I just went to Target and bought two packs of generic women's undies, which is a lot harder than you'd think. I had to wade through an armada of lace and floofy bits to find straightforward underwear without lace, tassels, or Piglet. I do not need Piglet on my underwear. Piglet is a symbol of happy childhood memories, and thus should not come in contact with my groinal regions, damnit.
Despite the fact that I am so average in build as to be virtually invisible--some minor pudge around the hips and belly, pretty what you'd expect from post-post-adolescence, since my body assumes we'll want some fat storage for reproduction and I've hit the age when, were I so inclined, I would be in prime shape to start having children. (Foolish body! Little do you realize...) But anyway, it's nothing you look at and go "Whoa, chunktactular!" I am deeply average in physique. However, I seem to be a size Large. I realize that I live in some depraved dream world, but I still think that "medium" in women's sizes should fit the average woman. I remember being a size three once, when I was a gruellingly thin teen, and I had to buy extra-petite. Now that I am a significantly more normal size, I'm buying large. Where was I a medium? Did I miss mediumhood? It's not like I'm one of those women with, as my grandmother used to say, "hips six axehandles apart" (I have no idea what this translates to in actual measurement, but it sounds scary) who might presumably miss being a medium by virtue of bone structure alone.
So annnnyway, I get home, and try these on, and discover to my annoyance that one pair is extra-snug, and the other is extra-loose. They are both labelled Large. However, according to the manufacturers of one brand, I am an Extra Large, and according to the manufacturers of the other, I am, indeed, a Medium. Being that it's underwear, it's not like you can try it on in the store or anything. Which makes me wonder--if I was actually chunky, what the hell would I do? An XL in the first brand wouldn't cut it. Can fat people just not buy underwear at Target?
Why aren't there standard sizes? Like shoes. Shoes are standardized. However, having talked to the occasional woman who I trust not to have any great emotional stake in her dress size, I am assured that it's not my imagination--women's sizes really have shrunk over the past ten or fifteen years. What used to be a size ten is now a size twelve. What the hell?
I am not gonna bitch about media stereotypes, because it's such a tired old complaint that you can all probably recite it in your heads without me saying anything. However, I've gotten to the point where I buy pretty much all male clothing because at least I know that if a 34 waist is comfy in one brand, the odds are at least good that it will be comfy in another brand, because you can't pull that kinda crap with men's clothes. I don't care about how thin or fat I may be, I don't care if they decide I wear a size XXXL--just make sure that all the bloody XXXL are the same size, and I'll be happy.