Zara dressing rooms are the deepest, darkest circle of hell
I’ve seen the devil, and it’s my own reflection
by Amanda Ross
Like everyone else, I've heard my fair share of inspirational songs. They're usually menacingly upbeat, sung by Sia, and explain sometimes we have to go through a hard time to get to the good times. That idea of pain-to-get-pleasure can be applied to number of hardships, but I never feel it so viscerally as when I'm trapped in the worst place in this galaxy: a Zara clothing store — the fitting room, to be exact.
If I was a contestant on Fear Factor (in an alternate universe in which Joe Rogan is sane and I'm not suffocatingly vain), it'd be my season finale challenge. Just thinking about being hustled inside those tiny cubes of mirrors and lamps by the innumerous, snippy dressing room attendants almost makes me want to stop buying ethically-questionable, discount leather miniskirts altogether! Almost. For those of you who've never had the blood-curdling displeasure of cramming yourself into a Zara dressing room, allow me to explain. And to those who have, I apologize in advance for the triggering nature of this content.
One would think the point of a dressing room's design is to flatter the customer trying on the clothes to get them to buy the garments and take the tags off before the realize just how unflattering surf-fabric'd shorts are. Whoever designed the Zara dressing room was like, "Ok, I love that concept! Now what if we did exactly not that???" The mirrors are constructed into some kind of hexagon which manages to only capture you from a three-quarters angle, with the rubber strip connecting the panels stretching your thighs out like some kind of fat camp fever dream. The lighting concept was probably by whoever did set design for Saw because there's virtually no difference between the overhead, dim-lighting of a Zara fitting room and the green-tinted lightbulbs they used to illuminate the iconic bathroom scene. Whatever's happening with that lighting situation, it's like the opposite of contouring. Suddenly, all I can see is a craggy-complected wildebeest with witch-like undertones taking a mugshot in a Salvadorian prison.
But appearance aside, nothing compares to the animalistic fear you feel in that dressing room. The only thing separating my might-as-well-be-bare ass from a long line of huffy customers is a paper-thin shower curtain, rustling along threateningly with the air conditioning. You know that moment of intense panic when someone knocks on the bathroom door and you panic-bleat "SOMEONE'S IN HERE!" and hope you really did secure the lock? It's that feeling but times a million, plus you're virtually naked, plus you're trapped inside a romper and the zipper won't go down, plus the attendant is asking is everything okay in there?, plus you're starting to sweat, plus you hope they don't think you're shoplifting, plus hot tears of frustration because you're still imprisoned within the romper, plus god if you're listening to me please let me out of this romper I'm so sorry about that time I called my mom a bitch in the car when I was 13 and I swear if you release me I'll go back to church and volunteer and actually fold my laundry instead of just putting them back in the dryer, plus…oh, the zipper ripped.