Shopping makes me feel ugly.

We go back to the first store we visited, five or six stores further on in the afternoon’s short sleeved shirt expedition. I re-try on a blue button down that is actually not too small, but I point out to Mrs. Jang how the shirt is cut straight down the sides, not cinched at the waist. It fits snugly across the bust and at the hips, creating pockets of extra, empty fabric in between that make me look like a chubby rectangle. There are no in-between sizes, only a small and a large, both of which have the effect of fatness.

“I didn’t notice that before,” she says.

The feminine styles are covered in sequins, lace, and bows. The unisex clothes include a lot of horizontal stripes, and tri-color plaids that must have been chosen by playing roulette on the color wheel. The colors that are in style are all out of box of crayons –and I mean the eight crayon boxes from kindergarden– which does not well serve a red head. I was overjoyed to find a maroon polo shirt made of stretchy t-shirt fabric that unbuttons low enough to not make my breasts look like a shelf, although I have to wear a wide belt over it to mask the belly pouch.

Mrs. Jang comments on how many cars she saw in New Zealand that were this color. And tells me that Mrs. Han flew to Seoul last week to shop, spending the equivalent of $3,000 because Jeju Island does not have good shopping.


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