Communal Dressing Rooms: Where Dreams Go to Die

Posted on May 20, 2011



I’m just as evolved as the average woman.  I’m smart, I’m funny, and I can sing “See You in September” backward.  I paint, I write, I can still recite the entire introduction to the old TV show “Superman.” I’d say I have a pretty good self-image, except for two areas of life: finding myself at a dinner party with my gastroenterologist and being in a communal dressing room. 

I thought the chance of either happening was slim, especially since a couple years ago, Loehmanns installed private dressing rooms.  But yesterday I went to Loehmanns for their big 20% off sale.  Because of the big sale (only until May 22),there was a long line to get into the private rooms.  I didn’t feel like waiting.  I headed for the communal area. 

Here are my concerns about communal dressing rooms:

5. I will rip a garment while trying it on.

4. I will be seen doing #5 by a lot of people.

3. I will get stuck putting something on and not be able to extricate myself.

2. There will be a fire drill during #3

1. I will be in close proximity to someone who is10 inches taller, weighs10 lbs less, is 30 years younger, and who is trying on the exact same clothes as me.  

Picture this: She is tall (We are talking really tall).  Her legs take up the length of my body now inhabited by my legs and torso.  Butt, breasts: perfection.  Skin color: Something other than pasty anemic white. She’s standing in her perfect tiny matching undies, trying on one perfectly fitting garment after another.  To make myself feel better, I tell myself she is a famous supermodel who has been personally airbrushed before making the trip to Loehmanns for the big sale, but then I hear her say something to the woman next to her about her job and it is perfectly ordinary. 

I now realize I’m now trying to change garments without actually taking anything off until the next garment is in place. At the exact moment I have discovered that I have approximately seven garments on me, I hear her say to the woman next to her, “I don’t know what it is about those five lbs.  They come and go.  It’s so frustrating.  I just can’t figure it out.  Maybe it’s the ice cream.  I should cut down on that.” 

I have to leave.  I pull one of the seven garments over my head too quickly and it gets stuck.  It won’t come off.  I feel like Houdini’s mother, about to  cover the Houdini Straight Jacket Escape for Harry who is home with a cold.   A button pops off of the garment on my head.  The garment stays firmly in place. I stand very still and listen.  I am grateful I don’t hear anything rip. 

That’s when I think I hear the fire alarm.