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I was doing laundry this morning…ever so carefully as usual. I picked up a damp cotton t-shirt that’s a little tight on me and snapped it hard to stretch it out. I took it by the arms and pulled them apart to accommodate my Horsewoman’s shoulders; I stuck my hands inside and stretched the front and back to make room for my Horsewoman’s chest and withers. Only then did the t-shirt get hung on a hanger to dry. Tomorrow, that shirt will fit me perfectly at the gym, where I will go in hopes of working off the few extra pounds that have turned me into Horsewoman in the first place.
As I worked on the laundry, a conversation with my niece came to mind: the last time she’d visited, we had also discussed clothes that don’t fit quite right. It started with my giving Shanna a compliment before we headed out for dinner: “Hey, I like those jeans on you. They’re very flattering. Are they new?”
Shanna replied, “No, they’re just a little tight. I forgot to stretch them out.”
I’m used to seeing Shanna in baggy pants because it is nearly impossible for my hourglass-shaped niece to find a pair that fits correctly. Her waist is so small that when I hug her hello, my arms wrap all the way around her and I end up hugging myself too. Men look at Shanna like men looked at Marilyn Monroe. They look at me and wonder when I’m going to win my first Kentucky Derby.
Shanna and I proceeded to discuss all of the various techniques we employ to make our clothes fit. I shared my snap-n-stretch approach: “If a shirt’s too tight, I whip it around when it’s wet—snap it hard—for an overall stretch, then get inside with my hooves for a more precise fit.”
Shanna shared her favorite technique: “If my pants are tight, I put them on when they’re wet and squat down. First I do the duck walk, then I open and close my knees and bounce, like I’m trying to push a baby out or something.”
“The problem with the duck walk,” I said to Shanna, “is that it cuts into your belly and doesn’t stretch the waist, which of course you don’t need. To make the waist bigger, you have to actually pull on it when it’s wet.”
You might say I have an aversion to wearing anything tight around my waist, perhaps even a phobia: even as a child I couldn’t stand to have my belly restricted (see Exhibit A). While Shanna has to wear a belt every day, I’ve never even owned one.
Last year I was pulling on the waist fabric of a favorite old pair of jeans so hard that they ripped all the way down to the knee. I had them repaired; it was the least I could do for my Tommys. I always buy quality clothing, pieces that will last for years and hold up under my brand of care. While hearing the fibers of my DNKYs, my Taharis, my Michael Kors rip a little each time I pull a 28-incher into a 30 is always painful, and I regret hurting my jeans, it has to be done. My apologies to the designers as well, especially Ralph Lauren, whose Polo jeans are—of course—my favorite.
Right now, if you looked in my closet, you’d find three pairs of damp jeans hanging there: pulled, stretched and whipped in such precise ways as to render them all exactly my fit. The ones that somehow got too short, I stepped on the waist and pulled the legs up to the white patch on my forehead. None of those pants would look good on anyone else because they are all exactly in the shape of me.
A good friend said to me once, “I’m built like a sturdy pony. You’re built like a racehorse.” At first I disagreed, but in hindquarters, I can’t deny it.
I’m a dying breed. See Exhibit B.