There are two types of shoppers in this world – and I am the anti-social kind.
I don’t want to be rude about it, but when I’m on the hunt for sparkly new clothes, I get in and get out. No time for small talk.
The internet should be my sanctuary, but I’m a tactile kind of gal and I don’t like returning things. So every few months I take a deep breath and binge shop for the winter, or spring, or whichever season lies ahead.
Recently, for my pre-summer splurge, I ventured to my most favourite (slightly expensive) women’s clothing store to Pretty Woman the shit out of the place.
After circling the racks and reluctantly fielding small talk from three different sales assistants, I entered the fitting room with my arms full of sleeves and skirts, and a brisk optimism that these shiny new clothes would transform my life.
But when the super friendly sales assistant pulled the curtain closed, I turned towards the change room mirror to find there wasn’t one.
This anti-social shopper’s heart sank.
Everybody knows change room mirrors are for a) cursing the unflattering lighting and b) vainly calculating how much better sparkly clothes will look once you find yourself with shaved legs and a spray tan all at the same time.
These shallow equations can’t play out in a communal mirrored area. And yet this is where we increasingly find ourselves. Thanks Winona.
Despite this first world setback, I rallied and tried on the pretty clothes anyway.
Listen: Can you ever comment on someone else’s clothes? (Post continues after audio.)
Within seconds, the super friendly sales assistant re-appeared. She really loved the dress. In fact, she owns that dress too (not one of history’s great coincidences). And for the record, it looks really cute with the pair of wedges they have at the front of the store if I want to try them on too.
It was an ambush of comments and feelings. And they were all hers.
Overwhelmed, I retreated back to the change room for my next costume change. When I came out again I was pummelled by a running commentary on the print, and the cut, and anecdotal evidence of how easy the fabric is to wear.
A pattern was beginning to emerge (no clothes pun intended).
I know. What a horrid plight. A friendly stranger bearing compliments.
But somehow, without even asking for it, I had wound up with an overbearing sidekick and I wasn’t rapt about it.