not a shopper. I have friends who will make plans to go shopping
as though it's a cultural outing. Like going to the theatre. I'll
ask my friend, Audrey, what she is doing on Saturday and her response
will be: shopping. For what? She doesn't know. It seems she just
enjoys spending hours wandering aimlessly and the only goal is
to spend money on something she doesn't yet know she wants or
needs. And then afterwards to feel guilty and fat. Fun times.
The only thing worse then shopping is listening to somebody talk
about shopping. If you are motivated to make it an event, there
is no need to discuss it with others afterwards. For those of
us who weren't there, hearing what went on isn't as compelling
as you might think. We don't need the play by play. It's like
hearing someone describe an episode of a TV show you don't care
about and didn't watch. If I'm not watching the show, chances
are there's a reason.
No one has ever returned from a shopping excursion having discovered
something that carries such consequence, it needs to be shared.
Usually the discoveries are along the lines of: "Do you know
what I found out? I don't look good in pleats!"
Last week Audrey went shopping and spent twenty minutes describing
a dress she had put on hold at Sefridges. She wasn't sure if she
could afford it but she said she said there was something about
it that she found inspiring. You'd think she'd been to the Tate.
Generally speaking, I prefer doing something more constructive
with my Saturdays. Like sleeping.
It's occurred to me maybe the reason I hate shopping so much is
because my life doesn't live up to my taste. I'll see something
beautiful and have to talk myself out of buying it by reminding
myself that I have nowhere to wear it to. For most people, retail
therapy is an uplifting experience. For me, it's a time to meditate
on where things went wrong.
Either that or it's punishment. I'll see something I like that
is out of my price range, try it on anyway, and fall in love.
Then I'll be stuck. I'll wish I never tried it on, but it will
be too late. The saleslady will be saying how great we are together
which will make me feel giddy and reckless. I'll go through all
the rationalisations: it can't afford it, I have nowhere to wear
it to, I can live without it, I can always come back - but the
more I try to talk myself out of it, the more attractive it becomes.
So I'll go for it anyway. Then I'll regret it and end up wishing
I'd listened to my instincts in the first place and been stronger.
It will sit in my closet: gathering resentment and dust.
If I'm going to go through that kind of pain and heartache, I
prefer to save it for the men in my life. I don't need extra anguish
from a dress.
Shoes are another story. I'm much more audacious when it comes
to shoes. Whereas buying a dress is a commitment, there's much
less pressure with shoes. It's like having a fling. No matter
how torturous, it's worth the experience.
Also if they're expensive, there's less guilt because feet don't
gain weight. So there's the innate understanding that years from
now, the shoes will still fit in case something comes up.
A few days ago, a pipe burst in my kitchen and the plumber had
to drill a hole in my closet. Which forced me to clean it out.
There was a bunch of shoeboxes piled in the back that I had completely
forgotten about. I opened one up from Robert Clergerie, who makes
exquisite French shoes, and inside were a pair of black suede
mules. I turned them over and looked at the soles; they'd been
worn once. I bought them - for a friend's wedding - ten years
After the wedding I'd put them away thinking: one day I'm sure
I'll have an occasion to wear these shoes again. I'm sure in the
future I'll be in a place in my life where these shoes will come
Guess not. Sitting there on my floor, I could feel myself getting
older. Ten years had passed. Would I ever have a reason to where
these shoes? I put them on. And gathered up all of the clothes
that I never wear. Then I went downstairs to the basement, and
did the laundry.