So, all that to say, women already have issues with clothing and weight and all the trappings of being a woman in our North American culture. I didn't need the added issues of changing styles and sizes when I moved to another culture.
First was the shoes. I needed to get shoes that are stylish, yet good for walking. There is a lot of walking here. And it is cobblestone street walking. Add to that the fact that Spaniards do not approve of tennis shoes unless you are actually running or playing tennis. Tennis shoes are NOT apparel. So, I needed real shoes. "What size?", asked the saleslady. Oh great... I have no idea. I wear a 7 in the USA, but European sizes are different. I told her that I'm a 7 in the USA, so she says, "You need a 37 or 38 here." WHAT? That sounds absurd. But true... I now wear a size 37 shoe.
Then came the pants. My pants that I had been loving and wearing for several years were now close to death and it was necessary to go shopping for replacements. Again, no idea on size. There is no such thing as small, medium, or large. I looked for a conversion chart, to no avail. So I asked the saleswoman how to figure out what size I am in European pants. She looks at my butt (I kid you not) and announces that I am probably a 44 or 46. EXCUSE ME!!!! I DO NOT ACCEPT THAT! Mean spirited little stick figure woman... Except, she was correct. A 44 is exactly what now covers my not-so-delicate derriere.
Serious depression began seeping in to my soul... how could I live with being a 37 foot in a 44 pants? This is a serious attack on my ego...
Until I needed a bra. Let me just say that I have insider knowledge that the average 6th grader wears a size 90, and I'm not even CLOSE to that... I might need counseling.
And underwear... again, a sixth grade girl wears a 182 panty. I gave up... no new underwear for me. I can't take it. Just the thought of knowing that number is enough to make me have cold sweats and dizzy spells. I'm accustomed to single-digit underwear sizes. I can't do it. 37. 44. 90. 182. This sounds like a phone number, or coordinates on a GPS system. How can these possibly be the sizes associated with a woman's body?
So, I don't know if I'll survive the Great Size Crisis of 2015. Being a woman in a cross-cultural context is tough... I'm going to go eat a head of lettuce.