Sunday, August 28, 2011

Drink Your Way to the Top: A Career Girl's Guide to Success

I attended my first work party yesterday evening. Dressed to the nines and nervous as hell, I hit the open bar. Here, as a result of my experience, are things I learned last night while drinking with coworkers (all of my coworkers, by the way) for the first time. Read and learn, class.

1. Never chase the mariachi band.

2. If you're going to drunk dial someone, make sure it isn't your parents.

3. It's a good idea to pick up your floor-length dress before you walk by lit candles decorating the floor.

4. 24-hour Walgreens aren't really open all day and night. And the employees don't appreciate you trying to show your disapproval by body slamming the revolving door.

5. When you ask what you're about to drink and the bartender says, "I don't know," put it down.

6. Don't ask anyone to be your maid of honor. Or, at least, don't ask everyone.

7. They aren't midnight garbage men. They're hobos. And they aren't okay to talk to about career opportunities.

8.If your friend's boyfriend is kind enough to drive you home so that you don't pass out on the El, the proper thing to do is to swallow anything that might come up. Even if you have to do it repeatedly. Even if it tastes like a wet dog smells.

9. Your roommate doesn't have a twin. Neither does her friend. There are not two sets of twins sitting on your couch to greet you. You need help.

10. There is a magical fairy for young drunk women- known as Blackout Betty- who is responsible for stripping your clothes off, unstrapping your heels, making sure most of your vomit ends up in the sink or the toilet, and somehow getting you into bed without your knowledge- or even a vague recollection of how she did it. Some rumor that Blackout Betty is a myth- friends, I tell you- Blackout Betty worked her voodoo magic on me last night. Keep the faith. And make sure (via mass text- at 7am the next morning) that none of your poor roommates were actually the ones helping your nasty naked self into bed.

P.S. It's also not a good idea to ask your boss more than once if you can see his cat. He may not understand.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Longchamp and Circumstance

They're everywhere.

And they cost more than I ever saved up in allowance as a kid.

Longchamp bags.

Now, now, don't navigate away because you think I've gone soft and am blogging about purses. There's a genuine heart-fart behind my objection to these bags: 

They're made of puppy hide. 

Okay, they aren't, but my real point is coming. Since I first noticed these bags a few days ago, I can't stop seeing them- and, if you're in the city, you won't be able to, either. It seems that Chicago is a walking Longchamp advertisement. 

So what's my big issue? 

They're ugly. And expensive. And having one means you're fashionable.

My coworker graciously explained to me what owning these bags means after I pointed out that one of them had even infiltrated our workplace: " A Laaahng-shomp (now, read the title of the post again.... g'head......... aaaaand there it is) bag means you're in- everyone who's anyone has one. They're like the marker that you've made it in upper-middle class society."

Slight pause while I weep for my generation.

I just can't imagine spending upwards of a hundred dollars on something that defined nothing about me, that everyone else had, and that does the same job as a reusable shopping bag. On top of that, I've seen well-made, elegant, simple bags at reasonable prices everywhere- so why not go find one like it at Kohl's? God knows my mom wore bags like these in the nineties... when she was looking after four children and needed something nondescript that we wouldn't purposely set out to destroy.

In fact- another pause for interjection from recent facebook chat, when I asked a friend’s opinion about the upscale totes after showing her a picture-

-don't get me wrong. Longchamp actually makes some very lovely bags- but no one is carrying them. No, the ones out and about are the ones in muted colors with tan leather flaps. Thrilling. Now, if the bags I'd seen on the street had been colorful, or interesting, made unique by the wearer's touch, or, you know, balanced your checkbook for you or gave you sensual back massages nightly or could do a killer imitation of Tim Curry, great. I'd have no complaint whatsoever. More power to you. But the fact that something so basic and therefore so outrageously overpriced (in my book) makes me wonder: do we really like what we buy, or do we buy it because we think we should?

This question has been haunting me since I moved to the city. My tastes are changing. Things I used to like seem tacky to me now; things I used to make fun of are becoming more appealing to me. These Longchamp bags, though, stop me in my tracks. I understand that they're unnatractive- and sort of look like diaper bags. But the more I see them, the more I hear about them, the better they look to me.

So, I'm drawing the line.

I shop at Target (in fact, the majority of my wardrobe is from Target). I think TJ Maxx and Marshall's are incredible. I don't believe something is actually on clearance unless it's less than ten dollars- no matter what it is. I think it's INSANE that somebody thinks 248 dollars is a good deal on a blouse- no matter where it came from. I have buyer's remorse if I spend more than five dollars on a piece of jewelry. I paint my own nails because I think 40 dollars on a mani-pedi would be better spent on a night out with friends. I wax my own eyebrows and I've never paid more than thirty dollars for a pair of jeans. I don't think anything from a thrift store should cost more than what you'd spend on a value meal at McDonald's. I shop at the Dollar Tree- and I like it. And I can't believe that they sell six-packs of candles for only a dollar- I MEAN, COME. ON. SIX OF THEM. I am a bargain-binning, sale-seeking, cheap-ass lady- and I love my style. I love who I am- and no ugly, expensive, boring bag should make me question what I've taken so long to develop. From here on out, I’m taking off the giant face-masking sunglasses and standing proud at the clearance rack- because I’m proud that I get great deals on things that make me feel good.

So, while fighting the Longchamp invasion single-handedly by rocking my Payless shoes and my hand-me-down hobo-bag, I wish you the courage to wear what you really want to, regardless of the price tag.