The first time was seven years ago when my good friend Vince died. Today it was because I went to Indochino and was guilty of being fat.
I want to clarify crying. I well up at sad movies. This wasn’t that. I’m a 6’2” 350 lb teddy bear and I’ve been told I can be intimidating. Though I have a hard time believing it. I’m that guy in every way and I was full-on weeping, bawling.
Jake, my partner, and I are getting married in September. He’s pretty casual. I’ve never seen him in a suit. So the prospect of that alone was half of the reason to have a wedding. I, however, like a good suit. Being an overweight man, it’s one of the few options I have to look nice. Plus, I needed a new one. So instead of looking like loose bags of potatoes in rentals, we opted to research and buy, knowing how much places like Indochino cost. Why not just pay twice the rental fee and get a relatively nice-looking suit?
As a fat person, I’ve learned to plan. I cannot stand pitying looks or being given any reason to look more out of place in a world that isn’t made for me. It’s something I’ve learned to do from being embarrassed a few too many times. The booth at the diner is too small or you accidentally catch a belt loop on the door frame for the millionth fucking time. I wake up in the world as someone who has to prove they aren’t a clown. It is exhausting.
So I researched and planned. I read fashion blogs by overweight men who endorsed Indochino. I read and reread Indochino’s site and several times entered in my measurements and got very excited. I was going to get to share the same unfettered experience with my partner. I wouldn’t have to make any concessions or pretend like I was having just as much fun watching, I was going to get to participate! I’m getting married and I was getting to do a standard thing the standard person way. I was excited!
We drove three hours to the nearest Indochino store in Dallas. It was our first time making an online suit purchase so we wanted to make sure everything was properly done. Jake and I wait our turn. He was scheduled first. When our very kind associate, obviously trying to think of a way to say something uncomfortable said, “…so long as you fit within our measurements.” She tried her hardest to look at both of us but everyone knew what was about to happen. I was crestfallen.
She kindly measured Jake first. I want to emphasize how kind this person was. She obviously wanted to make me feel as human as possible. I can’t say how much I appreciate that. Then she measured me.
Shoulders, broad, good. Neck, good. Arms, good. Wast. “Sir, I’m so sorry but you’re just a few inches out of our standard measurements. My system won’t allow me to fit you.”
Knowing it was coming didn’t really prepare me. Neither did the very kind theater for what everyone knew was about to happen. “She was incredibly apologetic.” I’ve learned to appreciate kindness in these situations. But I’ve also learned not to speak out for myself out of politeness. I’m trying to break that habit.
Sorrowful, holding back tears, I said, “It doesn’t say anywhere on your site that I wouldn’t fit. You have to understand how embarrassing and hurtful this is.” I made sure to indicate that my complaint wasn’t with her, but her employer’s system. She, without prompting agreed that it was awful, I could see the human concern in her eyes and indicated that she would work hard to make sure someone who could do something knew what happened. She also gave me the name and number of a good tailor. She asked if she could have him reach out. I consented.
But, Jake still needed a suit. It took about 30 minutes to help him pick out fabrics, accessories, etc. He looks good in a suit by the way. They had to figure out a way to get his butt to fit right in the pants. I tried to switch to my ‘just as much fun to watch’ mode, but it wasn’t working.
All I could think is of every incident I’ve been embarrassed, outside of my control. Every time I’ve been made to feel like an obstacle or a thing in someone’s way. Every time I’ve been pushed aside for the ten people waiting in line who were ‘normal’. Every fad diet my mother thought would be ‘helpful’. It was too much to take. I couldn’t even look my partner in the eyes. If I had I would have ended up bawling right there and then.
We finished, paid, and left. I think we spent just over $500. Not bad.
Jake asked If I wanted lunch. I asked him to drive somewhere private. Navigating Dallas traffic, he found a parking structure. I asked him to leave. I know it’s probably not healthy but I needed to do this alone.
I didn’t just cry, I wailed. For twenty minutes, in a dark parking structure, I mourned my dignity. I can’t describe it as anything other than loss.
For those of you who don’t know how it feels, I really do envy you.
After I was sure I was finished, I checked my phone. I had a missed call from a tailor. The woman at the store hadn’t wasted any time. She really is a good person. I was seen as a person by her that day, not an obstacle.
We actually ended up seeing the tailor that day. He was also very kind. I wonder if it’s a trait of good people to know each other or for good people to be tailors. Then I remember that Nazis had nice uniforms. So probably the former.
I’ll be getting a custom suit. It cost about three times what we paid for my partner’s. Don’t get me wrong, it is worth every penny. It’s a completely custom suit made by a small business owner. The point is, that day, there wasn’t just an emotional premium for being fat, there was a $1000 fee.
I am reminded every day that I live in a world that isn’t made for me. When I was a little younger, seeking out queer relationships drew that reality to an even finer point.
Fat people are people. We aren’t a joke. We aren’t clowns.
And yes, we’ve tried fucking keto.