Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Shopping Blues and Bells

Being one of the rare women who hate to shop... looking for the perfect outfit for the Christmas party that I’d been waiting for all year… is nothing short of torture! Not to mention that I’d only managed one present out of a whole list of loved ones to by for.
Needing some professional help, I recruited the help of the two best shoppers I know… my mother and my best friend. Organising to meet after work, I needed five minutes in the bathroom in front of the mirror with the shopping survival mantra:
I will not criticise or ill-treat my body.
I will try the garment on before rejecting it.
I will not leave the mall until finding the right item of clothing.

Two hours, four stores and swollen feet later… I still hadn’t found anything that looked remotely presentable for the evening gala I’d be attending. The only garment I had found that had any kind of possibility was so tight that it squeezed every ounce of what the good Lord had given me. Should I be required to bend by any chance, no doubt would everyone guess my cup size thanks to the grand opening in front, and the two straps kept threatening to slip off thanks to the low cut back. My best friend thought it was sexy, my mother thought it was scandalous and I thought that it just wasn’t me…

As always… it was in the last store, just as I’d given up and resorted to recycling something from previous years that suddenly… there it was! Not one… not two… but three gorgeous tops that would look fabulous with any skirt or pair of trousers that I owned. By that stage my two shop-o-holics had given up on me. My mother was on the phone to Norway and my best friend was on a foot-massage machine mission somewhere on the other side of the mall. I began to whimper as I realised that I might just have to choose the three tops on my own and be held fully accountable for the decision! Grabbing my cellphone I sent out an S.O.S and had my two partners in shopping next to me in a matter of minutes. I don’t recommend shopping with two assistants. One will like the red top better, the other will like the Chinese top better and meanwhile you find that you like the one with the long sleeves most. The result? Well… let’s just say that I won’t be needing any party clothes for the next couple of parties.

Have you ever heard the sound of plastic squealing? Well mine screamed as it was passed through the machine. I tried not to look at it as it accused me of tightening it’s budget on three tops when I only needed one. I refused to no longer listen to it when I made it go through another two times for a new skirt and a black bra and decided that I’d only take a glance at my bank balance, AFTER the party, to avoid pro-shop-depression.

Half the mission was completed… I had the clothes… now I just had to figure out exactly what it was that I’m going to wear. Still in uniform at almost midnight, I distractingly boarded the wrong bus whilst trying to picture the up and coming events. It was when the bus took the wrong turn that I suddenly realised that it was going to be a long walk home! Trying not to cry, I wondered if it was too late to send a letter to Santa asking him for a car and a driver’s licence… and a great sound system now that he was at it. Hopes suddenly spiralled as I saw another bus coming from the distance but almost immediately my spirits sank as I realised it was off duty. Luckily angels are never off duty and the considerate bus driver became my knight in shining armour getting me back into town just in time to catch the last bus home. Approaching home sweet home… I decided not to go shopping any time in the next millennium! (Oh… except maybe the for the Christmas presents that I still hadn’t bought!)

Surrounded by clothes and still unsure what to wear… I began wondering why humans had invented fashion in the first place. Things would’ve been a whole lot easier (and honest) if everyone just walked around in their birthday suit. At least you wouldn’t be tortured by sizes and textures… everything would fit and look good… well… almost… did I forget to mention that the worst part about shopping is when you mates leave you alone in the dressing room with the full body mirror and you’re left to the awful torment of self-body-analyses! On second thought… maybe we should all walk about in potatoes sacks… one size fits all, no measurement fixes required.

Inspecting my outfit from every angle in the bathroom mirror, I came to the conclusion that what I had on, definitely portrayed a good picture of me. It wasn’t too tight or revealing, yet it fit well enough to hold both elegance and promise. I suppose clothes do tell a lot about a person and I can’t have my jeans and t-shirt do all the talking for me. There’s a lot more to me than my daily uniform and pink teddy pyjamas. I guess that revelations lies in the eye of the beholder and how deep they’re willing to look.

The fact that I could eliminate the need to impress made my decision much easier and this year I’m dressing up with the intention of dancing and having fun. They say clothes make the woman?

Hell No… I believe it’s the woman that gives her clothes worth.

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