Girl Confession: I Hate to Shop

Sometimes I worry I’m an embarrassment to girldom.


I mean, in many ways, I guess, I’m fairly girly – I love flowers; I own hairspray; and I’ll cry at any kind of movie that has Hugh Grant and some allusion to the word “forever.”


But in one way I feel I’m completely out of the loop, like a missed the flourish in the second X chromosome: I hate to shop. And I especially hate to shop for clothes.


I know, I know. You probably do. You probably know the difference between Manolos and Choos and even know how to spell them and make them plural. You can probably spot an Yves Saint Laurent skirt from a mile away. And you probably followed Vera Wang well before she landed in Kohls.


But I’m just missing this gene.


I know I must be a terrible disappointment. I’m sure my shopaholic mother swaddled me in a pink department-store blanket when I was born and thought, “Ah ha! A comrade in arms. …”


And I’m sure my shopaholic pre-teen daughter must long to have the kind of mother who hangs out in malls and carries handled shopping bags.


But what can I say? I guess the flourish skips some generations.


The funny thing is, I actually covered fashion a bit at the newspaper. This was quite hilarious, as I had about as much style as a four-square ball. I think my editor just didn’t have anyone else to turn to, so there I was – going to Eileen Fisher fashion shows and interviewing Marie Gray of St. John Knits. I arrived at the St. John interview, in fact (at Marie Gray’s multimillion-dollar ocean-view home, for cryin’ out loud) in a dress that I got for about $19.36 from T.J. Maxx. I’m not kidding. It was kind of a green-checkered Sara-Plain-and-Tall meets Laura Ingalls Wilder. (I even added black stockings for a Mae West kick.) I wasn’t even pregnant at the time, which was the usual excuse I used. Marie Gray – gracious as ever – didn’t say a word, although I’m sure she had some butler scurrying to hide the silverware.


Anyway, Marie humored me with an interview, and I managed to bang out an article with words like “A-line” and “bias-cut.” She ended up loving the article, so she probably figured there was such a thing as research.


And that was the beginning of my strange, short-lived fashion stint. As much as I hate to shop, I did love writing about fashion. The industry uses the most gorgeous words – “boucle,” “chiffon,” “tiered,” “empire” – all those foreign syllables rolling around on your tongue. And the colors have such personality: A dress isn’t yellow, for God’s sake, it’s jonquil or saffron or phosphine. A skirt isn’t pink, it’s begonia or fiesta or rose bengale. … I loved all that. I’d show up at the fashion shows in my knock-off jacket, but I’d swoon when I heard the words. …


Eventually, the fashion magazine morphed into a home-décor one, and I got to use some of the same great color-words, but not all the fun cuts and fabrics. My fashion experience was, once again, relegated to being dragged around shopping malls by my mother and daughter. (My daughter once said, when she was five, “I love the way the mall smells.” … Hmmm. Definitely skips a generation. …)


Anyway, now I just stick to mix-and-match basics, with a huge leaning toward black. I always wear solid colors because the margin for error is smaller. And I thank God I have a fashionable daughter, because I can quiz her when I’m feeling uncertain.


What about you? In what ways are you an ideal “girl”? Or do you have a confession about being an embarrassment to girldom, too?


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0 thoughts on “Girl Confession: I Hate to Shop

  1. I am not only missing the shopping gene, but I also do not like scrapbooking or decorating! Hope there’s not a “three strikes you’re out” law in girldom!

  2. 1. Tomboy as kid
    2. Man of the House as wife to first husband
    3. Trying to raise the ultimate girly girl
    4. Learn from shrink that you can only be husband if your husband has wife role.
    5. Go into therapy, learn to be wife
    6. Ditch husband
    7. I am proud, I am woman — finally
    8. Marry guy who fits husband role and settle into wife roll
    9. Love being a girl!

  3. I don’t think you’re as far out of the loop as you seem to think.

    To me, having to go to an Eileen Fisher fashion show and interview Marie Gray of St. John Knits (whoever they are) sounds about as fun as a root canal. Don’t even get me started on words like “boucle” or “chiffon.”

  4. No never have been embarrassed by my lack of “girly-girlness”
    But I don’t think I ever truly let my beautiful wife know how greatful I am that she is so down to earth. I love everything about her. I don’t care about her being girly girl or not because she is ALL WOMAN to me!

  5. I have 2 daughters and they both OD’d on the girly genes. My mother and sister have it in droves, so I think you are right, the girly gene must skip around like a hyperactive poodle. My oldest can pull together the most awesome outfits out of what seems like nothing. She tried modeling for a while but now is happily a wife and mommy but still causes grown men to walk into walls. I used to love walking behind her at the mall while she shopped with my sister (I was only there to pay) and watch her shop and I could pretend I was a girly girl, but it was only pretend. Now that she is out of the house and married, I hit the mall maybe once a year and I have to be taken kicking and screaming.

    But…I love to watch the fashion shows with my other daughter~! I am fascinated by the whole industry, sometimes a little repulsed, but for the most part I love it.

    Now, if only the gene would skip back to me for a little while to help me figure out how to blow dry my hair and apply make up. *sigh*

  6. Jeanne — Oh, no! A three strikes rule for girldom? Yes, let’s hope there’s no such thing!

    Dixie — Love the succinct summation of your “coming full circle.” So interesting what your shrink said!

    Texan Penny — A root canal, huh? So no malls for you? ; )

    Chris — I love you!

    Kat — Wow, you sound exactly like me, down to the uber-fashionable daughter! Mine’s 12, but I can tell I have many fun years ahead of admiring her from afar. (I always want to use the words “exotic” and “cosmopolitan” when I describe her.) But, like you, I’m fascinated by the industry, although I don’t feel particularly welcomed by it! ; )

  7. Kat – no kidding with your Holly-Holly-Hot-Tamale! She is gorgeous and classy without even trying. Not to mention incredibly intelligent and a ton of fun. Like mother, like daughter.

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