City Women

 |  February 28, 2011

I’m sure there’s a few who will agree with me when I say that being a woman here in Chiang Mai certainly comes with its share of ups and downs. On the one hand, we choose to live here because we love the city, the culture and the general way of life, but on the other hand we are constantly brought face to face with beautiful, slim, cellulite-free girls who, without meaning to, make us take a long hard look at our own somewhat lumpy bodies (I am of course speaking for myself here).

Never is this more obvious than when I’m shopping. Clothes that look great on the hanger seem to highlight every one of my insecurities. But, like most women, this doesn’t stop me. I love to shop and I get lost in my own little world when I’m browsing through clothes, shoes and handbags; spending hours pretending that I could squeeze into that outfit if I really wanted to. Unfortunately, I’m usually brought back into reality with a big bump (literally) as I walk into one of the assistants who always hover that little bit too close. Wherever I turn, there always seems to be one (and even two or three) assistants following every step I take, buzzing around me like that mosquito which is impossible to swat. I’m still not altogether sure whether this is some very misconstrued form of customer service or if they actually think I’m about to steal something.

Their close inspection of me and my behaviour led me to believe that they were actually paying attention to the type of clothes I am trying on. Oh how wrong I was! Just last week I was in (what I would have called) a private changing room when a sales assistant barged in, catching me in a rather unflattering position. She thrust a number of clothes into my face beaming while telling me how nice they will look on me. Large frilly dresses with ornate bows have never been my thing, but at eight months pregnant, the idea of looking like a large frilly weeble wobble is simply ridiculous.

Being terribly British though, I hate to cause a fuss and simply nodded, smiled and tried one of the dresses on. Her expression turned from pure delight to something more bemused and there was no disguising that false smile which pained her face. Taking a long look up and down, she told me I looked beautiful and swiftly left the cubicle. In reality, I looked like a cross between Little Bo Peep and a German milk maiden so I squeezed out of the dress, popped it back on the hanger and slunk out of the changing room determined to be more assertive next time and actually say ‘no thank you’.