A few weeks ago, I was in Pittsburgh with my frat brother for the weekend. It was one of the few weekends that I had ever been away from my church. Since I would be visiting another congregation, I made a point to go shopping in order to ensure that my outfit would fit their unofficial dress code. After all, even “come as you are” churches have expectations. Besides, my frat brother had warned me that in many ways, his church was like a fashion show.
As we headed out to service, my frat brother commented favorably on the ensemble that I had put together before kindly alerting me that my pants were too short.
“Really,” I replied while looking down at my exposed ankles, “Great.” I had purchased the pants as a part of an amazing sale. I knew that getting a pair of pants with a 32 inch inseam was risky, but when I tried them on at the store, they seemed fine. In hindsight, I tried them on with a pair of mid-top sneakers that kept me from noticing the gap that was now visible thanks to my black loafers. (That’s right. The featured image is not me. I know better than to wear white socks with loafers at church.)
“Well, it’s not that bad,” he said in an attempt to be reassuring because he knew that I had nothing else to wear. We had been in similar situations before. We don’t wear the same size, so he couldn’t even offer me a change of clothes.
“Yeah,” I continued, “I’ll just wear them a bit lower than usual and return them as soon as I get back to Philly.” Needless to say, that made service a bit awkward. We went to two churches, and I spent both services with my hands in my pockets trying to keep my pants from riding up and revealing their true
lack of length. Thankfully, no one noticed (and if anyone did notice, no one said anything to me about it).
A few days later, I stopped at the store in Philly to attempt to exchange the pants for a pair with a longer inseam. (I liked the pants so much that I had actually purchased two pair, but I only brought one with me to Pittsburgh.) Unfortunately, my efforts were all for nought. I went back to the cashier and informed her that I would just have to take the refund.
“What size were you looking for?” she asked as she processed my return.
“30 X 34.” I replied. (Truth be told, I can only get away with a 30 inch waist with a belt.)
“Oh, we don’t really carry that in the store,” she continued, “But we do have it on our website.” I should have expected as much. The assumption is that people who are my height generally have larger waistlines. (For the record, my waistline has been around this same size since middle school even though I am now at least 10 inches taller than I was back then. It’s a fact that has led me to receive a lot of questions about my eating habits–most recently from an ignorant ex-manager.)
She also laughed a bit upon hearing the story about how I realized that the pants were too short.
“So you were rocking high waters?” she asked playfully, “Well, did you at least like how it all came together?”
“Yeah,” I replied, “I liked everything except for length.” At least she seemed sympathetic to my dilemma. She mentioned that she often had trouble finding her size in stores as well. Still, society seems to have an easier time accepting thin women. It’s a different story for thin men. (For this reason, I am starting a series on this site called Skinny Man Issues. Stay tuned)
When I got back to my apartment, I decided to check out the offerings on the store’s website. The cashier was right, I did find my size. However, she neglected to mention that the website was not having the same sales promotions as the store, which meant that the same pants in my size cost 2x what I had paid in the store. I am now learning to accept the fact that my height-waist combination is going to make me a tailor’s dream whenever I can finally afford to hire one.
I guess it really does pay to be tall and thin.