Saturday, August 04, 2007

not settling for vanilla

Perhaps my previous post warrants a bit more detail. You see, of my many vices, there is none quite so fabulous as my proclivity towards retail therapy. I inherited this from my mother. It's quite simple, really. When life gets you down - go to the mall. And it just so happens that when I moved to Southern California, I moved within a few minutes drive to South Coast Plaza - the king of malls.

In the grand scheme of coping mechanisms, I think there is none better. The only real downside is that you're out a few bucks. Compare that to say, going on a bender. Alcohol certainly isn't free, and using it as therapeutic device is disfavored as it tends to be ferociously cyclical. Throwing back a few to escape your problems might be effective, but it carries with it an appreciable likelihood of creating more problems. Which requires more drinking and thus more problems and so on and so forth.

You start out the evening drinking away a bad day at the office, and when you wake up the next morning, a video of the drag queen contest into which you were coerced is making the rounds on YouTube (I'm talking to you, R7). This of course, requires more drinking, and since this strategy is clearly less than pragmatic, it is not for me.

Similarly, binge eating carries a similar quandary. Eating a giant burrito or an entire cookie cake will give you that rush of endorphins characteristic of a carbohydrate over-dose, but then what happens? You get fat. And being fat makes you even more sad, which leads to more burritos/cookie cakes, which leads to more fatness-sadness-burritos-fatness. So this strategy is also not for me.

Gambling is slightly more favored, because if you're going to throw away some money, it might as well at least be in the spirit of trying to win some more money. But it's likely that you will lose and have only enough money left to buy either alcohol or a burrito, and then you're back on one of the aforementioned downward spirals of cross-dressing and/or fatness.

So I'm left with retail therapy. This worked out very well for me, because I had budgeted to do some shopping whilst in Hawaii. And since you can only buy so many leis and things made from coconuts, I was still in the black. Actually, I did not have to purchase the obligatory lei, as I acquired a very respectable shell lei in an awkward moment with a hula dancer. No, seriously - I don't want to talk about it. Quit asking.

Also, it just so happened that I needed new shoes anyway, because my best black dress shoes (my so-called "court shoes") had worn my right foot down to a nub. Or at least a size 11. So I ventured over to Nordstrom's, armed with my vacation shopping budget, a little bit of folding green love from my father, and a Nordstrom's gift card from Christmas that hadn't quite been tapped-out. And it was then that I first laid eyes on the lover of my sole - Bruno Magli. I didn't really intend to buy them, but I thought it would be fun to try on such an infamous shoe.

The guy brings out a 13, and I slip them on. At this point, I heard my feet say, "Hello, old friends." And then I heard my mouth say, "I'll take them."

I realize that I probably sound like a girl, raving on and on about shoes in such an unrestrained manner - but these shoes! Right out of the box they felt like slippers. And to think that for years I had assumed that Bruno Maglis were only famous because of their popularity among legally-embattled professional athletes.

So now I have my Bruno Maglis. All I need now are some nice leather gloves and a white Bronco and I'm ready to... well, let's not go there.

And then - joy of joys! The South Coast Plaza J.Crew store has started selling men's clothes again! Forsooth, for the past year or so, they had completely abandoned all of the mens clothes - selling only clothes for chicks and little kids. And this week, while I was meandering through the mall, what do I see? Do my eyes deceive me? Ties! Blazers! Summer-weight wool suits! Indeed, the Department of Optimism Maintenance has been working overtime.

And what is the first thing I see amidst the freshly-stocked menswear? Hooded sweatshirts! You see, earlier this summer, I lost my favorite sweatshirt. It was a blue, fleece-lined Penguin. I left it in the back of my car, and after a trip to the beach, it was gone. Vagrants had absconded with it. I still have a maroon version of the same sweatshirt that they didn't pilfer, but since I am winter skin tone, it's just not as flattering.

But J.Crew had them in blue, lined with sherpa, which is like, super-fleece, or something. And so, even though it is patently ludicrous to buy a fleece-lined hooded sweatshirt in Southern California in August, retail therapy knows no seasons and waits for no sales. I also got a shirt, which is like, soooo cute. And a cardigan - for rockin' it Mr. Rogers style once autumn rolls around.

So let this be a lesson to you. When sorrows like sea billows roll - put down the Crown and the Chips Ahoy. When you've got the blues - go find an outfit to match.