I was in a dressing room, excited about my new findings after a longer session of “quality time together” while shopping with my better half. As any other guy, my partner feels the need to immediately fix any given problem, that is why, I know he can really handle any special request I might have while I’m trying on clothes, sincerely knowing that he is the right man for the job: his orientation skills are great, he has a professional army background, so if he can survive a week in the woods, he can make it a couple oh hours in a mall, he knows where to find and how to read a label and has pretty good taste when it comes to my pieces of clothing, so I can’t ask for more than that, right?

While I am trying out different items, I realize that I need a bigger size for a top I’ve picked out, so I wave briefly, ask him to come and bring me a larger (M or 8) size. As he walks away from the fitting room, right when he was leaving the entrance of it, he turns around and asks, one more time, just to be sure: “what size do you need, baby, an 8?????” I don’t know if it was the echo formed in that fitting room, his smug smile that implied the innocent confidence based on his assumption that bigger is better, his deep powerful manly voice that made it sound as if I was asking for a bigger size for a tent and not a silk top, but it was certain that there was not chance in hell for me to like the way the larger size – that I asked for!!!- would fit.

This episode stayed with me, I’ve told the girls in the office about it, we laughed it off, with passion and a hidden sense of inner peace as we all were wearing a size S sweater that morning. Yet, something was still bugging me about it. Why didn’t I buy the top, if I liked it and felt good wearing it? After all, I need a bigger size for the upper part of the body, which is not bad at all! Honestly, my closet is a safe house for clothes with sizes that range from XS to L, and I like them all. I would take a larger item, a more comfortable piece of clothing, a shirt that drops on one shoulder, a dress that lets me breathe over one that makes me look 6 months pregnant from eating a peanut, every time, so, it must be something else!

The S on the label doesn’t stand for Smart or Sexy

I went from jokes at the office to heavy reasoning and introspection in order to get to the real motive that wasn’t going to let me off the hook for making myself feel bad – because that was what really happened – who said shopping is not an effective method of self-knowing and therapy is dead wrong!

Although we all are aware that that S does not stand for Smart, Sexy and has nothing to do with attitude, intellect and sensuality, that it is not the defining element of our perSonality (and if not convinced, we have Beyonce on our side to show us how it’s done), a smaller size something, can have magical powers on our pSihic. It’s a small personal victory, a notable and accountable result, a boost of confidence. Most of the times, it’s actually more powerful than a brand or your own comfort, and it can make you respond differently to a compliment: “Your dress is so pretty!”, You: “Thanks, it’s an S!!!”. We obsess about ponchos, oversize jackets, and boyfriend jeans, but we want those to be an XS, if possible, like it would even make a difference!

Do we have double standards for ourselves?

All the above are not harmful, but we women, make them work against us and end up feeling bad and guilty because we don’t fit in our own beauty standards, fearing that a goji berry will ruin our waistline and future life. “Beautiful in any size or shape” has everything to do with self-confidence, positive energy, and a healthy life, lived to the fullest – but that is too long to fit on a label!

I can’t stop but wondering why is it that can we so vividly see that in other people, but not ourselves? Why do we see our friends gorgeous, regardless of the sizes they wear, but when it comes to us, we don’t apply the same rule? Don’t get me wrong, I am the first one to fight for higher standards related to the way we look, present ourselves and above all, the way we feel and I am not a fan of mediocracy or excuses, yet I do not agree with constantly punishing ourselves.

Here is another classic: you would want him to like you in your loose pj’s, the ones with the fat giraffe floating on a cloud, right? If the guy likes you without makeup, without your hair done and in your largest college sweat pants, then that must be real love, right? But do you like yourself with no makeup on? Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who’s not being true at all?

And since we’re talking about our men, in a life tortured by sizes, why do we even insist on lying that size doesn’t matter, ladies?

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