Jumbopants

I need some new pants. Got to head over to the mall and pick a few things out. Get a pair or two hemmed and I’m set. Right? Bullshit.

Right-sized folks don’t have to worry much about whether they can find clothes that fit both their body and budget. Their choices are pretty much limitless. Between the mall, a few high-end boutiques and even a discount store, the average normal-BMI-individual can pretty much put together a whole wardrobe. Not me.

I haven’t bought anything at a department store in years. High-end men’s shops? Forget it. Even the XXL shirts at the big-box discounters that target middle American waistlines don’t fit me.  There are three, maybe four places where I can buy clothes around Boston. Big and Tall stores. Ugh.

The name itself it cutting – Big and Tall, as in ‘Hey, bud, you don’t fit in (no pun intended), so you need your own special store.’ They hold me hostage with limited choices and crazy prices. Want a pair of Levi’s? $105. An off-the-rack, middling quality business suit? A grand-and-a-half.

The other choice is the internet. But if you buy something online, it still needs alterations. Most tailors don’t know that when they shorten pants for a fat guy, they need to taper the leg slightly to avoid a bell-bottom look. They also may need to lift the crotch a bit and maybe add a belt loop or two at the back, to stop the material from bunching. There’s no simple tailoring for a big man.

It doesn’t end there. You wear the new slacks out with friends and get a few compliments. Then the inevitable question – “Where are those from?” No malice intended, just genuine interest, because they are nice pants and the friends likes the material. Maybe he’d like a similar pair for himself. I never know how to answer.

Data recently released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the obesity rate in the U.S. is leveling off. Sounds like a good thing, until you learn that 34% of adults in the country are obese, along with 17% of children. That’s a huge number of people who need to get dressed every morning – so why aren’t there more and better clothing stores for us?

The whole thing gives me agita.

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