Deep in the annals of fashion, somewhere between the era of bustles and corsets and that of bra-burning, lies a dark secret. It seems that with the advent of mechanization a nefarious group of greedy clothes designers and manufacturers got together in secret to come up with standardized clothing sizes for women. To do this they recruited a young woman named Barbie from the small, rustic town of Red Branch, Nebraska to be their model for average sizes.
Barbie was built, as you might guess, just like a full-sized Barbie doll. To wit: there was as much chance of Barbie’s clothes fitting another woman as there is of you getting an underserved, whopping refund check from the IRS in the mail tomorrow. It could happen. By making the standardized clothing based on Barbie’s body, the impossibly wealthy people who directed the fashion business could do nothing but get even richer since women for ever more would be doomed to search in vain for clothes that fit, buying outfit after outfit while their self-images were systematically twisted into believing that they would never fit the mold of beauty.
Then in 1973 a teenager named Mabel was lying on her bed, leafing through a Seventeen magazine for ideas for her prom dress, when she was visited by the Fifth Dentist. He appeared in her bedroom bearing a black bag and an armload of stylish dresses which he urged her to try on. Every single one of the dresses was unimaginably gorgeous and glamorous, and every single one of the pinched at the waist, flopped loosely around her un-Barbie-like chest and dragged along the floor unless she stood on pointe like a ballerina.
“You smatchet!” she cried, flinging the useless dresses at him. “Do I look like Scarlet O’Hara?! Do you think I’m going to poisen my self-esteem by trying to fit into those dresses? Not. I’ll show you what if feels like to wear that crap.” Wereupon she grabbed his black Dentist’s bag and hauled out the most evil dental device she could find, tied him to a bedpost and proceeded to stuff it (the device, not the bedpost) in his mouth. “You sit there like that until you come up with a dress that is both flattering AND comfortable.” Which he did. Both, I mean. He sat there with the dental thing-a-ma-jig in his mouth while he gagged and tried to tell her to look in the bottom of the black bag.
There was a stunning creation that fit her perfectly, complemented her complexion and emphasized her womanly charms. She was the belle of the ball.
Pray to St. Mabel the next time you are in a fitting room trying desperately to decide whether to get the size 12 which you will have to take in in the rear or the size 10 which you will have to let out in the waist. Pray to St. Mabel when mini skirts, platform shoes, black lipstick, hip-huggers or bustiers come back in style. Then go out and grind the enamel off the teeth of some fashion magnate with a pneumatic dental drill.
Litany to St. Mabel:
Oh blessed donner of orthopedic shoes, Great and Wonderous inventor of the Dropped Waistline, Small-breasted Beauty, Destroyer of Lady Norelco Wet-n-Dry electric razors, Pillar of fashion, staunch guardian of Wash-and-Wear fabrics, Last Hope of the full-figured, pear-shaped and anorexic, Be Merciful.
Novena Prayer to Saint Mabel
Oh, ever-wonderful Saint Mabel, I beseech you to come to my aid. Your promise is both elasticied and gold-plated in accomodation. Only you have the awesome power to adorn my life with all-cotton beauty. I humble myself at your sensible (but fashionable) shoes to utter my supplication (mention your request).
17 March. Wear green muu muus, nightgowns, sweatpants, loose, flowing dresses, boxer shorts, or attend buck naked.