Sunday, August 21, 2011

Shopping Spree

Oh goody, fall catalogs…and what they represent.
They promise that the neighborhood’s bored and whiny children will soon be locked in a brick building beneath a fluttering American flag.
No, not Guantanamo Bay. School.
Fall catalogs prophesy a day when I will smell like vanilla berry body wash for longer than the five minutes it takes to work up a sweat drying off after a daily shower in August.
            Smiling models and the promise of free shipping entice me to open a clothing catalog, which tempts me with soothing phrases like wrinkle-resistant, complete comfort, silhouette slimming, and s-t-r-e-t-c-h.
It occurs to me that if I need s-t-r-e-t-c-h, I probably shouldn’t wear it.
            I cover the faces of the models so as not to be deluded by their beauty. How does the $29.99 denim heather fleece set look without the flawless skin, button nose, and sparkling blue eyes above the neckline? 
          With my head there, will it look like the gray sweat suit I wore four decades ago in the Park Ridge High School gym?
            Even the euphemistically labeled full-figure models have sleek, fat hair tossed casually over their voluptuous shoulders. My shoulders are bony, all the padding having migrated to the region between my navel and my knees.
            And where are these women, anyway? 
            Page One, wearing the amethyst sweater and pearl slacks, smiles in front of an oil painting at a gallery. 
            An artistically blurred field of flowers behind Page Twenty-three matches her orange spice turtleneck, and sunlight glints off her artificially whitened teeth. 
          Page Twenty-six grins from a porch swing in her mint jammies.
I just want to know how the cocoa jacket (machine wash/dry) on page 51 will look when I’m pumping gas in a cold drizzle come November.
            Carefully crafted advertising slogans challenge real life experience:
These styles move easily from day to evening! But I don’t. Not without a nap.
Surround yourself in softness! Last time I tried that, the kids had to pull me out of a faux fur beanbag chair.
Split skirt is back! Yeah? On whose planet?
Weekend comfort—seven days a week! Not unless I lose my job.
            What’s this? Forgiving fit, perfect prices! My resistance crumbles. I must buy a new fall wardrobe.
            I toss the models on the recycling pile and grab my car keys. Salvation Army store, here I come!

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