Stylish fashions for 'husky'

(Or, clothes make the man -- as long as he can find some that fit)

Posted: Sunday, October 28, 2001

I have outgrown Nordstrom. Not in the sense that I feel they've become too much a magnet for the hoi polloi and I now shop at swanky Saks Fifth Avenue, but more in the sense that Nordstrom does not carry pants in sizes for full-bodied kinda guys like that which I have become.

Now when I say "full-bodied," I mean, um, husky, portly and beer-bellied.

I am reminded of an opening scene from an episode of the television series "Cheers" where full-bodied barfly Norm Peterson comes in and bartender Woody Boyd asks "What are you up to, Mr. Peterson?"

"My ideal weight if I was 11-feet tall," Norm replies.

I'm not quite at that stage, but according to (the Web site of former Surgeon General Dr. C. Everett Koop), the ideal weight range for a six-foot, medium-boned male is 164 to 188 pounds. The last time I saw that was college when basketball, weight-lifting and bicycle-riding were daily activities. And even then, it was a chore to stay under the big two-oh-oh.

I did find a store on a recent trip to the big city that does carry my pant size -- 42ish -- and much more. Burlington Coat Factory -- as far a cry from Nordstrom as you can get, especially in the area of customer service -- has pants and shirts to easily fit men with a girth a third more than mine.

But the selection is decidedly not Nordstrom-like. For instance, I saw a pair of snake-skin-patterned denim pants with a 58-inch waist. Now that's just messed up. I think the most stylish clothes should be made for the full-bodied.

Here's my logic: of all the people you don't want to see running around naked, the full-bodied are at the top of the list, right? Fashion models, those women who are as tall as me, but one-third my specific gravity, make a living being scantily clad. And that's fine, but believe me, you do not want to see me in a thong.

I was inspired last year by the weight-control success of my recently dear-departed colleague Doug Loshbaugh (who moved to Fairbanks, not the afterlife). Doug went on the Atkins Diet and started pumping iron and went from not much overweight to slim and trim. Well, trim, anyway. I gave it a try, too, but it didn't last long for me.

All the Atkins Diet did for me was make me constipated and dehydrated, despite drinking a gallon or two of water a day. I did lose a few pounds and was able to tighten my belt three notches, but as soon as the newness of the diet wore off and I resorted to my regular diet of Hot Pockets, rice and Apple Cinnamon Toasty-O's, back came the bulge. Oh, and then there's what I will refer to as "The Summer of Beer." For reasons still not clearly understood by me, the beer flowed like wine this summer.

I blame the Internet on my lethargy-induced corpulency. Before I discovered the World Wide Web, Usenet and e-mail in 1995, I was Mr. Get-other-stuff-done. I'd do a little hiking, canoeing, furniture refinishing, socializing. Now, with high-speed Internet into my even higher-speed Macintosh, I don't. Which is bad, because not only does it contribute to my portliness, it also contributes to the laundry and dishes piling up. Let's not even talk about the cat box.

The Internet is different than the television, due to its interactive nature. I can have the TV on and do other stuff, and the only interaction needed of me is making sure the remote control is within easy reach in case Ally McBeal or Kathy Lee Gifford suddenly appear on-screen.

Television is like a cat, just happy to be near you, very little interaction needed. The Internet is like a little lap dog, demanding your attention at all times. And how am I supposed to exercise when I'm flat on my stenographer's spread typing into Internet chat rooms or documenting all Web sites dedicated to Britney Spears?

So where does that leave me? One hundred pounds overweight with a $1,000 line of credit at Nordstrom, and the only things I can find there that fit are $85 neckties and $60 bottles of cologne.

Jay Barrett is a reporter for the Peninsula Clarion.

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