Wednesday, November 03, 2010

The dark side of the Internet

-I'm not sure where I stand on the question of kids'-clothes-as-vanity-sizing, as my self-contradiction might have shown. But, to my female readers - heck, to my male readers - if you want to feel tiny, I have one suggestion: the L.L. Bean Kids' Fisherman Sweater. The Large (14-16) is the equivalent of a Women's XXL at a store for especially tall women. My reaction to opening the package and discovering this might help illustrate the truth about this phenomenon: I was 90% annoyed that this would mean paying $6.50 for a return (plus a bogus $1 "drop-off fee" at my local UPS place) to exchange for a size that might be wrong as well, 5% relieved that the garment didn't make me look fat (which is, I suspect, the most disappointing quality a piece of clothing can have for a woman in the West, even an all-around small one), and another 5% reminded of my short stature and ashamed at being incapable of filling out something intended for the underage. Or make that 2.5% flattered and 2.5% wondering whether there's a population of enormous-in-both-directions children in Maine, whether this has something to do with the lobster, and whether maybe, just maybe, contrary to biological reality, I'm still growing. I think the greater message here is, people who live in cities where shopping in person is almost too easy have no business shopping online, unless the goods have a free roundtrip ticket.

-Online personas, when not altogether fictional, are typically idealized, best-foot-forward versions of the people behind them. This is true on blogs, as well as Facebook. Whatever unpleasant or tragic crap you're dealing with, a moment online will lead to what appears to be an avalanche of acquaintances who haven't a damn clue. They may be dealing with horribleness of their own, but you'll never know, because online, everyone using their real name is experiencing one success, one delight, after the next. Which is why this post is spot-on. (I speak in general terms - I have yet to have reason to consider whether or not I'm fertile, or to have more than a handful of Facebook friends with kids - the baby photos are, along with puppy photos, James Franco photos, etc., among the highlights of a visit to that site, as far as I'm concerned. In fact, now that I know how to Facebook-feed-filter, I'm tempted to remove anyone who doesn't post cute photos at least some of the time.)

-Organizations should not put their rejected applicants on their promotional email lists. That someone once, years ago, applied to work somewhere does not make them a "fan." Levels of bitterness towards or continued affection for such places vary from person to person, depending on the situation -someone who failed to get a job at Planned Parenthood, say, will not start protesting in front of abortion clinics, but someone not hired at a particular bakery might opt to go to an inferior bakery down the street for years to come. But if anything, the feelings will be fonder if there are no calls to donate to, Twitter-follow, or otherwise acknowledge the entity. (Again, general terms - it's 100 years since I've been on any  kind of real job market. But I will get the occasional reminder, in the form of one of these emails, of some place I applied to intern or something 150 years ago, and I suspect this happens to real-job applicants as well.)


Britta said...

That's good to know. I was planning on ordering that exact sweater in large, but now I might go down to a medium. How long were the arms on the large? If it didn't make you look fat, I take it it's not a blocky sweater?

In terms of size inflation, if adult women wear a child's medium, what do actual children wear?

Phoebe Maltz Bovy said...

As best as I can advise someone I know only on the Internet, I'd suggest the medium. I exchanged for the small, and it's OK except the sleeves are too short, and the sweater's just long enough not to show any midriff. If I were taller, I'd have had to get the medium. But the material's nice, not itchy, etc.

But yes, it's baffling in terms of real children. Do 8-year-olds (the alleged wearers of the small) also take my cup size? If so, puberty's starting very early these days. But seriously, if children are getting heavier faster than adults, that would help explain the significant size overlap between the smaller women's sizes and children's clothes.

Britta said...

Thanks for the advice. I actually was wondering which color you got, and if it was true to the picture. I am leaning towards getting the natural, though the navy blue looked nice. My problem is blue jeans + blue top is too much blue, so I might go with the neutral regardless.

Phoebe Maltz Bovy said...

I went with "natural" - it's kind of a cream color - white with a yellowish tinge.