants I fear may cause permanent compression damage to parts they consider vital.
My clothing debacle was messy enough in Canada, but now I’ve got style and culture issues as well as size matters to contend with. There seems to be a shocking lack of attention to my demographic in Swiss stores. Oh, if I were 5-foot-6 and either a harlot or a nun, I’d be all set. Sadly, I’m a willowy woman looking for duds that fall somewhere in the middle of the prostitute-penitent continuum.
Anyway, I came home with that old soul crushing sense of defeat and resignation. There wasn’t a garment to be found. Well, in this life, sometimes we must simply accept what is. So, to any of my potential future employers: remember the clothes don’t necessarily make the woman. Just imagine what a psychiatrist in a sequinned tube top and high-waisted polyester flood pants could bring to your organization.