That Other Porn

I’m not a shopper. I’ve made that very clear on my blog. My three most dreaded purchases are bathing suits, underwear and shoes. The first is obvious. I think every woman feels the same way, unless they’re modelling for Victoria’s Secret. The second is a comfort thing. You just have to take a chance and if you can find a brand you like, buy more. There is no solution for shoe shopping because: a. I have no sense of style. b. I need to feel comfortable all the time. c. I almost always experience buyers remorse and/or diminished self esteem. Part of me wishes that we were living the National Geographic dream of a loin cloth and no shoes. Of course, we’d have to have a more natural view of beauty, and for North Americans, that ship has sailed.

But something happens to me when I go into Winners. (TJ Max, in the USA.) I’m instantly taken by the thought that there might be a whole other me waiting to be discovered. Someone with glamour potential, or the ability to lose ten pounds while walking around the store. One who can wear anything without bitching about it later. Suddenly, I’m sure I’d look great in a long, shaggy gray sweater that hangs to my knees, or a pair of cropped jeans marked down to $24.99. And that cerulean blue dress on the clearance rack for $14.99. How could I not buy it?  It’s practically reaching for me as I trot by, wide eyed.

Why is the food section with its prettily packaged teas, unconventional chips and tiny bottles of maple syrup more attractive than the same items in a grocery store? Are the cookies made from quinoa, nuts and molasses as tasty as they look? The small boxes of designer hot chocolate imported from Belgium certainly look more sophisticated than my own tin of Fry’s cocoa. Whatever the reason, I find myself pawing through the products like an archaeologist at a new dig. Then I move into the household goods, my favorite section.

Have you ever noticed that things look better at Winners than they do at the Bay? Those lustrous, shell-like bowls and rose coloured wine glasses. The three foot high vases, and dainty picture frames. Tiny crystal lamps with turquoise shades that promise to transform any room. Five hundred thread count Egyptian cotton sheets for $49.99. Crisp apple strudels and warm woolen mittens. You get the idea.

And the shoe department. Nikes for $49.99! Clarks for  the same, and a lineup of every kind of sandal that I would never try on in a different store, but they’re just sitting there and I don’t have to ask for help. There’s the kind with straps that wrap around your legs, Roman soldier style. Are they for me? I stare into the tilted mirror on the floor, lifting my pants out of the way and imagining myself strolling around Italy in them. A couple quick trips up and down the aisle confirm the fit.

Here’s my mindset at Winners. In this ultimate shopping experience, maybe my feet won’t be fussy anymore. Perhaps I’ve grown a few inches since I walked in and no long have to tailor my dresses. Whatever it is, I’ll continue enjoying this version of myself that feels more comfortable in the world. The one that, like my late husband, has a linen collection.

So if you come for tea, make sure to ask me about my tiny jars of jam and hand crafted crackers. Run your hands through my fake expensive sheets. A woman dressed in linen like the one I’m pretending to be will be happy showing off her purchases.

2 thoughts on “That Other Porn

  1. Stubblejumpers Cafe

    Shopping as entertainment. Blecch. It seems to be common nowadays to go shopping, not for what we need but for something to do. I prefer to do it at garage sales, where things are sold for what they’re actually worth. Hee! At least I don’t feel suckered-in by what I’ve paid for what I bring home. I like not-shopping, because then I don’t notice all the things I’d like to have but don’t need. And when there is something I actually DO need, I go straight for it and try to ignore everything else. TRY being the operative word. -Kate

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  2. judithannepettersen Post author

    Winners is the only place I can bring myself to shop, and most of the time my purchases end up being a mistake. My husband bought almost exclusively second hand and he had some interesting items, that’s for sure. A Bill Blass suit and a ton of Tommy Bahama shirts.

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