Can I just vent here a minute?

I live in Chicago. It’s cold and sloppy outside. I don’t drive. I walk and take public transportation everywhere I go. Thus, I need boots to live. Tall boots. Warm boots. Flat or very low heeled boots. Boots that are stylish enough for the professional workplace. Boots that will zip over my calves.

Oh. Right. That last one. There’s the rub.

I know, I know. Duo Boots. But listen: THEY ARE OVER $200 USD. For the reasonably priced ones! Plus exorbitant shipping from the UK that takes a month! I understand the reasoning about paying for quality, and about how, by ponying up a car payment you’re making an investment. I hear that. And that makes sense, but only if you’ve got OVER $200 USD lying around. I don’t, but it would not be such a hardship for me to save it up, which makes me unusually fortunate.

Here’s the thing, though. I’d really like to try on the pair of $263 boots (with shipping, etc.) that I want more than anything else in the whole world before I pay for them, wait a month to get them, and then possibly have to pay exorbitant shipping to send them back over the pond when SURPRISE, once again I find that the way that math and measures work in my little world is totally different from the way it works everywhere else. I don’t think that is like some kooky pipe dream.

As I sit here, I’m wearing one Rockport Plainfield boot in black on my right foot, zipped up about halfway, that I ordered from Zappos. I decided to order them because I contacted customer service and customer service told me that the calf circumference was 17 3/4 inches. Perfect, I thought, as I have 18 inch calves and that 1/4 inch deficit would account for the elastic goring and stretch in the leather. Except no. They are actually only 17 inches around, and then only at the very top of the boot. About halfway up, where my freakishly large calves* start to really come into their own, the boots are a mere, Mischa Barton-esque** 14 1/2 inches.

Part of me wants to say, “Oh big deal, they are too tight across the toes, too, and really that heel is verging on too high and you know it, so this is for the best because if you’d been able to zip them up, you would have kept them and then they’d make your feet hurt and you’d have to explain to the husband why you kept them and he’s heard the ‘it’s so hard to find boots to fit my freakishly large calves that I tend to be grateful for whatever I can get’ story a bajillion times but he still doesn’t quite get it, not having freakishly large calves of his own to try and boot up,” and that’s true all but dammit, DAMMIT, there is little that destroys my resolve to just like my stupid body the way it is and never diet again like the way one simple fucking transaction for a life necessity turns into this huge massive undertaking involving research and measuring and calls to customer service and packing tape and standing in line at the post office over and over and over again and then is still ultimately unsuccessful. And I’m not even that fat, ya’ll. I’m either at the high end of “in-betweenie” status or the low end of… whatever comes after in-betweenie status. Medium-fat? Despite my boot drama, I can still nip into Anne Taylor for a new shirt if I dump coffee (actually, it was yogurt but whatever) all over the shirt I’m wearing.

I think that’s what I’m getting at here (well that and just whining because I’m really disappointed). I’m crying tears of fury at my failed attempt to purchase what is a Chicago wardrobe necessity, and I’ve actually got it good. It isn’t a totally kooky request to want to try on clothes or boots before you buy them, to avoid the hassle of carting packages home from work on the train because jerks steal the packages that you have sent right to your house. But if you’re above say, an 18 and you don’t live in a major metropolitan area or if you need an item of specialty clothing or you don’t feel like waiting a week to get your clothes or, God forbid, you just don’t care for all this empire waisted, bedazzled, caftan sleeved nonsense hanging on all the racks of mainstream plus-size retailers,*** that’s your fate. The mail order ghetto.

It’s just stupid.

*No, seriously. My father has freakishly large calves, and even when I was a wee little mini thing I had a hell of a time finding boots to fit. They are bigger now, in accordance with my overall increased size, but still proportionally, they’re some wide calves. I would like to be body positive about this but it’s raining and cold out and my new boots don’t fit and this means I have to stand in line for ten hours at the post office on Monday morning to return them and if somebody was going door to door offering back alley calf-ectomies right now, I would have a hard time turning that down. Even harder if they came with a free pair of these lovelies.

**Sorry, couldn’t resist.

***Although the last time I was this size, around the turn of the century (that is weird to say), the prevailing plus size look was “fundamentalist Christian kindergarten teacher” so I suppose I ought to be grateful for the strides we’ve made.