“—You don’t need that. “
My friend’s pretty nose scrunches up in that particular expression that she only keeps for when I start running towards the cash register. Except I don’t run. It’s more like a power-walk.
Her argument goes something along the lines of you own the same thing in black and a dozen other colours and I couldn’t agree more. But this is the softest shade of pale pink with the subtlest of gold sheen to it and I have to have it. I try to pretend that I need it and talk about New Year’s parties and how well it would work with that sweater that I never wear and conclude that it’s just vital to BUY THAT SKIRT. Even I don’t believe it.
I am never going to be anything other than grateful for my life as an international student but for every school trip you take in order to witness the greatness of a Harrods window display you give up the certainty that you’ll come back to a friendly face and a hot cup of tea. You never know if the friends you made are still going to be there because you can’t ask them to be less international than you. “I’ll see you when I see you” becomes your most used goodbye.
But you never have to say goodbye to the smooth, thick smell of black suede that reminds you so much of when you last saw that scrunchy nosed best friend and keeps you all warm while you bike your way through the Scandinavian winters. Red wool coats that itch a bit around your neck are a memento of some fabulous house-mate and luggage that was very intent on bursting at the seams. I now measure my success in how much cashmere I can afford to have in my scarf. Every piece of fabric holds a memory or ten of people you love and miss and people you like and probably will never see again. And yet they live on in your life through the latte that they spilled on your brand new Levi’s.
In a world that is all about owning as much as you can as fast as you can it has gotten to a point where it’s almost an invitation for derogatory comments when you say “I like shopping.” The associations are instant. People queuing for hours, hoping to get the latest watered down designer collab, viral videos of people pretending to know other inexistent people and a general “totally obsessed” kind of feeling that is intertwined with these two words: “fashion person”. Ever stopped to think that maybe not everybody is a brand puppet hoarder?
Let’s be honest here, going shopping is one pastime that’s never going to produce a Mona Lisa – like work of art but it sure beats bemoaning that broken heart and watching Bridget Jones for the 10th time. Yes, it would be better to man up and go out and stop being lonely but sometimes there simply isn’t enough time and/or energy for this and when you have your card details memorized it’s pretty obvious which option will win. Get a bag and get over it.
Keep in mind though, that when you say “I love you” to a shoe, not even a Christian Louboutin will answer back.