Monday, October 1, 2007

Scents and sense (of self)

I smell really good today. I love it when I use a shampoo that I haven't used in a long time and the scent is super-noticeable all day. I'll be sitting there thinking, "Mmm...something sure smells good," and then I realize that it's ME! It sure makes me feel good.

Scents don't always ake me feel good. I buy fragrance-free deodorant, laundry soap, regular soap, and hairspray. The smell of other people's perfume or cologne makes me nauseous and usually gives me a headache. Throughout the years I have had to abandon many beloved personal grooming products because they would literally make me sick. However, I have found that not only can I tolerate the spicy, sandalwoody, pachouli-ish family of smells, I LOVE them. I love their warm, earthiness and their association with folk festivals and incense and exotic countries. And thanks to this wonderful shampoo that my friend Cake bought me, that's exactly what I smell like today.

I think I love these smells because I don't get much of a chance to express who I am through my appearance. I hear so many women complain about the lack of shopping opportunities in my city but let me tell you this: until you've tried to buy clothes here as a fat female, you have NO IDEA how crappy it is. I basically have 3 or 4 stores to choose from. Period. And none of these stores carry clothes that I think are me, so I end up dressing for comfort rather than how something looks. Don't get me wrong - I don't go to my office job in sweats and a pair of thongs (the foot kind, not the underwear kind). However, I do come to work in baggy, stretchy, and/or elastic-filled clothes. I figure if I'm going to look hideous to varying degrees, I might as well be comfortable, too.

I buy shoes the same way. Skinny people may not realize this but when you're fat, everything's fat, including your feet. I need wide shoes and those are a rarity in our trendy shoe stores we have in my city. I also walk A LOT, so whatever I buy must be comfortable. As a result, when I'm shoe shopping I have to pass on all those adorable, funky, cool sheos and go for the "sensible" variety. This means that I end up looking like an old lady or a butchy lesbian. (As a bi chick, there are worse things than looking like a lez but face it, they're not known for being uber-fashionable.)

This frumpy exterior is also one of the reasons I like to talk about myself. Our society puts a lot of stock in first impressions (this site says it takes THREE SECONDS for someone to make up their mind about a person). I'm not sure I like the conclusions that are likely drawn after seconds of seeing me. Boring. Schlubby. Uninteresting. Unexciting. Not words I want associated with me. So I talk and talk and talk about myself. "I've travelled! I'm passionate about politics! I'm a treehugger! I'm musically-inclined! I love art and photography! I read! I cook! I have 3 degrees! I'm not boring, I swear!" I want everyone to know everything about me right away so that I can overrule that awful first impression. Mysterious and private I am not.

So here I am in my ghastly tapered pants with an elastic waist, my stretchy cotton t-shirt, and my loafers, writing all about myself. But boy-oh-boy, I sure smell good!


  1. When I see you, I see a woman who is confident and funky and has a flair for style. I don't know where you're shopping, but the real you does shine through, despite the elastic pants.

    Your hair rocks, you have a deadly awesome smile and a calm vibe, and you carry yourself with grace.

    And also, you're right - shoe shopping is bullshit when you don't have dainty skinny feet. Bullshit.

  2. And may I also mention that your glasses fucking rock, too!

  3. i know exactly what you mean about the smells and the good smelling hair....

    and shopping sucks for everyone, i think. it has to. it can't be a private hell for me alone, can it?? Me, i'm stuck in that "in between" body size. Too big for the trendy hip stores (do people say hip?) but too small for the trendy big girl stores... so what the fuck's a girl to do? i am seriously contemplating learning to sew my own shit.

  4. There are foot kinds of thongs??

  5. You're right, my haircut does rock. :-)

  6. heya - nice to meet you. savia said she'd seen this blog i might like. as usual she's right on the money. what's really bizarre, is I am a smeller - that's how i recognize people, that and how they move. lucky for me that I am not sensitive to the products that provide my rainbow of olfactory bliss. except my cat who smells warm and fuzzy and strangely puppyish. i love patch and nag champa and gardenias and Indecence by givenchy and fresh cut grass and sea salt bacon frying.... and keratene in my shampoo and conditioner - it is such a heavenly smell, or this lovely tangerine body wash that is so tangy it makes me salivate, yet it's body wash and tastes like soap.

    i figure i am as large as my soul requires and my fears define. that said i SO understand the dressing woes. i live in regina and there are 4 or 5 stores here that have clothes that will fit me BUT will I like them?

    Oddly enough yes - it takes a fair amount of hunting but I can usually find a couple of pieces every season of trendy stuff, and I try and buy one solid well tailored classic piece a year. Usually when I buy bottoms the waist doesn't fit or then then ankles are too wide - so I take them to a tailor and for 10 or 15 bucks the waist gets smaller and the pants become a straight cut.

    and they're comfortable - way better than elastic.

    as for shoes - i buy men's walking shoes and I have 2 pairs of 1" heels. the rest are airwalks and sandals and jesus boots.

    we - women of grandure deserve to look and BE comfortable, but we have to believe we're worth it first. from the sounds of it YOU ARE!