12 March 2010

Relapse Into Retail and Romanticism

So, I had a relapse today. My philosophy girl friend and I decided that before we studied for our comps., we needed to take a walk. A walk took us in the direction of shopping (because I needed toilet paper). In the same store as toilet paper, there were clearance racks of t-shirts and there was costume jewelry, which wasn't on clearance, but which was nevertheless very attractive. (It was at Target. How could it not be attractive?) I had mentioned to my friend that I liked T.J. Maxx. She asked me if I wanted to go. I said "yes." I said "yes" anyway, even though I knew what would happen.

I went straight to the dresses. The cut and the detail, exquisite. I piled them twenty high in my cart (with shirts and shorts, which I also bought, but this is about dresses). I am an efficient try-er-on-er. There is a "yes" pile. There is a "no" pile, and occasionally there is a "maybe" pile, although I'm trying to cut this out. Life is too short to wear "maybes." I fell in love with a couple of the dresses, and once I fall in love, that's it. It would hurt me too much to walk away. Once we've bonded, they become part of me forever... like my third grade piano recital ball gown, or the one that got away--the Anthropologie "Secret Joy Dress," where I waffled responsibly and in the process lost an important chance at happiness.

So, the dresses, I found two. One of them was expensive, expensive enough that I will be building my diet around ramen noodles for the next couple of months. It seemed like a good idea to only buy the dresses if I could find shoes that matched. (I didn't already have shoes that matched them and they couldn't share shoes.) I looked for a long time. My friend was incredibly long suffering, cheerily preferring anything to studying for the comps. And I, while feeling marginally guilty, was too much in thrall, too much in the grips of my shoe lust to walk away. I found them, of course. Lovely gray, jeweled heels to go with a knee-length, elbow-length, empire-waist, t-shirt-materialed, gray dress. It might sound conventional, but it has a very narrow hem at the knee, which gives it a lovely, close drape. Add to this an oversized medley of chains from Target, with tiny little circle window "beads," and it's magical. The expensive dress: taupe. Again, sounds boring, but with ruffles all the way down, complicated and carefree at the same time. The shoes: also taupe, with ruffles along the long part of the t-strap "T".

So then we walked blissfully home along the canal, on a windswept gray day. It was a moorish day too--moisture in the ground, moisture in the air. And I felt like Marianne in Sense and Sensibility, walking on the moors in rain, only with shopping bags (one of them with a twelve-pack of toilet paper), blissfully relapsed, thinking "Is there any felicity superior to this?" Cue triumphal, shoe-finding soundtrack.

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