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Heavy Shopping

Apr
4
2007

Consider the following two, apparently unrelated, facts:
1. As we are often told, Americans have been getting chubbier.
2. The popularity of home decorating and its attendant fluff – books, stores, TV shows, magazines – has been growing.
But unrelated they’re not. Oh, no. It comes down to changing fantasies. Women are the prime household shoppers. If you’re carrying around an extra 10, or, er, 20, or – well, what’s an exact number among friends? – let’s say some extra pounds, it’s much more fun to think about buying this season’s linen-covered sofa than the latest skinny leg jeans.
After all, you can’t grow out of a sofa. Well, you can, but it’s pretty hard to do and then you get featured on a reality show with the producers using a crane to take the wall off your house to get you out for emergency intervention. Typically women unhappy with some part of their body can satisfy their shopping jones with shoes and jewelry, but maybe we’ve hit the point where yes, you can grow out of those too. Calves too heavy for cool boots? A choker necklace just highlights the second chin? How about some new throw pillows and a shower curtain instead?
When you walk into a home store the fantasy is all about how your house will look; the people are a fuzzy mental white space you can vaguely include. But a clothing store is all about those skinny possible beings you have to discard. Pictures of interiors show beautiful rooms, empty of people, or just using humans as a secondary prop; in fashion pictures, you can’t get away from the model at the center.
And women are encouraged to shop by those who would make money from them, as well as those who think the economy needs lots of ringing consumption. If you’re looking for some shopping as entertainment, house décor fills what could have been a shopping hole; you can play with fabrics and colors and visualize effects, without having to worry about what kind of heavy-duty restraining underwear could make the whole thing possible. There’s even a new TV show that makes explicit a translation of a woman’s interest in fashion to her home style. (I haven’t seen it, so I can’t tell if it’s aimed at the chubby, although I’m almost positive if the show is it’s not stated that way.)
Other reasons furniture shopping trumps clothes shopping:
1. You don’t have to stop eating for a month to sit down at a dining room table.
2. You won’t have an unused chair staring out at you from your closet every time you open the door.
3. The only zippers that are tough to do up are on cushions.
Of course, at some point most people, even we of the extra pounds, do have to buy some clothes. (And diets can be an iffy thing.) However, there’s always the Carol Burnett skit for inspiration – the one where she played Gone With the Wind’s Scarlett and made a dress out of Tara’s curtains, complete with curtain rod. That could make a statement. Plus, hey, width at the shoulders makes the hips look smaller.

Share  Posted by Deborah Klosky at 4:34 PM | Permalink

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