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It was my damned impatience.
I knew it was going to get me into trouble one day, but I never expected it to be the kind of humiliating experince I had to endure a couple of days ago.
It happened last wednesday, while I was shopping for a party dress for the company Christmas party. I usually hate any kind of shopping, grocery, clothing, kidstuff, anything at all, but I love shopping for a party dress. There is nothing like roaming the mall in search of a dress you know you’ll wear only once, and naturally you want it to be the prettiest thing anybody’s ever seen. Now, I don’t have a big ego, but I’m as vain as the next woman, and I had a definite desire to look good at the party this year. You see, I’m 37, and I figured I had maybe another 2-3 years before I started wrinkling and shrivelling up, just like everybody else my age, so I wanted to enjoy my last chance for glory before gravity got hold of my body and it all went to hell. I wanted to choose a dress that was not just pretty but sexy as well, one that allowed the casual ogler a glimpse of my still viewable parts: a bit of cleavage, bare shoulders, buff legs and all...
The clothing stores at the mall had a good supply of festive outfits this year, and I was sure I’d find the right dress without much effort. As I walked from store to store I noticed that there was a great selection of those stretchy, tube type dresses, you know the ones that hug your body pretty tight. They had all kinds of that type: bright ones, dark ones, glittery ones, sleeveless, strapless, tasteless, whatever a woman’s heart desired. But it’s better to be careful with those, because they were designed for a specific body type only, and that made me wonder who the hell was going to buy them. The majority of Canadian women are generously built, just like their American sisters, and if they tried to stuff their big bodies into a dress like that they’d end up looking like giant, glittery sausages. Even regular sized women aren’t safe in those stretchy gowns, because parties usually begin at the evening, by which time 99% of us are nicely bloated, and we look 5 months pregnant, even if we hadn’t eaten anything all day. And if a woman happens to be the skinny type, in that kind of dress she’d look emaciated and flat chested like Gwyneth Paltrow at the Oscars.
So I kept roaming the mall for over an hour, and slowly began to think that finding the perfect dress won’t be that easy after all, when I finally stumbled upon it. I walked into a small store that sold clothes for special occasions, and suddenly spotted THE ONE.
It was beautiful. It was black, graceful, with a fitted waist, deep cleavage, long, straight cut skirt with a sexy slit on the left side up to the thighs, and the top held together with many, many sleek straps both at the front and the back. I smiled as I approached that gorgeous thing, and uttered a silent prayer. Please God, make them have it in my size! That always seems to be a problem, whenever I find something I like, they have it in every size, except mine. So I always end up being screwed.
There were six black dresses on hangers in a neat row, the seventh one displayed on a mannequin. I checked the tag on all of them, and found that the one in size 5/6 was the one on display, so I’d need the salesperson to get it off the doll, so I could try it on. I looked over to the sales lady, a big, chubby woman with a bosom the size of a small mountain, but she was busy talking to another customer, so I had to wait. And that’s when the problem started.
I’ve never been good at waiting, and this time was no exception. After pacing the floor for a few seconds I decided I had to try the dress on right away. Since I couldn’t get to the one I wanted, I settled for another one, one size smaller, took it off the hanger and headed straight for the fitting room. So what if this is a bit tighter, at least I’ll see what it looks like on me, and when the sales lady is done chatting I’ll ask for the bigger one. Simple enough.
I got in the fitting room, locked the door, took all my clothes off except my panties, and began to put on the dress. Because of the straps I knew it was going to be a tricky maneouvre, so I proceeded slowly and carefully. I pulled the skirt part over my head, making sure the straps didn’t get in the way, but found that I could not put my arms through the dress this way, so I took it off and used another approach. I stuck my arms in first, and when the gown slipped over my head I started wiggling around, so it could slide right down to my chest, at which time I could grab it with both hands and pull it all the way down for a perfect fit.
At least that was the plan. What I didn’t expect was that the dress would slide over my head, travel down to my shoulders, and the fitted waist part would settle at armpit level. I stood there, waiting for the gown to keep moving downwards, I even wiggled around a little more to help it go down easier, but it wouldn’t move. It just sat there, while I was waiting for it to keep going, with both my arms up in the air, my face still under the fabric, with the skirt part hanging around my chest.
What the hell? I thought, surprised, and tried to lower my arms, but the dress wouldn’t let me. I moved my upper torso around a bit, because I figured that a little shoulder action would get me unstuck, but all I achieved was that I worked the gown a little lower, and now my head was above the front, and I found myself looking through the elaborate web of straps that decorated the cleavage.
"Oh, great!" I muttered, my voice muffled by the fabric tightly covering my mouth. "I bet this is what wearing a burqua must feel like." I chuckled, and moved my head around until my entire face came free from under the front part, and I could stick at least my chin through the first set of straps. Unfortunately, during this maneouvre my glasses got stuck on another set of straps, and as I was raising my chin the wire frame had been forced down from my eyes, and ended up pressed against my lips in a lopsided position.
I stood there frozen, and slowly started to perspire, because it was beginning to dawn on me that I was stuck real good. Suddenly I didn’t know whether I should laugh out loud or get hysterical. I started to wiggle my body again, still hoping that I could somehow unstuck myself from this ridiculous position, but the dress and those damned straps held me tight, wrapped around my face and upper torso, like a bunch of vicious tentacles, and I furiously shook my body, even jumped up and down in my sorry attempt to untangle myself from this mess.
"Oh no, you are not doing this to me!" I sneered, and changed tactics. Instead of getting into the dress, now I started working my way out of it. I somehow freed my chin, began to lower my head and wiggled my shoulders again, but all I accomplished was that the lower half of my face got buried under the fabric once again, and my wire brimmed glasses now decorated my forehead. My arms were still held above my head, and any attempt to bend or move them failed.
Oh, for christ’s sake, I thought miserably, this isn’t happening. This is just isnt!
Nevertheless, I was stuck and I knew it. There was no way I could free myself from this position, and I knew that if I didn’t get help I’d stand there, feeling like being rolled up in a carpet till eternity.
Okay. Let’s try this one more time. I took a deep breath, or as deep as the damned dress would let me, and I went through the motions once again. Wiggling, shaking, jumping, swearing, with my face red with anger, exertion and embarrassment.
I guess that was the time when the sales lady finally figured out that something wasn’t right. I don’t know if she just became concerned about me spending all that time in the fitting room, or she heard the sound of grunting, moaning and feet thudding on the floor as I was jumping up and down like a trapped beast, but I heard the approaching footsteps, and knew that I lost. This was going to be the most embarrassing moment of my life, but by this time I was at the point where I just wanted to get out of the bloody dress, and humiliation be damned.
The sound of footsteps got closer, and soon there was a polite knock on the door of the cubicle.
"Excuse me, are you all right in there?"
I couldn’t talk, because the fabric pressed tightly against my lips, so I tried a more simple form of communication. "Ungh!" I groaned, and banged on the door with my shoulder for extra effect.
"I’m sorry, I don’t understand you," she tried again. "Do you need any help?"
"UMPH!" was my answer, definately higher in volume this time, accompanied by heavier banging.
The woman hesitated. "Can you open the door?"
I rattled the walls of the cubicle furiously with my whole body, and I guess she finally got the message, because she went away for a few seconds, and when she returned I heard a key turning in the lock, and in the next moment the door opened.
"Okay, what seems to be the pr..." The rest of the sentence caught in her throat as she saw me standing there almost naked in the choke hold of the gown, with both my arms stuck up in the air, the web of straps cutting into the flesh of my cheeks, my glasses sticking out of my face at an obscene angle, and my left nipple peeking through the slit at the side. I couldn’t see myself, because the mirror was outside the cubicle, but I must have looked like one of those hapless beasts on Crocodile Hunter, trapped and tied up, ready for a transfer to the San Diego Zoo.
The woman shrieked, and her hand flew to her mouth. "Oh my God! What happened to you?"
"Uhm fftuck!" I huffed, trying to explain the obvious, my face turning to an even deeper red.
"You ARE fucked, aren’t you?" she agreed, apparently misunderstanding my mangled words. "Okay, let me help you with this." She grabbed the skirt part and started to pull it upwards, and I wiggled around a little to ease its way off my shoulders, but then there was a sudden ripping sound, and we both froze.
"My goodness," she squawked, "you are damaging my merchandise. "Quit moving about, will you?"
I gave a deep sigh, which resulted in another sharp ripping sound. The sales lady gave me a hard look. "STOP MOVING!"
I rolled my eyes, or I would’ve, have I not been afraid that I would damage the damned gown even more. So I just stood there unmoving, taking in the necessary oxygen in little gasps like a bird, while she worked on me.
It took her about twenty minutes to free me from the vicious hold of the dress. She had to peel it off me strap by strap, or tentacle by tentacle, and this time it was she who didn’t know whether to laugh at my stupidity and clumsiness, or scream and throw obscenities at me. Luckily nothing got torn or damaged, both the gown and I escaped unharmed. Only my dignity suffered, but I doubt that concerned her one bit. She looked the tag on the back of the dress, then gave me a scornful look, and shook her head in disbelief.
"You were trying on a size 4?" She gave my body a once over, and raised an eyebrow mockingly. "You are NOT that thin, you know."
I covered my body with my sweater, and looked at her sheepishly. "Maybe I should try a size 6..."
Her eyes hardened again, and she pursed her lips.
"...or maybe I shouldn’t." I got dressed in record time, and got out of the store as fast as my legs would carry me.
I purchased my party dress at an another mall, in another city. And yes, I bought a stretchy one. There is no chance in hell of ever getting trapped in that one.
Ilkdiko Giczi definitely does not look like a giant, glittery sausage