Yesterday I had a conversation about how frustrating it is to go shopping with people who won’t accept their clothes size: those who say airily to the salespeople at the department store, ‘Bring me a size 10’ when they need a size 18. (An experience I went through with a family member three or four years ago. After two hours, when the sales assistant and I had persuaded her of reality, she then insisted on trying to wear the clothes the wrong way round.)

This, I suppose, is why US clothes sizes have ballooned in the last few years. People can’t face reality–the fact that they’re overweight–so reality has changed to accommodate their denial.

Which means that now I’m one of those people who goes into a store and says airily, ‘Bring me a size 10’ and am horribly, embarrassingly wrong.

Last summer I spotted an item I liked in a catalogue (all right: it was a dress; now shut up) and ordered it. I thought, ‘Aha! No one can say I don’t learn!’ and ordered a size 8. It arrived. You could have fit two of me inside it. I sent it back. Got a size 4. It hung off me like a sack. I stared it, thought, ‘I am not a size 2, I am not,’ decided I hated the dress, and threw away the catalogue.

I associate size 2 with emaciated people, crazy bony people who eat one mung bean and an arugula stalk and call it a meal. Trust me, I really, really am not a size 2. A 6, maybe, sometimes, I can accept that. But not 2. Nuh-uh. Not. So when will the industry standardise their sizes so we can all stop freaking out?

And another thing, when will they start putting real pockets in women’s clothes? And what is this shit about having the buttons on the wrong side? And why is the sewing on women’s clothes so shoddy? And why are women’s clothes so much more expensive than men’s? And why do they cost so much more to get cleaned?

I never had these problems when I bought men’s clothes from jumble sales and charity shops. They fit. They had pockets. They looked good. They were not size 2.