Gao Mingna hated going clothes shopping with her friends.

While they were all busily trying on sparkly snakeskin hotpants with the circumference of her left arm, she was left standing around, self-consciously searching with a discreet gaze for something, anything that might fit. Nothing ever did.

She felt elephantine next to them.

She sometimes wondered if she had been born in the wrong country.  Her relatives had spent most of her childhood doing the exact opposite of most Chinese families: they begged her not to eat.

Last year, her parents took her on a holiday to the United States and she was stunned to discover that she was a size 6, which was apparently small by American standards. In Shanghai, she was in the plus-sizes.

She briefly considered learning English so she could emigrate and be able to buy clothes off the rack.

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