I know, dearies, I haven't been posting much at all, at all, but there are big things to come, I promise. Time is precious now that I've started teaching again, and I want to make my postings just so. So. In lieu of a "real" post, an anecdotal one (which somehow always feels like cheating to me).
It was my birthday, right? and my family is far away in New York, right? so my mom, who is the best mom, told me to go pick something out for myself and put it on her credit card. So I went to "Le BM," as the French call it, pronounced bay-em and short for Le Bon Marché, which seems to me a rather scatalogical way of referring to the best department store in Paris, indeed the world, but alright. I went to Le BM around six pm, because I was giving an English lesson in the neighborhood at seven, thinking I could get in and have a quick look-- pre-shopping, if you will-- and then go back, more informed, when I had more time.
Big mistake. I should have known: if a French department store closes at seven pm, it really closes at six. I have never felt such a wave of cold stares assail me as I walked through each of the designer nooks in the first floor annex. Every salesgirl turned her back and started to play with a pile of sweaters, and I got the message loud and clear: "we're closing, don't make us do any additional work, like wait on you or clean up after you."
Determined to at least try on a pair of shoes, I approached the saleswoman asking for a 36 in a pair of brown boots, and at the last minute, a pair of 1940s-inspired robin's egg blue Mary Jane pumps. The boots, those Castaners with the rubber bottoms, were awkward and looked kind of cheap. I mentally resolved to buy the ones at Comptoir des Cotonniers I had seen over the weekend.
But the pumps, oh my. They looked so kicky, so funky on the display. But when I put them on, I realized the chunky strap, a contrasting shade of beige leather fastened with--I kid you not--Velcro, actually resembled an Ace bandage. I made a face and started taking them off.
"You don't like them?" the saleswoman asked wearily.
"No," I said apologetically, and offered a rationale, as I've noticed women tend to do here: "I think the strap is too thick, it's too bulky."
She sniffed. "It's true that it takes a certain--" she paused-- "style, to carry them off."
I stared at her. Was this woman actually suggesting that I didn't have the style to carry off a two hundred euro Ace bandage? Dita Von Whatever-her-name-is the queen of burlesque could put them on and they would still look fugly.
"Sans doute," I said, coldly, and took my Converse-clad self away from there, feeling at the same time vaguely insulted and derisive. I'm giving her the benefit of the doubt: she had probably had a long day.
(of customers complaining about the strap)