“Wine Country Casual? What the hell is that?!” My slightly panicked mutterings when I finally received my FedEx package from the Wine Writer’s Symposium detailing all the doings that will be going on while I’m there. “Well whatever it is I’m sure I don’t have it” I told my husband and began planting the seed, in my own head, about having to get some shopping done. I think I had seen on the website that there were a couple nights when we would be required to swank it up a little but, well I’d inconveniently forgotten that smidgen of a detail thinking there was weeks and weeks to find something, maybe have it tailored even. Yeah, utter horseshit. I loathe shopping, especially for anything fancy, so I was delaying it…you know, the way you do with the dentist. It’s that dreadful for me and even though I knew I was running out of time I simply choose not to think about it. That ignore it and it might go away kind of thinking that always, always ends up being a very fine, and wicked smart idea. Fuck me.
Got my packet on Thursday night didn’t even really look at it until Saturday evening and that was when it hit me, I had basically screwed myself out of any meaningful shopping, (if there is such a thing) and due to prior commitments had only one day to try and dress myself for a couple fancy dinners and meeting one of my favorite wine writers, face to face, for the first time. Perfect. Today was that day. Today, fucking Valentine’s Day. I had to go, (insert doom-doom-doom music here) to the goddamn mall on fucking Valentine’s Day. Brilliant.
Put it off as long as I could this afternoon. I had been foolishly waiting for an email that never really came, but made myself feel better with whispered assurances that the chicks getting their hair did, partaking of free makeovers and spraying themselves, heavily, with the counter samples of perfume would be long gone, and hoping that the, “Holy shit I need a gift” dudes were probably filtering out and making their stress sweaty drive home. Checked my empty email box one last time, poured myself a glass of courage and pouted before slipping my gray hoodie over my head, begrudgingly shoving my feet into my Vans and heading for the door. “Two things; one you don’t need ANY new pajamas and two, you’ve been complaining about needing new underwear for months now, get yourself a few pair while you’re there.” The husband’s parting words, (the pajama bit like a dagger in my heart) before I flipped the latch on the screen and shuffled to my car.
Ladies, feel free to yank my card or whatever but this one thing kept looping in my head all the way to the mall, “Girl clothes. I have to continue dressing like Ellen Degeneres and wonder why chicks keep hitting on me, or I have to buy girl clothes.” One scan of the offerings that greeted me from store to store and I was feeling more comfortable with the whole lesbian thing. Gawd I hate the clothes they make for women. It’s not even about comfort, well okay maybe it is but what up with the ruffles, big splashy patterns, fucking sequins and either itsy bitsy or big loopy sleeves?! That shit right there aint practical and having that much crap hanging off of me will do nothing but make me way too aware of my clothes. Who needs that noise? I flipped through the racks of frilly shirts made out of material I’m sure was designed to cling to my every…nook and cranny, and when I happened upon a shelf full of folded, crisp, white button down shirts my excitement was smacked down when I unfolded one to find a big ass dangly buckle hanging from the waist.
A sweet woman who apparently sensed my anxiety, that or saw the, “This fucking blows!” face I was sporting offered to help. Fantastic plan that, having someone that doesn’t know anything about you pick out clothes for you. I stood in the dressing room, comfy jeans and sweatshirt in a pile on the floor, in my undies and socks as this woman brought me shirts she thought would, “Play nicely off the pattern in that jacket you picked out” yay, whimper. I needed only try on the first of the five brightly colored, low-cut and puckered with ruffles “blouses” (why can’t they just be shirts? I just don’t get this) she brought me, my breasts looking like they were a bowl holding a pile of oddly colored kale, the material lying flat against my hips and waist, my face aghast and deeply wrinkled looking at myself, this poor woman cooing about how I cute I looked…me trying my best not to call her a name. “Look at how nicely it shows off your shape” she grinned. “Yup, and the second I sit down lots more shapes are gonna show. No way. Not for me” I said through a pained smile, “I’ll just take the jacket and I need some underwear” I told her while wiggling back into my jeans and hoodie. Underwear I know. Underwear I can do. I buy one kind in varying shades and colors, easy.
Um…what the hell?! I got to the crunders table, it was in the same place I left it, like a year ago, and there where all the bikini briefs used to be where piles and piles of undies but in shapes unlike those I’d known before. Oh sure they always had the butt floss and lacy shit, I just never went there and those were in fact still hung on little hangers in another area but MY crunders were now missing and in their place were things like, Hipsters, String Bikini (oh and I say this as a fat girl, they should not make those for fat girls. Ever seen pork roast wrapped in twine? Just sayin’) Full Briefs, (aka Granny Panties) and Seamless Boy Cut. I was frozen. What to do? I’d ventured off my panty path before and ended up with lace crawling up my butt cheeks and although designed to do so, most uncomfortable I assure you. I walked round and round the table looking like a puppy that is trying to settle on a place to lie down before just grabbing fistfuls, and no, I’m not exaggerating, of stoopid crunders and marching for the register. Failing at panties is pretty bad no? Ugh. Tossed over my credit card, took my sack of undies and shitty attitude to the final stop…the makeup counter. Grrrr
Now remember when I had told myself that all the gift seekers were probably gone already? Yeah, wrong once again. They were there, hundreds of them, standing helpless and pale in the makeup department of the Macy’s. Fuck!! I pulled the little slip from my pocket, the one that has the kind, shade and item number of the makeup and powder I wear. The ones, much like my undies, that I’ve been wearing for like ever but can’t be bothered to remember the name of, and stood there like a fucking day trader trying to flag someone down. “Buy! I wanna buy!” Another very sweet woman came to my rescue. She took the slip from my hand, gave my sour face and sweatshirt clad frame a once over, (I don’t see this as bitchy, just what makeup counter girls do) slipped me a, “Awe, poor you” grin and bounced off for my goods. I stood there watching these poor men trying to navigate the makeup counters, getting sprayed with this fragrance and that, thinking, “Well they ought not be spraying these poor bastards with perfume on Valentine’s Day” when my helpful assistant returned. “Congratulations! You’ve spent enough to get a free gift” she chirped. Oh goddamn it….
“So if you ring up everything together you get both of these gifts along with a free set of brushes” she told me through her big, ultra-white grin. “Okay, so what would be the benefit of ringing them up separately?” not trying to be an ass, just trying to figure this out. “Nothing” she replied. “So I’m sorry, why would you ask me that?” nerves were rubbed to their final layer of dealing, just wanted my face crud and wanted to go home already. She gave me a quick shrug and began ringing my purchase, together.
“Now which travel makeup case would you like? The black with pink bow or pink with black bow?”
“Let’s go with the black bag”
“Would you like the black eyeliner or mascara?"
“Eyeliner I guess….”
“Which pink lip shimmer?”
“The pink one?”
“I’m sorry? Which shade of pink?”
“Which one will play nicely with this jacket?” pulling the sleeve from my bag.
“I think with your skin tone you should go with this one”
“Now, which moisturizer? Age defying or the one that adds elasticity?”
“Really? Can I go soon? You’re the one giving me the gift, you pick it”
Got home, kicked off my shoes and walked into my bedroom with bags in hand. “How’d it go?” my husband trying to be chipper knowing that I loathe the whole shopping experience. I lifted both bags over my head and let the weird sample bottles, pink tubes and black travel bag, the nearly twenty pairs of crunders spill onto the bed.
“Cute jacket, did you get a shirt to go with it? And what’s up with these undies, they have lace on them?”
I am now on my fourth glass of Camille Saves Carte d’Or. Letting the rich fruit, powerful nuttiness, the sexy as fuck stain of a remarkable wine wash this craptastic day off of me.
The knowing that there is a bottle of 2006 Jose Dhondt Blanc de Blanc awaiting my touch…might just pull this Valentine’s Day out yet.
Not going to worry about creeping crunders until tomorrow….