Posted by: stillironic | June 7, 2010

Blessed Are the Panties (Part 1)

Some women are born to shop. I’m not one of them. But I was born to travel.

A suburb of Nantes, France, however, was not a destination of choice. If you think a French suburb (la banlieue) is more stylish than an American suburb (’burb), you’re wrong. ‘Burbs are ‘burbs. I should have known: in most languages the word suburb translates into “hell with hedges.” Or “hell with hedgehogs.” One of those.

Anyway, this was the business part of a trip to France several years ago. JJ was there on business. I was there as wife (la femme). One afternoon three of the other femmes invited me to take a taxi into Nantes with them while the men attended a seminar.

“We can go shopping! There’s a Galeries Lafayette!” Everyone’s eyes lit up. But mine.

Spending time with a group of people I hardly know isn’t my cup of tea. Actually, that’s a weenie way of putting it. My discomfort with people I don’t know sometimes triggers a panic-induced pharmaceutical emergency. And I was facing an afternoon with semi-strangers that also featured shopping, foreign shopping at that.

Now shopping is okay if it’s goal oriented. I’m looking for a particular item and that item is available in an acceptable form. This actually happened recently. I had a gift certificate to Banana Republic and I needed an outfit to wear to a posh afternoon affair.

Now I know that people who shop designer clothing look down on Banana Republic as ghetto shopping. I read that somewhere. I would like to say Vogue. But I don’t read Vogue, so it was more likely Us or InStyle.

But the point is everything went right at Banana Republic. The best thing being a top, skirt, and necklace on display, which I bought. The outfit was put together by store personnel who I trust have a sense of style better than mine. On a scale of one to 10, one being your People of Wal-Mart style and 10 being the style of your average 20-year-old Parisian, I’m a two point five. I once had a clothes closet in which nothing matched. Now I compensate for the genetic flaw that produced that wardrobe nightmare by buying everything in black.

Most of my goal-oriented shopping episodes, however, don’t end so positively. As for shopping with other people, shopping that is just looking at stuff and pretending to be interested—I positively suck at that.

But more powerful than wishing to avoid both a panic attack and an afternoon of shopping at which I suck is my fear of not pleasing others. So off to Nantes in a taxi I went.



  1. I am wanting more, ma petite chou!

  2. The burbs in France are just like the burbs in the U.S.? That is just so sad… I must wipe that image from my mind.

    I’m not a big shopper either although I do love online shopping. Unfortunately, the ease of point-and-click has wreaked havoc with my finances. Shoes have especially done me in.

    And why don’t they make Grrrr-Animals for adults? Little color tags that you just match up and presto — perfect outfit!

    • I do my share of online shopping, too. Especially for gifts.

      Why not a clothing line for the adult style challenged? Proceeds could go toward rehabbing birds and other creatures damaged by the gulf oil spill. Tags could be pelican, turtle, gull, egret, heron, etc. Could be called “Pelican Briefs.”

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