Sometimes I embarrass myself.
Sometimes it’s a more obvious social faux pas than others. Like when I re-introduce myself to someone I’ve met 7 times before, who obviously remembers me but I let slip “Oh, nice to MEET you!” before I can catch myself and watch the other person’s face transition from warm recognition to irritated pity at my idiocy. (At which point it’s far too late for recovery, by the way, because any attempt at an “I’m sorry, I didn’t recognize you from across the room!” or other B.S. comment will just make the other person think you’re covering up. So for the record, just stop trying, move on, and drink heavily the remainder of the night.) Or when I’m out at a professional function and make a snarky comment about the lack of merit in people who don’t work to someone who turns out to be a well-kept and seemingly happy housewife, whose husband invited her for the evening. Whoops.
And sometimes it’s less obvious, like when I’m at a fancy jewelry store for a networking event and I say to one of the company’s employees – who is showing off his sleek black Tag Heuer unisex chronograph watch that retails at about $7,200 – how much I am coveting the Michael Kors women’s gold runway watch with Swarovski crystals that retails at about $250.
I may as well have walked into up to Donatella Versace and gushed to her that I just LOVE Target brand clothing.
As the words were leaving my mouth, I wanted to smack myself on the head, and yet, I couldn’t seem to stop. And the thing is, I shouldn’t be embarrassed by the fact that I LOVE – and covet – that gold $250 watch! There’s no call to be ashamed of the fact that my current lifestyle doesn’t support random one-off purchases of $7,200 wristwear and that, dammit, regardless of price, I want that “cheap” watch. And just because I was talking to someone who wears an expensive timepiece doesn’t mean that I should ALSO be expected to be wearing one.
But the situation made me wonder why indeed I was so upset with myself for having uttered such “cheap” words. Am I trying to hide the fact that I can’t afford a $7,200 watch? Uh, I think I’m going to have to have to try a LOT harder than by just not opening my mouth. Truth be told, probably my whole appearance – Nine West jacket, Express top and slightly worn (but oh-so-comfortable) black heels – probably already gave me away. I don’t look cheap, per se (well, at least not in my circle of friends) but I definitely don’t look the part of a multi-thousand dollar watch wearer. But is that something I’m really trying to portray? That I’m the kind of girl who can afford the kind of lifestyle in which $7,200 watches are easily within reach?
I don’t mind being the kind of girl who finds cute clothes at Target, or shops Horchow Finale or Last Call. But evidently I mind the possibility of becoming mainstream; of a mindset in which midline fashion brands are the most I can hope for and a $7,200 watch will always feel out of my league. I don’t necessarily ever want or need to buy into that level of luxury – but I want to have that choice, and say no to ridiculous expenditures not because I feel like I’m not good enough, but because I would rather spend my money elsewhere. I’m terrified of being intimidated of spending time with groups of people who have more money and better things, because that fear, above all else, will make a person feel small and insignificant – when I choose to believe that nothing about my life is so.
So I have to remind myself that I’ll never be a cover girl or a fashionplate, but I can work what my momma gave me, exercise off the rest and live up my social life in whatever circle of friends I happen to come across. And in the meantime, I’ll read my trendy magazines, buy what I want and can afford, dress to my best image of myself and not worry about what anyone else thinks.
At the end of the day, I kinda like Target clothes.