Friday, March 3, 2006

Erica and I, quite inadvertently, found ourselves in this upscale Soho boutique called Lounge, where I felt three-hundred percent out of place. I have what might be generously termed a "minimalist" wardrobe — no bright colors, no vintage anything, and Heaven forbid I own a pair of cufflinks. I'm all about Old Navy, despite their asinine TV commercials, and even then sometimes I'm overwhelmed by the performance fleece or distressed khakis or whatever the apparel of the week is. At least my questionable fashion sense is pretty much always on sale.

Sometimes I venture into the Gap or Express or Abercrombie and I just pine for the days when Mom used to stock my wardrobe at Caldor. Shopping for clothes was simpler back then, basically because no matter what you bought from Caldor, it was guaranteed to be flannel and hideous. I could never tell the difference anyway, and as long as everything that was supposed to be covered up was covered up, I was indifferent.

Erica and I just stumbled into Lounge after our afternoon at the Casablanca Tea Room. What's weird about Casablanca is you walk in and it's all decked out like the Middle East, with the lacy curtains, the harem chairs, the arabesques, except there's this room in the back with racks and shelves of denim. So you're in there, trying to figure stuff out, thinking, "Well, they put some effort into making this place seem authentic. Look at that, they've got a little rose water fountain over there.... Are they selling jeans in the back?" Yes, they are. It turns out that Casablanca is tiny and Lounge is huge — it takes up a whole city block — so those in the know are really thinking something more like, "Yeah, I came here feeling like spending seven-hundred bucks on a Eurotrash fugly, froofy Michiko Koshino cooter-revealing dress for bulemics, but it turns out that what I really want is a ten-dollar cup of tea. What, you mean I have to cross the street to get to Starbucks?!"

People in Lounge had style, which isn't necessarily good since most Americans are douchewads who could best serve humanity by shutting up and blending into the background. Erica went to try some stuff on, just one or two... or three things, and fight a moral struggle with her credit cards and an eighty-six dollar blouse that was probably made by some prepubescent El Salvadorian girl making twelve cents a day behind a sewing machine. I wandered around, taking in the downtempo trance Euroshit music selection they're selling, nodding to the DJ, who looked kind of like Z.Z. Top with a beard manicure, acutely aware of how I was way too underaccessorized to belong in Lounge. Everything — even the metrosexual menswear — had some sequins or glitter or some sort of emasculating pattern sewn on, and you could tell the guys who were gonna wind up walking out of the store with something apart from the guys who were just there to make some fashionista chick happy. Like this one dude I ran into, with the one diamond earring and the fedora, the belt with its gaudy oversized buckle, the tie but no jacket, the abstract pseudo-Aboriginal silver necklace. I know anybody who dresses like that is naturally a total fucking superficial asshole, but I felt more than a little naked at that moment.

I sort of wished we'd gone to an adult bookstore after that to get the scent and aura of Lounge out of my hair. Oh, look, there's a guy not even bothering to hide the fact that he's paging through Barely Legal. I feel much more urbane now.


Mike said...

yeah. I know some people like that. I wouldn't say assholes... Maybe just losers