Yeah, I'm such a tough cookie... (geeez... NOT!)
Yesterday I went to pick up the dress I ordered for my ‘bride’s maid part’ on my sisters upcoming wedding. It was absolutely perfect: blue, flattering, tight at the right spots, correct length (I can’t do long dresses) and so on, but then I tried it on and realized that the tailor must have forgotten that I actually have some curves, and hadn’t made enough room for my chest. I could wear it and it looked perfect, but it was fairly uncomfortable and a bit hard to breathe once the zipper was pulled up.
Five Chinese women (shop assistants as well as customer) gushed around me, but my friend Willing (who’s Indonesian, so everybody always thinks that she’s Chinese and that she’s my translator) saw the pain in my eyes.
-You’ve made it too tight, I complained. I cannot breathe in this!
-Oh of courses you can! It looks good! Said one.
-It’s just the first time when you are trying it on. It will expand, (!?) said another.
-It should be tight otherwise it will fall off! Said a third.
But I wasn’t that easy to convince. When they realized that I really wanted them to make some more boob-room, the attitude changed:
-Well we don’t change dresses here, you can find a tailor from the street! Mei ban fa! (there’s no way!)
-Yeah, it’s just a small change but we don’t do it… Just go to another shop and ask.
-It won’t be expensive, they can probably change it for you for 20 yuan!
I felt my face getting more and more red (partly because the dress was so tight and partly because I was angry at their lame excuses).
-Listen, I’ve paid a lot of money for this dress and I am not leaving until you have fixed it for me. What is this bulls*** you are telling me? I am not going to use an outside tailor! Of course you are going to help me, this is your problem as much as it is mine!
The whole shop fell silent, and then one girl finally got up, asked me to follow her to the third floor where she pushed me into a small room that had a sewing machine (ta daaaaa!), pulled the dress of my body and started cutting it.
-We normally don’t do this… she said.
-Sure, I said. So I really appreciate your effort (and the sewing machine is just there for decoration?)
Downstairs were Willing with the other ladies.
-That laowai is pretty tough! One woman told Willing. She just wouldn’t leave like they normally do. (“Like they normally do….” What the f***!)
-Well, of course she wouldn’t, said Willing. First you have to change her dress.
-Yeah but… normally laowais listen. She wouldn’t listen.
-… because you were lying to her! Said Willing (I love how Willing always steps into the ‘translator part’).
20 minutes later my dress had magically gotten some new boob-space and I was smiling like a sun. Again, a classic example where ‘mei you ban fa’ (there is no way!) turns into a solution within only 20 minutes and some nagging. If I’ve learned anything from China it is to nag! Nodding, saying ‘OK’ and being grateful gets you nowhere. And only results in beautiful dresses that are too tight to wear…
(Ps. After my dress incident I had a lovely day at the wedding street, running in and out of shops, trying on one cup-cake dress after another… I know this has to stop, since I am not even close to getting married, but it’s simply irresistible to resist! I also ended up ordering myself 2 more dresses, and one for my mom. Not wedding dresses, just short ones, this time making sure the tailor would take not of the fact that I am not pancake-flat).
These pictures doesn't do the dress justice, but will have to do for now. I'll try it on tonight and maybe add some shots of me wearing it later... Cute, huh?
Gotta love the bow!