Saturday, October 09, 2004

Shopping in the City

Another day in a new city, another light post. Won't tell you where I am just yet, suffice it to say that I was here when I was young fact, I was christened here (much good it did my dark, atheistic soul, but's a bit of history).

I've spent the day eating heart-attack-inducing food (they seem to think everything should either be fried or coated in fat and sugar here...just in case one needs to hand-plow a field after lunch and 3000 more calories might come in handy, no doubt) and shopping.

Shopping here is just like shopping in London, but cheaper and the people don't speak English. In fact, the language is very, very different. So different, that if Wheel of Fortune were translated over then 'buying a vowel' would be entirely futile - instead, the winner would be the person with the presence of mind to buy the 's' or the 'z'.

Shopping here is just like London (and the entire world) for another reason. Humanity doesn't seem to have grasped a certain important concept yet as it applies to women like me.

When I walk into a shoe store and ask if they have shoes in my size (think flippers). First, they look down at my feet to check that the number I said was correct. Now, let's think about this - would I REALLY lie about my shoe size? Would I REALLY be mistaken? What am I trying to do, surreptitiously sneak out of the store in shoes two sizes too big...and if I am, what the hell is it anyone's business why? Sell me the freakin' leather boats and count the profits, you buffoon.

Once they ascertain that I'm not on a covert operation to do something Highly Irregular, they usually take me over to a sad little display in the corner featuring everything your grandma ever 1932. Sometimes there are even slippers in a lovely turkish rug pattern for those hot nights out at the club.

They point out the 'lovely flat shoes'. I ask if they have any heels - the higher the better. Stilettos would be good. No matter the country, the reaction is the same, they look at me as if I've completely lost my mind. They ask to make sure...I want HEELS? I want to be TALLER?

Now, I may be 189cm, but that a sideshow freak does not make. I'm just tall - and actually, bar a few situations in life (airplanes, buses, trains, trams, small cars, buying jeans, buying shoes, dating insecure men, walking into historical buildings with low ceilings, sleeping in beds in Asia) it's actually pretty nice. It's handy to see over heads in crowds, when clothes DO fit they look nice, I'm not physically frail or afraid and when someone REALLY pisses me off, I can walk up very close, fold my arms and glare most effectively.

Thing is, I'm not so tall that a couple more inches would make me snag power lines on the street or keel over and kill people in a strong wind. Besides, am I supposed to wear flat shoes with a skirt? But no...the shoe industry has decided that I have quite enough height, thank you very much, and in fact I shouldn't have anything to emphasise these long legs of mine...there's...ummm....enough of them too.

I once resorted to buying shoes in a store for transvestites. I won't tell you the language I used when I paid a ridiculous amount for shoes with a bright pink feather boa around the ankle. I resorted to paying a small fortune for a pair of boots in Berlin the other day (yes, with heels - halleluljah) and still felt somewhat of a freak for the experience.

The other thing that seems to have passed commerce and industry by is the fact that women with cleavage would like to have, well, cleavage. What I mean by this is that women with little in the 'front' department have acres of lacy nothings to choose from that can push, mash, pull, mould, shape and otherwise convince their natural endowments to form a nice cleavage somewhere between the shoulder blades. If there's nothing to coerce, then the chest can simply be strapped on for the evening.

Why is it, then, that if there's something to sling in it has to be about as sexy as scaffolding? This, funnily enough, is only true for the better quality lingerie labels. The cheaper, last-about-a-minute labels don't have the same problem, they'll give you something that will push your chest up so high that you can't actually form whole words as your chin keeps hitting cleavage.

Ahh well. My apologies for the rant, will go away and write a post about this city. In the meantime - can anyone guess where I am?


***Ack - correction, 179cm, not 189 - so not that tall after all:)

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