The Man Makes the Clothing
Along with debunking my personal ritualistic foibles that encouraged massing up, there were a host of sartorial realities of de-massing I never anticipated. I realized I had to throw away the fat clothes. I could not put them away, wouldn’t hide them, didn’t sequester them in some other part of my house.
It would be as if I had tried to remain friends with any of my college romances. I could never allow myself to go back to a life that did not work so all vestiges of that dysfunctional life had to be purged or it was still somehow lurking around my heart and mind, vaguely menacing. And beckoning. Those articles of clothing that could be used by other fat people left my premises never to return, and those too embarrassing to even give away were tossed. I wanted to have a bonfire of fat clothing, but my wife correctly noted that that would be too celebratory – something like a former crack addict turning his used pipes into candlesticks.
As I lost mass, I bought clothing that contoured to my new form. If it looks good when I’m at the right mass, it will look crappy when I’m at the wrong mass, so I eschewed the wearing of “pregnancy clothes after the baby’s been born.”
I actually thought of color for my clothes. When I was a blob, I tended to shroud my blobbiness with generic swaddling clothes. Typically, a generous dead white button down Mercer cotton shirt, black or grey elastic band shorts and, yes, white knee socks. As I sveltified, a little chromatic eye candy was not embarrassing, and relieved boredom. After de-massing I purchased 4 shirts in three off-white hues of cream and grey to wear with the shorts and the socks…pretty edgy for a WASP.
As I lost weight, I just kept making my local cobbler add notches to my belt, and I wouldn’t let him chop off the clasp end of the belt and move the clasp closer to the existing holes as he suggested, for that denies history. Not only did keeping its original length intact provide the fact checkers among my family and friends iron-clad documentation of my claims, there was also a clear evidence of the potential impact any rising tide of resurgent fat could have.
I took to buttoning the extra button. When I was in my inflated state, it was often easier to leave the button below the collar button unbuttoned. But if I button the button below the collar button when I am less massive, suddenly my neck actually looks like a neck – as opposed to a thigh when fat or an arm when less fat.
My hair could be worn shorter, and thus it was easier to wash, comb, and dry (let’s face it, the shaggier my head was, the more in scale it was with my bloated body.) This also applies to beards. While I once thought it reasonable that I mimicked Grizzly Adams and had a beard to keep my head in competition with my distended body mass, I could be more Tom Selleck-like.
As I lost mass, my fat boy glasses began to look like those worn by Harry Caray – huge when compared to my shrinking face. I bought new normal sized eyewear without looking like Ben Franklin. Similarly, the ties I wore that ended at my belt when I was ginormous now timed out at my crotch.
I discovered that it absolutely made economic sense to modify jackets to my new contours (even for cheap ones). But it did not make financial sense to modify pants beyond a simple waist reduction (let’s face it, when you’re as fat as I was, the sausage casing needs a lot more than a simple nip and tuck to contour to its new filling’s dimensions.)
When I got smaller, I realized that layers of clothing were needed to replace lost fat or I’d get cold quick in New England (and it dawned on me why I wore so many turtlenecks “back in the day”).
But some things did not change. Bizarrely enough, despite losing one-third of myself, my tightie-whities and Under Armor stretch knee socks still fit, despite the fact that some of my briefs are a minimum of eight and some even fifteen years old. The miracles of modern elasticity.