Something about me which has slightly bewildered my parents is the seemingly effortless way I manage to find the truly bizarre jobs in life. That time I was a kitchen porter on a boat was quite a good one, but for the last year I’ve been having even more fun working in a lingerie warehouse. Like you do.
Only I could find a job in which having pictures of a scantily clad woman on the walls is actually a requirement. Only I could find a job in which that scantily clad woman is in fact a one-woman talent show: she’s her own photographer, make-up artist and graphic designer. And only I could find a job which exists because a lovely woman one day couldn’t find a decent suspender belt, and decided that she’d bloody well make her own.
Anyway, because I’m a rare beastie that can read, write and count to quite an alarming standard, I’ve been doing a lot of customer service. Mainly, that’s writing emails to people about their returns and exchanges, which is frankly not very interesting, but the other day I had an email that I really, really wanted to help with.
It was from a woman who was short and fat, and despairing of ever finding stockings to fit. I can sympathise. She was only a little shorter and a little fatter than me. And she, like me, has what I affectionately refer to as “thighs of doom”. She called them “thunder thighs”, to be fair, but I knew what she meant. So, in the interests of science, and customer service, I did some things that I’d never expected to do at work.
- I measured my waist, my hips, my inner leg and around the top of my thigh using the tape measure that we usually use to work out how much the postage will cost for oddly-shaped packages (an occupational hazard).
- I weighed myself.
- I went to try on our sample stockings.
This was all decidedly weird. For one thing, because the fashion industry has all but eradicated the use of actual measurements for womens’ clothing, I looked at the tape-measure numbers and they meant nothing. The weighing-scale number, on the other hand… Well, at this point I’m going to go on a detour and explain that, when I was last weighed a month or so ago, the nurse made a point of pointing out that I’d got heavier again. I was right up at the top end of my normal range, 75 kg – or nearly 12 stone if you’re old school, like me. If you’re from the US and use pounds, what I want to know is, why? Why do you use pounds? Who needs to be that accurate?
Anyway, anyway. So I did what I usually do, which is to wait until the nurse has finished before explaining sweetly that I don’t own a set of scales, so I can’t keep an eye on my weight. As long as my trousers fit, or can be tied on, I’m all good.
Between then and now, I’ve been working at the warehouse a lot. Really, a lot. To the extent that my arm muscles have visibly grown, and I now can’t fit into a really nice shirt I own that has tight sleeves. But when I weighed myself that day, I was 69 kg. That’s 10 stone 10, so I’ve lost nearly a stone in weight from somewhere. But where? It’s inexplicable, and I don’t like it. My vote is that the medical scales are evil, and should be punished. I’m pretty sure the warehouse scales are ok, because if they weren’t, we’d owe a lot of people a lot of money in unpaid postage, and you’d think they’d’ve figured it out by now.
And for another thing, it was weird because I wear my mankiest clothes and heaviest boots to work, which is perfectly acceptable when it’s a dusty warehouse. So I had to warn my colleague and friend (nicknamed Baron Von Pickles by me one drunken evening) that I was disrobing, so that he could avoid being surprised by my naked legs. And then I had to hide in the back room, trying on stockings and making notes.
The nice thing is that despite all of the multifaceted weirdness involved, this story has a happy ending. I did find some stockings that are made of awesome, I put my trousers back on, I emailed the customer back and hopefully, everybody will be happy. The moral of this story is that sometimes it’s ok to weigh yourself in the pursuit of knowledge. And also that stockings for fat women exist. Yay!