This shouldn't be a surprise, but the listed waist size of mens' pants is generally very wrong.
The devastating realization came in H&M. Specifically, in a pair of size 36 dress pants. I'd never bought pants at H&M before, and suddenly asked myself: how could a 36-inch waist suddenly be so damn tight?
I've never been slim — I played offensive line in high school — but I'm no cow either. (I'm happily a "Russell Crowe" body type.) So I immediately went across the street, bought a tailor's measuring tape, and trudged from shop to shop, trying on various brands' casual dress pants. It took just two hours to tear my self-esteem to smithereens and raise some serious questions about what I later learned is called "vanity sizing."
*covers ears* Nyah nyah nyah I'm not listening!