The Scariness Scale

What’s scarier, bungee jumping or clothes shopping? Depending on who you are, you might answer either way. I have zero interest in bungee jumping – the whole idea gives me the whim-whams. Shopping, I generally like – except when it comes to showing my legs.

Now, I’m not saying that gives me the same kind of terror that bungee jumping would, but fear is a very personal thing. At the risk of over-sharing, varicose veins, dog bites, and horse kicks have all made my legs look like they belong to a 90-year old. So while I like the idea of dresses in the summer, the reality kinda falls short of my vision.

I was shopping recently in Montreal, where women are a little less uptight about having to dress like older people when they are older people. I tried on a dress that was very form fitting and – the biggy – shorter than I anticipated. My knees (gasp!) were showing. When I came out of the changing room, the sales lady remarked on how good the dress looked on my body, which was true. I said I didn’t feel I could wear it. I couldn’t get my eyes off my legs. The sales lady, perplexed, asked me “Why? Is it your -” and here she groped for the right English word ” – personality?”


An English speaker might have used a more discreet word. But after a bit of initial shock, I realized she’d gotten right to the nub of the matter and I had to laugh. My personality was exactly what was standing in the way of feeling comfortable in that dress.

I didn’t buy it. But I am wearing other dresses. They’re a little longer. I’ve moved myself up one notch on the shopping scariness scale, and for now that’s just fine.

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