Who's Buying?

So I did something pretty cool the other day. What, you ask? I bought myself a purse!

“So what?” you may ask as you shake your head and squint your eyes. “Who cares? Why not write about something actually important?”

Because, I tell you, I insist, that this is important! (And no, this is not a cue to start playing “Material Girl”)

Over the years, I have accumulated many titles from fashion queen/diva/protégé to shopaholic to teeny bopper (I hope I’ve evolved from this one at least). To put it mildly, clothes have been an important part of my life.

And why shouldn’t they be? Choosing wearable art, forming a way to express myself like no other is an enjoyable hobby; finding the perfect gems to gloriously define my style occupies much of my time yet feels oh so satisfying when I find the perfect pair of jeans.

Whether we like it or not, our appearance somehow dictates who we are. How we choose to present ourselves, eclectic or impeccably matching, dreary or illuminated, provides others with a certain perception about our souls. In no way am I advocating judging a book by its cover, for lack of a better phrase, but yes, we have the ultimate power in the manner in which we choose to illustrate ourselves to the outside world and I assume full control of that.

This weekend I took a trip to Nordstrom’s with my mom. We started out in the show department where I immediately found a pair of multicolored high tops that I absolutely needed.

“You have thirty million pairs of shoes, I don’t think those are necessary.”

“But I need them to walk.”

My mom knows all my tricks. She knew I was going to persuade her until the magic plastic card floated out from her purse and the sneakers would be taken home, soon to forgotten under piles of flats and heels and boots. We stared at each other, each crossing our arms and I decided that battle was not worth fighting.

I moseyed on over to the accessories department and started looking at purses. Generally, I just tuck my wallet, phone, and lip-gloss into a few pockets and I’m ready to go out, however, I realize that in my epic move to New York my $7.99 Strand tote bag may not hold everything…

After selecting a black bag large enough for a Macbook, food, and perhaps a Chumash, I brought it over to the check –out counter and took my own debit card from my back pocket. Eagerly, I handed my lime green ticket to freedom to the salesperson, signed a receipt, and suddenly became the owner of a brand new designer purse. My mom laughed as I grinned, shopping bag in hand.

Later that evening a few friends stopped by my house. My parents dropped into our foyer just as we prepared to go out, “Did you see what Issa got today?” My purchase was proudly shown off to my friends.

“Who gave that to you?” I chuckled smugly and divulged the news. “Wait, it wasn’t a gift or anything?”

“And how much do you think it costs?” my mom prodded. My so-called bffer guessed $30, and then decided that was too generous, he would never pay that much. Seeing my mom so proud, kvelling some may say, of my accomplishment reinforced my satisfaction.

The point is, the rewarding feeling of buying yourself something you want, something you may not necessarily need, remains unmatchable. A combination of self-satisfaction and reassurance rushed to me as I indulged in my new purchase. Yes, I had earned this through hours of chasing kids and selling symphony tickets to obstinate ancianos. And while relaying on fifties from Daddy to fund our latest Urban Outfitter shopping sprees or lunches on the Mag Mile is all fun and easy, but buying our own way through feels so much more rewarding. Now if I could only afford that Parisian vacation I’ve been asking for…