A couple ‘o posts ago, I told you that we needed to discuss my misadventures in Anthropologie last weekend. As you may remember, I was on kind of an urban/hip high after booking some time at Voodoo and then Saturday Market in downtown Portland. The New-NonWalmartish-Me lasted roughly two hours (and it was a great ride, my three faithfuls) until I left the domain of the riverfront Struggling Artist and walked a few blocks uptown into that of The Diabolically Rich Corporations. All I can tell you is that when I stepped into Athropologie, three disturbing things happened:
1. I was instantly aware of how out of style I was. In sum: Old Navy T-shirt, Old Navy hoodie, Buckle jeans–which were actually a splurge for me, but suddenly seemed cheap and tweeny next to the ninety-dollar T-shirts I was admiring.
2. I was instantly aware of how broke I was. (See above pp. re: Buckle jeans.)3. I was instantly drawn to a mysterious light hovering in the deliciously aromatherapized back corner of the store. I was having something of an out-of-body experience; my mind stayed behind and watched as my body wafted over to the light like a moth to a flame, unable to stop its own instincts. As my intellectual faculties gradually caught up with my physical being, I realized that this shimmering light and gorgeous scent were merely smokescreens to the real object of my admiration: the most beautiful, sophisticated, Anthropologie-clad young woman I had ever beheld with my own two Maybelline mascara-clad eyes. She was perfect. Perfect hair (shiny but not overdone), perfect outfit (charcoal gray leggings and black knee-high leather boots–need I say more?), perfect handbag (leather slouch, expensively careless), and, most importantly, perfect watch, which extra-killed me as my own watch broke three months ago and I’ve been relying on my cell phone since then as a timekeeping fashion accessory. Geez, I thought, I’ll bet she even has more than one watch, so that when hers breaks she has alternatives to digging around her (perfect) handbag for a phone. All of this would have been palatable had she not been chatting and smiling with–it’s true–her perfect mother. This woman was as gorgeously thin, sleek and stylish as her daughter, and the whole thing was so Blythe and Gwyneth, I cannot even tell you.
I can’t say I didn’t mean to stare, because that’s exactly what I meant to do. I just didn’t mean to get caught. I needed to rest my eyes upon this siren so that I would absorb some of her aura through osmosis. I needed to eavesdrop on the mother-daughter conversation about what was beautiful and what was fabulous, so I’d know what to say to my own mom the next time we came here to drop four hundred dollars on capri pants. And dang if I didn’t need to get a better look at that watch. It was large, it was silver, and it graced her slender olive wrist perfectly. Funky casual, I’d have called it. Or was it vintage chic? Retro glam? I had to get closer and find out.
Mostly, I needed the answer to one overarching question: What color was the sky in her world? Where did she come from, where did she live, where was her recession, and where in Sam Hill were her saddlebags? These questions pressed heavily on my mind as I stood staring silently, my head slightly tilted and my lips slightly parted. My feet were fixed to floor as I gazed and hazed, until Gwyneth II suddenly snapped her head up and fixed her eyes directly on mine. I snapped back to life, only to stand stupidly immovable for the longest/briefest moment ever as she flicked her eyes away disinterestedly, turning her coveted attention back to her luminous mother. I managed a stiff smile and stumbled away quickly, not wanting to give my new lady friend the wrong impression about my romantic orientation. This was Portland, after all, and when one woman checks out another, the check-ee doesn’t usually assume it’s because of her fashionable clothes.
I was thrust out of these dreams (remember that song by “Hart?” That would be a good cue-up for this post) when I found my husband brooding in a plush chair by the front entrance, where he’d immediately plodded himself upon entering the store to cast nasty looks at all the salespeople and grumble about how much he hated this place. When I reached him he was busily facebooking everyone he knew about how “Anthropologie is the most ridiculous store on the face of the planet.” My only consolation for his ungentlemanly behavior is that he fat-fingered this message to spell “rediculous.” Poetic justice, I’d say.
You see, Derrick is under the curious impression that Anthropologie is making fools out of us women. He claims that the owners know they can produce whatever shoddy product they want, and as long as they mark it up twice as high as the most expensive competitor and put an earthy-looking wrapper on it (think thirty-five dollar bars of soap), we ladies will rush out to buy it just to prove that we can. Not only will the pathetic purchasing one-up our less fashionable friends, says my cynical husband, but many of us actually believe that Anthropologie’s products will make us the most beautiful because, well, they cost the most. Get what we pay for, right?
Well. I don’t know about any of that. All I know is that if I could afford just one outfit from Anthropologie, three things would happen:
1. I would instantly drop ten years.
2. I would instantly drop ten pounds.
3. I would instantly drop my husband, and hook up with some steamy metrosexual whose eye I would surely catch in my new ultracool threads.
And, of course, I would instantly become best friends with the Paltrows of Portland. No question. And if you’re reading this, Gwyneth II, call me! (But not in a Rosie O’Donnell kind of way.)