You know that February thing where you go clothes shopping at the mall because you think it will be fun, but end up hopping around the dressing room on one foot while you try to cram the other down a pants leg in the size your wore last September? You spend ten minutes yanking on the waistband and sucking in your gut in the misguided hope that this will coax it over your thighs. Half an hour later your friends finally find you standing tear-streaked in the line for Cinnabun. Yeah, that no longer earns you my pity. I’ve hit the triple digits.
That’s right, these days I’m buying size 100. But while some of the recriminations should perhaps go to my oven or the pans of brownies I pull out of it, I choose not to take responsibility. I blame Korea.
Women’s clothes start over here at size 44 (and that’s actually in a different measurement system to the one previously mentioned. In that size universe, I come in at a 77. Woo-hoo.) They top out around 105. So I am one size away from humanity’s upper limit, as conceived by the Korean clothing industry.
But I am clearly not meant to be a part of this system. For one thing, Korean clothes often do not bother with size indications at all. One-size-fits-all is a real and viable option in Korea. In the US, it only works for stretch-knit gloves. There are simply too many shapes to accommodate. But Korean body types have much subtler variations, and you can often get one-size pants and tops. Well, I can’t, but many other people in Chungju do.
It should be said that while my entrance into clothing store prompts the theme music from Godzilla, I’m lucky to be able to buy clothes at all. Remember this guy?
He can’t even get socks here.
Basically anyone taller than me would have to travel to Seoul to shop. And lots of foreign teachers do. So I should be grateful that I fit within the system.