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The numbers (size) game

Posted by Tamar F.

I have a mom who’s like a character in a sit-com…very Suzanne Pleschette in a fur coat. Mom keeps saying I should be a size 6, that I have thrown away “my birthday gifts” of looks by not being so. The problem is, I haven’t been a 6 since I was 12. Obviously, I went and had a life past 12. Lots of people found me attractive. But, there have also been people who suggested – either subtly or not so – that I should drop a few.

The question is, what’s a good goal? I feel like if I can shop at stores like Gap and I don’t bulge out of stuff, if I can walk up hills without being winded, I’m good. But it’s hard to stand firm and proud in the face of the numbers game. I’d rather fit what I’m wearing than burst out of the smaller size. It is bizarre that the average size in the US is 12-14 and most stores cut off the women’s items right there.

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My dad, a skinny marathoner-type, used to comment when he saw women in clothes that were too tight that it was like "100 lbs. in a 50 lb. sack." He always admired the "twiggy" look and had me so obsessed with numbers that I found that I could easily correlate my self esteem on any given day by the three numbers on the scale that morning. To this day I find it hard to buy clothes a size larger than I "should" wear-- even though I know it is completely illogical. Parents should beware of how tenancious their comments about size can be. If you feel good and aren't negatively impacted by your size, whatever that is, than the number on the tag really is just that-- a number.
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