I bought a lot of clothes over the weekend.
This was actually an accomplishment for me. I tend to flinch at spending money. You could say that my mom raised me to be frugal, or that I spent too much time reading Thoreau’s “Walden” in high school. I prefer to say that somewhere in the back of my brain there’s a little Dickensian orphan who’s convinced that she doesn’t know where her next meal is coming from. If you ever want to get free food out of an event, I’m your girl. I have a gift for landing free stuff, even if I don’t need it. And I feel uncomfortable spending money on anything that isn’t survival.
But nowadays, I don’t need to be quite so vigilant as I’ve been in the past. I have a salaried job, and I can afford to eat out sometimes, go to a show, even get myself a little something nice every once in a while. What with birthday gift cards and cash burning a hole in my pocket, a new round of guitar classes coming up, and the season-transition sales happening at stores like Banana Republic and Express, I went a little crazy this past weekend. To the tune of a $300 guitar and another $250 or so in clothes.
To be fair, I got a lot of clothes, and they were all on sale or purchased with a gift card. Also I haven’t bought new clothes in around three years. Still, I’m going back and forth between pride at my new, pretty things and guilt at having spent money on something superficial.
Like everyone, my first instinct when I get new clothes is to WEAR ALL THE CLOTHES. ALL OF THEM RIGHT NOW. ALL AT ONCE. ALL THE CLOTHES ARE BELONG TO ME.
So that’s been my week, and today’s no different. To make up for the major grogginess that I’m feeling, having slept on a futon interrupted by drunk people at a bar charmingly called “Uncle Fatty’s” across the street, and then having watched the Royal Wedding at 5AM, I’m wearing a very cute Express tank top that I got last weekend that has a sort of ruched, 40s-dress va-va-voom appeal. Except it’s freezing in my office so I have on a cardigan too, and no one can see the cute top. Disappointing.
I complained to my friend Caitlin about this. Isn’t the point of new clothing for people to see and instantly admire? By the time I was awake enough to want someone to coo over me, the female coworker I talk to about clothes had left for a meeting in another building. “I want someone to show my awesome tank top to,” I said to Caitlin via GChat. “But there aren’t any ladies around to show it to, however briefly. It’s weird to do that with the male coworkers.”
Caitlin: “Ha ha, please show Matt your tank top. That would be hilarious. Although yeah, he wouldn’t appreciate it like a girl would.”
I turned and looked at Matt. I give him a hard time, but we get along remarkably well for people who sit about a foot from each other for 40 hours a week. So I rotated my chair and tapped his shoulder.
“Hey Matt, look at my cute tank top!” I said as he slowly turned his head away from the movie he was watching, earbuds still in place.
Maybe I should have given him more time, because his reaction to my whipping open my cardigan and showing some shoulder was not, “Oh, okay, that’s a nice shirt.” It was, “HOLY CRAP WHAT ARE YOU DOING IN PUBLIC?!” He jumped back in his chair like a scared puppy and stared at me with big eyes. I stared back. I replaced my cardigan without a word.
I don’t know if I should be offended that his gut reaction was fear and shock, or relieved that he noticed enough, finally, to let me off the hook for an inappropriate-office-environment lawsuit.
Next time I’ll wait for Lila to come back.