Thursday, December 3, 2009

Another planet altogether . . .

As part of an unusually productive afternoon at work, I decided to maximize efficiency by making my trip down the hall include a stop at the ladies room, a swing past the printer to pick up a spreadsheet, and a run through the kitchen to pick up a knife. Remembering the cocktail social scheduled for after work, I also stopped by the office supply area to pick up a black Sharpie. Once back at my desk, and thinking myself very clever, I used the black Sharpie to try to color in the scuffmarks on my black boots and hide the areas where the vinyl was actually chipping away from the toe of the boot.

The sad fact is I was doing this because at the last office social I attended, my boss commented on the scuffmarks on this very same pair of boots—and that was nearly a year ago. Most women would have, in a year’s time, gone out and replaced the offending boots. But I am a woman saving for a dream—saving for a boat! The state of my work wardrobe has been relegated to a status of “do not resuscitate,” and I just hope that Brian and I manage to get out voyaging before I have to resort to fastening my pants with safety pins.

It is probably clear by now that I am no fashionista and some days barely manage to hang on to my girl card, but even for a non-girly girl like me, having a paltry and utterly insufficient wardrobe is still a drag. The worst part of it, though, is that since I started working as a business and technology consultant nearly three years ago, I work with people—men and women—who notice this stuff! Just this week, my client, who is incidentally gay, used a Hermes bag as part of an analogy. Another—presumably straight male coworker—mentioned that there was a Jimmy Choo store at the new Bravern location in Bellevue, and another one of my coworkers—this time a women—explained that the fact that her longtime boyfriend was talking about marriage was nice, but she held up her hand and said it’s time for him to “show me the bling.”

It has been said that men are from Mars and women are from Venus, but I must be from another planet altogether because I just don’t get it. Sure clothing can be fun, but just like the old schooner captain I used to work for could tell you what nearly everything cost in PBRs, I think about the fact that a pair of Jimmy Choo shoes could buy us anchors, chain, and rode, and a Coach bag could buy us a life raft.

So everyday that I have to drive to Seattle’s faux posh suburbs dressed in cheap clothing, crumbling boots and carrying a handbag with a temperamental zipper, I remind myself that although the fashion snobs have got me in their sights and can see at 30 paces that I am not one of them, I console myself with the fact that I am proud to not be one of them. Outcast though I may be, my future is not under the glaring florescent lights that quickly showed that Sharpie and black boot vinyl are not the same shade. My future lies beyond the horizon where showing up in anything more than a bikini and a pareo would make one laughably overdressed.


  1. You are so right. New shoes would be thrilling for... I don't know 2 minutes, but taking off on a boat for a year or two will change your life. Not to mention be way more exciting than an entire new wardrobe. Keep going with the Sharpie

  2. I love how sure of yourself you are. Keep it up. The crazy thing about fashion is that in two years, or whenever you're sailing around, that same person who spent so much time and energy-not to mention a Hermes bag full of greenbacks,on all those clothes, will be out of style and need to be replaced!


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