So lately I’ve been driving by
the same old big sign.
Day after day
I pass it.
“Tired of your
Big huge letters.
Don’t like that sign.
I know perfectly well what it means.
It’s a reference to the human body — the way that our body will be reshaped by the clothing we wear. If our pants are of a certain style, the body will move accordingly, and will, naturally, reshape itself. The phrase ridicules the new shape.
I finally went in.
Went in to that shop.
Are you the manager?
No, says the tall slim lady
With perfect eye make-up.
And she’s the one responsible for that sign?
That ‘muffin-top’ sign?
Yes she is.
Tall slim youngish lady
leans on the counter.
Now she’s eye level to me.
Or close enough.
(I note she’s done her eyes well.
Mascara nicely in place.
Not too much.
Eye-shadow also quite pleasing.
If I had to wear makeup like a clown
That’s how I would do it.
But thank God I don’t.)
(Nice suit too,
If I had to wear a suit like a man,
That’s how I would do it.
But thank God I don’t.)
It’s not a good sign
My words went something like this: Why, in this day and age, when so many young women are so worried about their bodies and women are so concerned, would you put up a sign like that, which makes women feel worse?
Oh, she says.
It’s not just for the women.
We never aimed it at the women!
(What an appalling suggestion)
It’s for the men too!
That’s what she said.
I looked at her, incredulous.
(You want both to feel bad?)
(Doesn’t that cover everybody, then? Or does the rumour run true – does humanity now have more than two genders? 1. men, 2. women, 3. the undecided?)
Ah, no, it’s just something people say, you know,
You hear it around.
(This is pretty bad.
I don’t like the sound.
So it’s a phrase that we want to stay? A phrase so common – that makes it okay? Bullying has always been around too – does that mean it’s great too? Does that justify?)
(And by the way, I’d be worried if anybody doesn’t have – these days – at least a ‘muffin-top’. The ‘skinny jeans’ that everybody wears, probably already out of style in Milan, causes the phenomenon in even the most anorexic of teens, let alone in the parents of teens paying for the jeans.)
I said, I understand, when you want to sell a product, you make people feel like there’s a problem, and then they’ll have the urge to buy your product. I get it, I said.
But she corrects me, midway.
We’re not selling a product.
We’re selling a service.
She emphasizes the word
Like I don’t get it. (I get it; you’re selling words that nobody needs. You’re hurting people, vulnerable worried people who don’t need more damage from your unkind words your yucky taunts muffin-top muffin-top.)
Like I don’t know what it’s like to pay the rent by providing words across a desk.
Some more words, some more chatter.
Then she says,
“But look, we’re talking about it!”
You’re giving Feedback!
She looks like an emoticon.
I said to her,
I’m giving you NEGATIVE feedback.
It will come down.
The sign will come down
(i.e., what does it matter?)
By mid-April it should be gone.
You must be kidding.
“This is early March!” I exclaimed like a dummy (yesterday, March 11th).
(Dates and times are tricky for me – as are months and even years.)
I told her to tell the manager.
I said I’ll give it a week, and after that, I’ll take my complaint higher up.
She said oh don’t you want her email don’t you want to speak to her direct don’t you want to have some way to document don’t you want —
Nah, you tell her.
I walked out the door.
I grabbed my muffin-top and left.
Not tired of no muffin top
Just tired of the sign
Here, have a muffin.
Just a bite?
[Note Added March 30, 2016 7:31 p.m. MST. Some clarification seems to be necessary here. I was not being critical of this lady’s make-up. I thought it was nicely done, as I wrote. I really did. I wasn’t being sarcastic. However, nowadays I don’t wear makeup. Mrs. Frances Chesterton didn’t either. That was Chesterton’s wife. Men don’t wear makeup, and I’m all for equality in this regard. Make-up is for clowns is my idea now, as in, I think they are good for those people who are being clowns, like at a circus. I did not say this lady looked like a clown, or that her make-up made her look like one, so don’t hear me saying that. And as for suits, I don’t wear them either anymore, and I’m glad, but I didn’t dislike this lady’s suit. I thought it looked nice, as such things go. Nowadays I think blazers and suits look too man-ish. I’m not for equality in that regard. – MJ]
[Note Added March 30, 2016 8:26 p.m. MST. And it seems, from comments I’ve received, that people are thinking that this lady’s slimness perturbed me. I didn’t mind that she was slim. I used it as a way to describe her appearance, in the same way I mentioned that she was tall. I am not envious of her slimness, in the same way that I am not envious of her height. – MJ]
[Note Added April 24, 2016 3:50 p.m. MST. It seems, at the very least, that the Muffin-Top sign wasn’t well-received by this neighbourhood. Somehow, that campaign didn’t make the good times arrive for this business. Nevertheless, the sign’s words didn’t change until April 16th, though I had spoken with the owner of the chain 2 weeks after I dropped in. On April 16th, the sign’s wording did change (now it says, “Not a Diet – a Lifestyle!”) but it also announces, “New Location.” They’re moving.)