With apologies to John Greenleaf Whittier: of all sad words that can recall, the saddest are these, “One size fits all.”
Because it doesn’t you know. Fit all. Most sizes barely fit some. Low riding jeans fit nobody, at least no body in motion. Because there is so little else to choose from, I tried on one of those pairs of pants that sit well below the waist. As long as I held perfectly still, I was safe from persecution by the Defense of Decency League. The minute I moved, many of the bodily parts that pants are designed to cover became uncovered. When I sat down, the remainder of them hove into view. Believe me, no one wants this. The notion that there exists a piece of clothing so universally adaptable that sumo wrestlers and stick-figure fashion models alike embrace it is laughable.
During my six decades of wearing clothes, I have managed to run the size gamut from not-so-big to big. Right now I am somewhere in the not-so-big range but a vacation and then Thanksgiving, followed closely by Christmas and New Year’s and Easter are threatening that status. On vacation, we stayed at a hotel that provided shortbread cookies and coffee in the lobby all day. For the non-cooks among you, shortbread consists of the three basic food groups: butter, flour, and white sugar. Butter, flour, and white sugar are more addicting than heroin. Since there was no local chapter of Shortbreaders Anonymous, I fell off the no-processed-food wagon and landed right on my expanding derriere.
Just a single size of mainstream clothes such as pants and shirts doesn’t have a hope of fitting everyone. Even pseudo-clothes like hats can’t satisfy both the cranially challenged and a big bulbous head a la the Queen of Hearts of Alice in Wonderland fame. Comedians have been exploiting this fact for years. Stan Laurel … hat too small. Clem Kadiddlehopper … hat too big. In one fell swoop, we have big laughs and proof of false advertising.
Gloves, too. Every pair of gloves I own has a label somewhere, usually located for maximum scratchiness. The label says one size fits all. The label, as previously discussed, is wrong. A friend of mine who was reared in New York gave me a pair of her gloves. She and her husband used to frequent really swank places in the city, places so swank that elbow-length gloves were considered appropriate wear. Why she gave them to me is beyond comprehension. Did she think I would wear them to shovel snow? To change the tire on my car? To visit what passes for swank in west central Ohio?
She need not worry that I would wear them to an unsuitable venue. I couldn’t squeeze my big ol’ farm worker hands into her city girl gloves if my reservation at the Stork Club depended on it.
The manufacturers of socks have bowed just the tiniest bit to the conventions of sizing. Adult footwear, much like adult hats, comes in two sizes: too big and too small. But solely to give the barefoot consumer the illusion of control, the size of socks is referenced to shoe size, such as size 7-9 and size 9-11. Ha ha. This is just a little joke brought to you by the people who make socks. Depending upon which sweat shop in Asia made them, a size 7 ½ shoe from one company will equal a size 9 from another. This is just the foot part, mind you. All makers of socks have banded together (pun painfully intended) and make the top part of the sock incredibly tight. If you have on a pair of socks and cut off a couple of your toes, do not worry about bleeding to death. The vise-like sock top acts just like a tourniquet.
Recently I was in Florida and very nearly stepped on a poisonous snake. Now, a coral snake is a very pretty thing with colorful bands around its body but its bite is lethal if not treated within three hours. I was not too worried about stopping to admire Mr. Snake because if he had bitten me, I already had a tourniquet around my leg in the form of my socks.
The snake, I am happy to note, was size small.
Marla Boone resides in Covington and writes for the Troy Daily News and Piqua Daily Call.