"There's only one hard and fast rule in running: sometimes you have to run one hard and fast."

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Skinny Guy Rant

I don't care that the average person's fat (except for the health consequences). I don't care that the typical person's vain. But when being fat and vain becomes institutionalized to the point that I get inconvenienced, yeah, I'm going to rant.

When I bought a Garmin Forerunner, it came with an additional, extra-big wristband that could be attached. I was shocked, as I had to use the smallest hole on the smaller band and the thing was still none too snug. Young men no longer wear watches (they check time on cell phones), so watches are designed for middle-aged men who are roughly twice my weight - actual athletes of normal size need not apply. I now know what the extra band's for... look at this picture to see where skinny people wear watches!

I went to see a movie and, because they crammed in as many seats as possible, the rows were so close that I had to sit spread-eagled to fit in (and at 6 feet, I'm not exactly a giant). This didn't mean that I was using the leg space of two seats, though, as the seats were wide enough for someone who was 350 pounds.

That, I'm actually okay with. It's the fact that vanity sizing has crept into men's clothes that's set me off.

It started with women's clothes, specifically bras. Nearly 85% of women wear the wrong size bra (according to people who actually study such things) and this is because the sizes stated on them have nothing to do with their actual size. The band width (and here I'm admitting to knowing far more about women's underwear than a non-transvestite should) might be measured at the fullest part of the breast, beneath the breasts or 5 centimeters (2 inches) below the breasts - and even then might not be listed correctly.

That was just amusing in a "how vain women can be" sort of way. It quickly spread to all clothes, however. A size 6 today would have been a size 10 only a decade ago, though the average American woman is now a size 14 or 16. The sizes no longer have a standard, but are sized to vanity, so that women can say, "I'm still a size 16. My old clothes must have shrunk. And I can still get dressed without putting down the cannoli!"

Okay, that was just mean. So sue me; it's a rant.

Now it's spread to men's clothes. I went clothes shopping and had to bring a tape measure with me, to see what the real waist sizes of pants were. It was a real time saver, as the smallest sizes, waists of 28-31, were all 32 inches or larger (I was looking for 31) - no one carries my size, because I'm not fat enough. The only pants that are not vanity sized are Levi's and Lee jeans and I could find my size - in the teen's department.

Shirts are impossible. At least I can now search the racks, as I've gained enough weight that I'm no longer looking for the impossible "pencil-neck" 14 1/2. First I had to find "tapered cut," then "slim cut," "European cut," and finally had to buy shirts meant for men 80 pounds heavier than me and have them recut.

I get that the realities of retail mean that I'm going to be hard to shop for, but size... is size. Stop the vanity sizing! An inch is an inch. Labels should tell the truth, even if you don't want to know it.


Glaven Q. Heisenberg said...

Shut up, fatso.


I'm 6'4" tall and when I was a kid of 18, I had to go to "Big and Tall Men's" shops to get suits that fit. And that was apparently a Boolean "and" because if I found pants with a long enough inseam, the waistband was about 8 inches too big - at least - because they expected someone of my height to be a lardass.

Now that people are taller? I can get stuff that fits off the rack.

Not sure where this fits in with your rant or even if it does but i don't care because you talked about women's breasts in this post and it was in such a way that a failed to get even one boner.

Emz said...

Oh Steve. I just adore you. Don't be scared. Ok be a little scared.

This. Is.
So. True.

I had an email from a buyer last night ripping me a new one. "this is not a proper sz 12. I wear a 12 and this fits like an 8. You're measurements are right as posted but it doesn't fit & I'd like a refund. "

I cannot post what I replied back & certainly not what I wanted to write. ;)
I will say I am part of the 85% of women wearing the wrong bra size though.

Oh & I'm totally wearing my watch on my arm like the girl in the photo during my next marathon. That's for the idea.

Emz said...

Ummmm, "thanks for the idea" that is. Dang iPhone thinks it knows what I want to say better than me.

Glaven Q. Heisenberg said...

Elenore - The Turtles:

Gee I think you're
And you really do me
You're my pride and joy et cetera

The really interesting thing about that song is it's intentionally bad because it's from an album (Battle of the bands) that was the Turtles doing songs in the styles of different bands and "Elenore" was meant to be a parody of the Turtles' own style. They were a little surprised when it became the breakout hit.

I really like that song. I have it on my iPod somewhere ...

JojaJogger said...

I've got one for you. I bought a replacement armband for my IPhone online. When I got it, the only place I could wear it was around my thigh, and I am by no means a skinny person.

Chelsea said...

This is very true. I'm 5'4" and 120lbs- what I could consider a very "average sized" woman- but there are some stores, especially department stores, where I can't find anything that fits that's age appropriate. Everything is too big except clothes for 13-year-old girls and 90-year-old grandmas.

Pretend this is real... said...

This came in handy recently, however, when I was looking for over-sized clothes for a Halloween costume and everything they had was perfect!

Fast Bastard said...

Steve, I have to disagree slightly.

I think you're right when it comes to men. But women, especially American women hold beauty ideals that are too skinny.

In running terms, I maintain that even sub-elite men (and some elite men, like Alan Webb) are generally too heavy and would get faster if they lost weight.

Many women, and this ranges into recreational runners, are too skinny, and would benefit from toning up a bit.

It's all because of beauty ideals.

I think it's a little different in Europe, because endurance sports, particularly cycling and track, are very popular and on TV all the time. Even soccer players are rarely as fat as NFL or MLB players.

Kathleen Fasanella said...

I attempted to post a response to your post but it was too long to process and it would not accept the hyperlinks I used to substantiate my points. I'd be happy to send it to you personally but cannot locate your email address. Mine is accessible by appending "kathleen" to my url.

Btw, I'm one of those people who actually studies these things. Scratch that, I implement it. Worse, I [perish the thought] advise clothing manufacturers how to structure their sizing. What I have to say will likely surprise you.

RBR said...

Fast Bastard said: But women, especially American women hold beauty ideals that are too skinny.

RBR thinks Fast Bastard is BRILLIANT.

(I don't do Facebook, so I get my narcissistic third person fix here at Run. Race. Repeat.)

SteveQ said...

@RBR: I like being a Facebook tease. I have a site, but it's blank. 51 people want to be my friend, though, and that's comforting.

Samantha said...

Ugh. I know what you mean. I hate clothes shopping and especially hate jeans shopping because I never know what size I should be grabbing so I always have to try on and always have to grab several different sizes of the same item.

I've wondered why I have some bras that fit great and some that don't when they're the same labeled size. I guess I've never bothered taking a tape measure to them.

My husband has big trouble with work shirts because he's tall (6'4" and skinny). He can't get shirts with long enough sleeves unless they're also ridiculously large elsewhere, too because apparently, you can't be tall AND skinny. Big and Tall stores are tall enough but too big.

Carina said...

First time reading but had to comment on this. Our older neighbor gave hubby and I t-shirts that had been designed for some project he worked on 30 years ago. T-shirts were made of good quality material and clearly kept well. Didn't guess they were that old until he told us. That night, we tried them on. One L, one XL. We decided they'd be useless for both of us, since I wear S or M in t-shirts and hubby wears M or L. Surprise! I fit just right in what was L 30 years ago, and XL was even a bit snug on my 180lb hubby. Funny stuff!