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Manners and Mantras
By Sasha Fastovskiy
A good friend of mine recently informed me that I tend to have a slightly negative outlook. On my regular days, I believe the weather will be exact opposite of what I’d prefer, my hair will look awful in the morning, and my sister will look like the younger one (note: she is not). However, even when my glass cannot possibly appear any emptier, I believe I will find something worth smiling about when I step into the fitting room to try on my armful of frocks. Why is the fitting room so wonderful to me? Perhaps I have perfected the talent of not asking for much (A locking door? A mirror? Perchance a vent, blowing my hair just so in the wind?). Maybe I have mastered curtain karma ~ if you are good to it, it will be good to you. Or it could just be years of experience, meaning that I know what to look for in the most fitting of fitting rooms. After a great number of dressing room disappointments, I understand that the best way to be in the fitting room is polite and courteous. I believe that a good fitting room experience is all about the rules that govern. I believe that proper etiquette will get you everywhere. Most importantly, I believe that trying to fit into something two sizes too small will get you nowhere.
Manners: I will keep my conversations at a dull roar.
“LIKEOHMYGODTELLMEEVERYTHING.” I may be the only one that notices the considerably claustrophobic conditions of the fitting room area, but the anti-spacious surroundings allow for neighbors to hear everything, absolutely everything. While it’s understandable there’s all sorts of breaking news happening at that very moment, it is important to use caution in conversations, both cellular and physical. It is also important to remember that that your mother, your two-year old son, or that girl you hate is most likely in the next stall over and can hear every word and can use it against you. And I will.
Manners: I will understand that if the feet are a-rockin’, I won’t go a-knockin’.
Seems like a simple concept, no? If legs are visible, if the door or curtain is closed, or if there is a guardian outside, the fitting room is occupied. None of that “Well, maybe they’re almost done,” or “Whoops! Didn’t see you there,” nonsense. There are all sorts of trauma that comes from barging into a fitting room. Hopefully, the patron on the other side wore their fancy panties.
Manners: I will not talk to strangers.
People do not appreciate hearing, “I hate you, you’re so skinny!” If they did not ask for an opinion, do not offer one, as they’re most likely wondering why you’re talking to them. And they’re hoping you stop staring. Please.
Mantras: I will dress for success.
Let yourself go a little: wear easy-off shoes, don’t have a fancy hairstyle, and don’t deck yourself out in layers, belts, or jewelry. That stuff is a pain to take off and put on, and it never looks as good as before you took it off.
Manners: I believe in crowd control.
Everyone likes to shop with a friend, or two, or three. But that’s where I draw the line. Unless it is shopping for a wedding gown, there is no need for fifteen BFFs in the dressing room. It’s the equivalent of walking by that group of girls in the halls of high school, and they’re soo thinking you look fat in that outfit.
Mantras: It’s all about location, location, location.
The best way for two people to see each other’s outfits is to select fitting rooms directly across from one another ~ that way, the unfortunate outfit does not have to be paraded out into the hall to be laughed at by that girl you hate in the next stall. And I will laugh.
Mantras: I will look for good lighting.
Just take a glance up above and look for a stall with full lights. Lights in the fitting room will help you see any imperfection an outfit will have, thus speeding up the “Should I? Shouldn’t I? I can return it later if I don’t really love it” process.
Manners: I will not bring the children I baby-sit or call my own into the dressing room.
Yes, they might need help with the straps on their overalls, but they don’t need to be so vocal about it. If Little Johnny and Cutie Cathy are old enough to walk and talk, they are old enough to be left home with the television and a rousing episode of Spongebob. If you insist on bringing them, keep them on a leash.
Mantras: I will not take my anger out on clothes.
It’s a terrible shame that the blue leather tube top doesn’t fit, but there’s no reason to rip out the zipper. Please be careful of stains, rips, and zipper malfunctions. Garment glitches should be reported to the fitting room attendants. It’s also important to hang the clothes up properly (in other words, not inside out or upside down) on the hangers and make sure they find their way safely back to the attendant or the rack. Just because you won’t buy it, doesn’t mean someone else won’t.
Manners: I will be kind to the fitting room attendant.
It’s all about being nice. Acknowledge her, smile, hand her your things, and she will be nice in return, maybe even advising you on your selections or fetching the proper size. Those poor dears are on their feet all day, watching people in ugly outfits.
As any fitting room veteran will testify, it is practice that makes for an eventful trip to the changing room. Mind your manners now, your curtain is calling.