I Can't Live Up To The Size XXL Shirt I Just Bought
I gotta lose weight
|Antoine Da cunha on Unsplash|
Romantic Getaway, COVID-19 style
My wife Tracy and I are getting ready for a short weekend getaway trip for our 16th Anniversary. We’re also visiting friends who are having a BBQ for their son, who is going away to college.
Because it is 2020, we’ll be wearing facemasks on the airplane, and we’re flying into an area that was decimated by wildfires. “Romantic Getaway” COVID-19 style!
The hotel gave us a significant discount just to thank us for coming, so we didn't even have to use our AAA benefits.
A new shirt for the trip
I’ve worn pretty much the same Dri-FIT exercise clothes every day since about mid-March. So when Tracy said she was going shopping and would I like her to pick me a new shirt for the trip, I said, “sure.”
Even though I wear elastic-waisted workout shorts every day, I haven’t actually had a chance to exercise since the pandemic began.
“What size are you now?” Tracy asked, somewhat witheringly, and really overemphasizing the word ‘now.”
Actually, it was a pretty good question. There were whole swaths of shirts in my closet that I’ve subconsciously avoided trying on in the last few weeks. I know they won’t fit, or they’ll fit tight.
“I’m an XL. You know that!” I said, jocularly.
Tracy did not laugh. She looked me up and down. Then she rolled her eyes and walked away.
That got me to thinking.
It took me a while just to get used to being an XL
I’ve often marveled at the fact that I am an XL shirt size. I don’t feel like an XL. I look around, and there seem to be so many bigger and chubbier guys than me stumbling around. What size do they wear, if I’m an XL? 8XL?
But I’ve temporarily had a potbelly the last few years which threw the whole sizing thing off. Tracy reminds me that I have skinny legs and no butt. But the belly throws the sizing thing askew, and that’s why I go XL on the shirts.
I say temporarily, because any day now, I am going to go back on the Atkins diet. Yes, long before there was Keto, Paleo, and all these other rip-off diets, there was the Atkins Diet. It seems like nobody gives Dr. Atkins the credit he is due anymore, except Rob Lowe.
I need to get back on the Atkins diet
I did the Atkins diet hardcore for two years in a row, about 15 years ago, and I really trimmed down. I got thrown off track, however, when Boston Market went into bankruptcy and closed down most of their locations. Up until then, I was eating Boston Market’s chicken (taking the skin off, sometimes) and creamed spinach two or three times a day.
I’d also go to Costco and eat the hot dogs without the bun, or drive through Jack-in-the-Box and eat the Supreme Bacon Cheeseburger, also without the bun.
“Dude, you’re diet is horrible,” my jealous friends told me.
“All I’m doing is eating all the same stuff I ate before without the bun. And I’ve lost 12 pounds,” I’d say, popping another Altoid. Your breath can get pretty intense eating all that protein.
The problem with the Atkins diet is if you slip and have just one french fry, potato chip, or piece of garlic bread, it’s over. That french fry becomes the best tasting french fry you ever had in your life. You immediately slip into a carb binge. You wake up two days later in a parking garage, surrounded by carbs.
. . .
Tracy texts and calls me from the clothing store
Tracy texted me two photos from the store.
“This one’s a Large, and this one is an XL,” said the text with photos of two shirts.
Tracy liked the patterns on these Hawaiian-style shirts. One had hot dogs on it, and the other had bananas.
“The one shirt shows what you eat every day, and the other shows what you drive me — bananas,” Tracy said.
Hardy har har, I thought. Tracy was not “getting the vibe” of the type of shirts I like. Nonetheless, I told her to bring them home, and I would try them on.
The “Grand Theft Auto look” I invented and everyone stole
A few years back, I went on a Hawaiian shirt kick. When it comes to fashion, I get an idea in my head, and I really beat it into the ground. I decided I wanted to dress like the characters in the videogame Grand Theft Auto (“GTA”).
It was back when there were GTA advertisements on T.V. The commercials showed car thief criminal characters running wild through a Los Angeles landscape. The characters wore white sneakers, jeans, and sleazy Hawaiian shirts. I don’t know why this look appealed to me so much. These fashion whims just sort of come to me sometimes, and I go with them. Before this GTA phase, it was safari shirts with epaulets.
I wore jeans, Adidas Stan Smiths, and the sleaziest Hawaiian shirts I could find. That became my uniform for the past few years. We were on the Disney Cruise one year, and the entertainment director called me out on my outfit while Tracy and I were performing on “The Dating Game” in the pub in front of all the parents who were relaxing away from their children.
“Look at the outfit on this one! Nobody dresses like this anymore,” said the British lady host, pointing at me and trying to get a laugh. “Who are you supposed to be, Magnum P.I.?” The crowd roared laughing.
The next day on the pool deck, I was looking at my phone and Dolce and Gabbana, and all the other fashion designers had stolen my idea and were using my GTA look in their shows.
Don’t worry. I got that British entertainment director back good. That’s a different story.
These hot dog and banana prints Tracy was picking out, however, were too cutesy, and not sleazy enough. But I humored Tracy and said bring them home, and I’ll try them on.
. . .
The fashion show at home
I tried on the XL shirt with the bananas print, and the shoulders fit and the length was good. But it looked like there was a watermelon pushing out from the middle of the shirt. And the bottom did sort of hang a little bit like a maternity dress.
I walked out to the garage where Tracy was working out in the home gym.
“Oh God, that’s horrible,” said Tracy, before I could get a word out. “How did the XL fit?” she asked.
“This is the XL,” I said.
“Oh, Jesus. Turn sideways,” said Tracy
I saw myself in the big home gym mirror. It did not look so good.
“I guess it’s not that bad. You might be able to wear that,” said Tracy. “Just don’t turn sideways when we’re at the BBQ.”
Back in the man cave, I tried on the L sized shirt- just for fun. I got my arms through the shoulders, but I could barely get it buttoned. I gave up and let it hang loosely unbuttoned.
I turned to the mirror above the tufted leather couch. I looked like Robert Plant at the height of Led Zeppelin, when he wore those little girlie half shirts. I looked like Robert Plant if he had a big pot belly.
Take these shirts back, please
Tracy took both the XL bananas shirt and the L hot dog shirt back to the store.
“Do you want me to see if they have any good XXL shirts?” Tracy asked.
This was the moment of truth. Was I going to take that next step on the evolutionary chain? The classical music from 2001 A Space Odyssey played in my head.
“Sure. Send me a photo if there’s an XXL you think I’d like,” I said. As soon as I said it, the music in my head switched to the Baby Elephant song.
Tracy got to the store, and the texts started coming. The first was a photo of a really cool bright pink shirt. It was sobering to see the XXL on the label inside the shirt.
I was in the middle of a Zoom meeting for work. My face on the screen looked so pink and blotchy, I was playing with all the Zoom settings to see if there was something wrong with my computer camera.
Everybody else in the meeting’s face seemed normal complexion, except mine. My face seemed really, really red. In fact, I was already researching Rosacea on the Mayo Clinic site on my second computer screen. That’s when Tracy’s text of the pink shirt came in. The shirt was kinda sleazy and right up my alley, but . . .
|The Author (XXL)|
“I like it. But I don’t think that hot pink it will complement my complexion,” I texted back.
Tracy sent me a photo of a second shirt. This one was white, with wispy black palm fronds on it. It seemed pretty simple and elegant.
|The Author (XXL)|
“Sure, bring that one home.”
Graduating up to the XXL shirt
Tracy put the shopping bag down on the kitchen counter and pulled out the XXL shirt.
“Oh my God. It’s like a bedspread!” I chortled.
“Don’t get ahead of yourself, ‘Chubs. Sometimes when I hold up your shirts in the laundry room, I feel like I’m folding duvet covers,” said Tracy.
I grabbed the shirt from her hand and took it back to the man cave. After some mental preparation, I put the XXL shirt on over the Dri-FIT I was wearing.
The XXL shirt fit like a glove. It was twice as comfortable as the XL. Oh my God. I’m an XXL.
I walked back to the kitchen and showed Tracy.
“It’ll probably shrink once you wash it I said,” twisting and posing side to side.
“I hope it doesn’t shrink too much,” said Tracy. “It fits perfectly right now.”
Getting used to my new XXL life
I had to go to the grocery store later that day. As I masked-up and walked to get the shopping cart, I looked around to see if there were any other XXL guys around.
Just then, as I was crossing to the front of the store, a lifted truck came barreling towards me, running over two speed bumps without slowing the slightest bit. I jumped back and let the truck go past.
I saw the big angry guy driving the truck, with his arm hanging out the window, and it was obvious he wears XXL or larger. He had Oakley Blades on, a baseball hat backwards, and a Fu Manchu mustache. He had a really big and burly wife or girlfriend in the front seat, and you could tell she was just as grumpy as he was. She was drinking a Big Gulp and had a bandanna on. She probably wore XXL too.
The driver “mad-dogged” me, staring at me the whole time as he tore past me. Then he was gone.
Man, if I’m going to be wearing XXL, maybe I need to start acting like that guy, I thought.
Trying to “fit” in
When I got home from the store, I went online, and I started shopping for things to fit my new XXL life. I went on Amazon and started looking for some of the items that I thought I might need.
I browsed for a leather knife holder that would fit on my belt. Then I shopped for obnoxious wrap-around blade sunglasses, the kind that guys with Mullet haircuts wear. I checked out the cowboy boots too. Expensive.
Maybe I should have a toothpick in my mouth all the time, I thought.
Then it dawned on me.
I’m not really cut out for this XXL thing. I can’t pull this off, nobody is going to believe it. For chrissakes, my dad drove a Jaguar XJS, and had a man purse. I myself leased two Miatas, and still wished I had one.
I went back to the grocery store and headed straight to the meat aisle. I bought a bunch of protein- hot dogs, chicken, and steak. I picked up some creamed spinach and walked right past the bread aisle without even stopping. At the register, I grabbed a tin of Altoids.
Back home I looked at myself in the home gym mirror.
I gotta lose weight.
© Copyright 2020 Jack Clune