Last night when Erin called, the shopping trip sounded like a wonderful idea. “I have a great personal shopper at Saks,” Erin said. “Natalie is a genius.” Now, as Heather steps into the dressing room lounge in a tight tan sheath dress that fits her like a sausage casting and faces Erin, she realizes that this wasn’t a good idea after all. Shopping with a friend who wears a size 0 and can still manage to eat macaroni and cheese doesn’t make for much fun. Erin looks like a movie star in a beaded oyster colored cocktail dress.
“Yours looks perfect,” Heather says. “Mine is too tight.”
“Premium designers tend to run small,” Erin says. “This one’s a size 2.”
“So, I’ll pay ten times the normal price and feel that much worse about myself?” Heather says. The cliché must be true, Heather decides. You can’t be too rich or too thin in Beverly Hills.
Natalie, the genius, reappears with another armful of garments. “Erin, that looks amazing,” Natalie exclaims. “And Heather, I brought you a Donna Karan to try. It’s on hold for another customer but I wanted to see if it fits. It’s forgiving for a curvier figure.”
Curvier, Heather thinks. That’s a nice way of putting it.
“Can I get you ladies anything?” Natalie asks. “Water or coffee?”
“A noose,” Heather says.
Erin laughs nervously.
Heather takes the Donna Karan back into the changing room. She squeezes out of the last dress and stands in front of the full-length mirror naked, except for her granny panties. The dimples on her thighs look magnified. She turns around and examines herself from behind. It’s worse. For a moment she thinks that she might actually cry. This is silly, she thinks. She has three beautiful children and a husband to be thankful for. Heather looks at the price tag dangling from the sleek Donna Karan. This whole outing is ridiculous, she thinks. I should donate what this costs to charity and wear something that I already own. That is, if any of my dresses still fit me. Maybe I’ll bring the muumuu back into style. Was it ever in style?
“How’s it going in there?” Natalie asks in her annoying nasal tone.
“It’s going,” Heather says.
“I’m buying the first turquoise one that I tried on,” Erin says.
“That’s great,” Heather says. “It looked amazing on you. In fact, all the dresses looked beautiful on you.”
“Well, I want to see that one you’ve got in there on you,” Erin says. “I think that color is going to be perfect with your eyes.”
Heather looks at the price tag again. It’s an even smaller size than the last. This is a waste of time but I’ll try to be a good sport, she decides. Heather reluctantly steps into the dress. It easily slips up past her thighs, hips and butt. A good sign. It even zips easily on the side. She looks at herself in the mirror. She looks 10 pounds lighter and 5 years younger. She imagines wearing it to David’s wedding and dancing with Michael. She steps out of the dressing room and Erin gasps.
“It’s perfect,” Natalie exclaims and claps her hands.
“I’ll take it,” Heather says.
“This one is for another client,” Natalie says. “ But there’s one in your size in our New York store. I can transfer it here but you’ll have to come back to pick it up. Or you could use our courier service.”
“I’ll do whatever it takes,” Heather says. All sense and reason slipped away once she was able to fit into this dress size.
“Let’s celebrate with burgers and milkshakes at The Counter,” Erin says.
“Another fantastic idea,” Heather says and hands Natalie her credit card.