I’ve gone off fashion. I don’t feel a pang in my stomach when I walk past Arden B. or get an anxiety attack on entering Forever 21. Not like I did before. No more the forever-floating girl about town. I’m now the picture of stability: printing crème caramel recipes from the Internet and joining in on a lengthy discussion about the versatility of the eggplant, with a group of Persian women, at a recent cocktail party, sans cocktails.
No man likes to come home to a wake, so I’ve resorted to wearing pastels. I’ve discovered that pink blusher has a miraculous effect on my facial expressions. It helps create the rosy appearance of permanent serenity. I’ve also found my prior aversion to florals has disappeared. It’s opened a new world of possibilities that had been off limits. Just like finding you can eat something that you’ve been allergic to. They say our bodies change every seven years, maybe so does our sense of style. It’s only a matter of time before I’m writing about the benefits of the Moo-Moo vs. the Miu-Miu dress.
It’s far more sensible to be planning for travertine tiles and a granite counter top than a big shiny, red Valentino handbag. I tell myself that the bag; is better suited to a former Madame and not a former Magazine Editor. As the salesgirl tells me about the necessities of the color red and shows me the inside compartments of this enormous, almost luggage size handbag (perfect for carrying props), I interrupt her:
“Thanks, but it’s not right for me,” I say, sheepishly.
I hover away from her. I find myself in an unfamiliar place; somewhere between restraint and reason. Trance-like I walk on, not knowing where I’m headed, until I snap out of my daze, relieved that I’ve entered my comfort zone: the shoe department. Like being handed a mug of hot chocolate and a soft blanket; It’s all-better now.
Surely I haven’t turned frugal? God, I hope not. I regain my optimism as I spot a pair of dainty calfskin, peep-toe shoes in the palest shade of pink by Via Spiga. They fit like a soul mate. What’s the use of buying them (even if they are on sale), if my next project is to grow basil in my own vegetable patch? The only forms of life taking a peep at me there will be the hummingbirds and the olive trees.
At least I haven’t become all domesticated. It would be pushing it to have lost an interest in fashion and turned into a Cleanzilla. There is consolation in knowing that I have a spider’s web in my bathroom and that I’ve managed to ignore the nasty ant situation behind the fridge for a week. The beige carpet between the sofa and the coffee table (where a good amount of food lands) has turned a blotchy orange color due to a recent two-day fiesta of Spaghetti Bolognese. The skin of roasted red melon seeds, the perfect snack while watching thrillers, is now permanently embedded over the stains.
The spare bedroom is set-up perfectly for any unannounced overnight guests, except right now, it’s turned into a makeshift laundry room. Heaps of clothes are thrown on the bed directly from the adjacent official laundry room, to be sorted later. The pantry is off limits to everyone apart from my husband and I. Guests are steered away from all drawers, cupboards and closed doors. Pretending to be a control-freak, I prevent guests from helping out in the kitchen and putting away dishes and cutlery in their “right” place. There is an average of 0.3 cm of dust on all horizontal surfaces in the house. There are large fingerprints on glasses, splashed toothpaste residue on the bathroom mirrors and bird droppings on all the sliding doors that lead to the garden.
I’ve stepped out to the garden a total of five times during a period of eight months. Once because I was being the perfect hostess at our BBQ party and the other times I’d gone out there in my underwear long enough to figure out what the whether was like so that I could decide on what to wear.
Our walk-in closet is a war zone. I’m often accused of having invaded and taken over a foreign country. My husband has been given the Gaza Strip. Why can’t he just be happy with the space he’s got? The battle continues.
I haven’t bought a single item in a week, apart from the big ceramic mixing bowl from TJ Maxx and household items don’t count. My last trip to the mall was at least 2 weeks ago. I bought exactly what I needed. In this case my studio fix foundation and medium brown powder by Mac. Nothing more, nothing less. It felt like I was having an out of body experience when the gay sales person at the Mac beauty counter asked:
“Is there anything else?” and I heard myself saying “No.” I almost had to pinch myself.
I stood there holding the smallest size see-through bag with two items, as he went off to help another big spender. I caught sight of my own reflection over the beauty counter and saw a vacant expression on my face. Had the real me been surgically removed? Maybe she has run off somewhere. Perhaps she was on a remote island in the Caribbean sipping on a Piña Colada with her cell phone turned off. That’s why she couldn’t be bothered to find out about Mac’s new summer collection. There could be no other explanation.