Monday, April 21, 2008

Shopping while naked

Sunday was quite productive for me in a lot of ways. I went over to my family's house in the morning for a quick visit, which turned into a bit of a heavy talk with Tara, but fortunately didn't last too long.

Then I went to my local Loehmann's which is closing the store and liquidating everything, so everything was at least 20% off, and 30% for clearance and reduced items. The big find was a white spring trenchcoat by DKNY, which I've been searching for since the weather is getting too warm for my wool coats. I also bought some scarves, a pair of Cosabella pj pants, a stretch lace tank and thong by Hanky Panky and some earrings. Unfortunately, I found it very difficult to shop for actual clothes because they had removed all the size tags from all the hangers, so that made it difficult to tell at a glance where my size was located in any particular rack. Plus, I couldn't find a shopping basket, so it got tiring having to carry stuff around in my arms. Also, while it wasn't terribly crowded, I wasn't really in the mood to try on clothes that day.

I had an encounter at Loehmann's too. An older woman and I were shopping in the scarf area, and she blurted out, "You know, you just don't see too many Asian women your height." Normally, this kind of comment really chaps my hide, because it's usually thrown at me from some male passerby who thinks this is some form of flattery ("Wow, you're tall!" is what I usually get). For the record, I'm 5'11" in bare feet. So I said to her, "Yeah, I'm one of a kind." She then proceeded to tell me about her son and his girlfriend and their heights, to which I nodded and kept on shopping. As she turned to go, she said, "Oh, and you're gorgeous, by the way!" I thanked her and she moved on. Memo to all the would-be suitors: I'd much rather be called gorgeous than tall.

Loehmann's is an interesting place because they are one of the few stores that have open dressing rooms. I've heard that sample sales in New York are the same way - basically there are no private dressing rooms and you just have to grin and bare it in public if you want to try something on. At Loehmann's they typically have a large mirrored room for the ladies to try on stuff, with private stalls for those who want to wait for them. When I went to the store on Broadway last week with my friend Lori, there were several women in the communal dressing area trying on clothes while stripped down to their bras and thongs. Fortunately I remembered to wear decent underwear so I could do the same (although I wasn't wearing a thong that day).

Seeing strangers naked or unclothed makes me feel kind of ookie. Which is strange, since I really don't have a problem with my own nudity (although I'm certainly not as comfortable about it as my friend Agnieszka), despite the fact that it wasn't a common sight in my house growing up. I can remember exactly one time seeing my mom naked, and once or twice seeing my father's genitals (and one of those was in the hospital when he had hernia surgery). My older brother and I weren't that shy around each other, though. Of course I've had my issues in the past with my body image, but nowadays I fully embrace the idea that nudity is natural and nothing to be ashamed of.

Anyway, back to Sunday. After Loehmann's I went to Costco and bought some groceries and a sleeping back for our camping trip this upcoming weekend. I went home to unload everything, and did some laundry and handwashing of my new purchases and some of my bras. Watched the Rockets get beat by the Utah Jazz in the first game of the NBA playoffs and ripped some of the programs off my DVR to DVD-R. I also cooked up a huge pot of fried rice and made some General Tso's chicken from Costco to go with it for dinner.

Afterwards, I was feeling some acute loneliness, so despite an uncomfortable phone call with Tara just prior to leaving, I went over to my family's house, planning to sit and read my book in their living room and just be quiet with them. Tara dragged me upstairs to her studio and we talked through some of the lingering issues that have fallen out of this past week's drama until about 1:30 a.m. It was a lot longer than I had planned on staying, but I'm glad that we finally got some unspoken things out that had threatened to fester.

I will also put in plug for a new book on polyamory that appeared on my email list service today. You can read more about it here: