For about the past 20 years, I've had a size 36 waist, at least according to the pants I wear. It might be nice if I could claim that due to a consistent physical regimen I've stayed at pretty much the same weight during that time. But that would be a lie. Not only have I crept up with age, but I've flucuated all over the place during those two decades.
And yet, there it is--the steady, constant 36 inch waist. A little harder to button sometimes, but always that 36 (and sometimes a "relaxed fit" 36).
I'm one of those guys who doesn't like to try on clothes. I don't mind buying them, but I don't want to spend a bunch of time in a dressing room pulling a bunch of sweaters on and off over my head to see which is the right one. I like to just say, I wear a large or I wear a 36; just get me that. So in that sense, being able to buy a 36 is good. But I know, at least part of the time, that my current 36 is not what it once was.
So let's talk about the reality. I'm no longer convinced that a 36 is a 36, that a Large is a Large, that a Medium is anything at all. In fact, I'm pretty sure much of the time that Medium is the new Large. Or vice-versa.
And I live with women, so I know what I'm saying is true for women, and probably even worse. Since their clothes are more often based on numbers than ours are, somebody, or everybody, figured out that you can sell a hell of a lot more clothes if you lower the numbers. No woman wants to face the reality of going from an 8 to a 10. Double-digits are bad news. So, what the heck, let's make the 8 a 6. Who ever really knew what an 8 was anyway?
This might not matter a whole lot if you simply wanted to conclude that I'm lazy or crazy. But my concern is that clothes are part of the bigger problem.
Clothes have become euphemisms.
And that's the problem. If there aren't any hard and fast standards in clothing or anything else, then where are we? If we aren't expected to confront our problems and the implications of our actions (think very, very expensive wars) we're nowhere and everywhere at the same time. We can't get a sense of what our problems as a society are. What are we using too much of in terms of resources? Gasoline? Energy? Water? What restrictions do we need to put on ourselves when we as brokers, corporations, or individuals want to make money? Regulated? By whom? With what compromises? How can we have a drug for everything? Aren't we supposed to be depressed sometimes? Or euphoric? Aren't we supposed to experience a fever since it is our body's way of telling us it is fighting something. No worries. 98.6 degrees. Size 36 pants. Be happy.
In closing, ponder this: I have a credit card whose balance is $2300 over the credit limit the card was supposed to have. I've never asked to have the credit card limit raised. And yet, the limit was continually raised. So, like a pair of pants whose waist size can be restated to hold in anything, my debt is creeping, even while my "sense" of what is on that card stays the same.
When there aren't any true boundaries, everything we do fits.
The Hidden Camera's Awoo is available at Itunes.