Before we begin, a couple of definitions–especially for the men in the group.
1. Magnificent Mile = Chicago’s Michigan Ave. It is one mile of high end retail shops. And I mean HIGH end–as in Rodeo Drive high end.
2. Flag Ship= Prototypical, the one after which all else are modeled. Uber expensive.
3. J. Crew Flag Ship store= a place you only shop if you live near number one, weigh under 120 lbs and stand at least 65 inches tall.
My husband could not have been more out of place.
We arrived in Chicago last Friday afternoon for a Saturday evening wedding. In the chaos of packing literally 10 minutes before we had to leave for the airport, I managed to pack three potential dresses for the wedding, 3 pairs of stilettos in different colors and shapes, several jewelry options, and exactly NOTHING for the rehearsal dinner the night before.
My long sleeve Gap t-shirt and beat-up Dansko clogs seemed terribly inadequate so I did what I love to do—emergency shop.
Right outside The Drake–a glamorous and grand hotel of eras long past, was shopping to make your mouth water–ok my mouth. Anyway, I had exactly one hour to find, purchase, and change into an outfit before the dinner so I decided J. Crew would give me the best shot at “Urban Chic” in a flash.
With a keen eye I buzzed around the store. My plan was to wear my jeans, and just spruce them up a bit. As time ticked, I hastily checked sizes and pulled things off of shelves. Fifteen minutes later I had gorgeous cheetah print platform shoes, a white cotton button down, a school boy blazer, a necklace and a headband.
I dumped my stuff proudly on the counter and took out my Visa tapping it impatiently as the girl carefully folded and wrapped each item in tissue. C’mon! I’m actually going to put that stuff on in the bathroom, don’t waste tissue OR my time!
It turns out, that in my hasty shopping, I failed to look at a single price tag.
I did not care that I was shrieking in a high pitched psycho kind of tone. I did not care that there were seven people in line behind me (I would never see a single one of them again.)
Systematically, I made the sales girl unwrap item after item and take it off the bill. Naturally I started with the least essential—head band and necklaces only brought the total down to $750.
In the end, after the carnage of tissue, the disgusted sales girl, and a pile of almost-mine items was cleared, I was left with a jacket and a blouse. My true heartbreak came over the shoes—$398. I did not stand a chance of remaining married if I did not put them back.
Back at the hotel, Chris was standing in front of the mirror adjusting his sports jacket–the one he got when we interviewed for residency in 1999. I was already in a foul mood at the loves I had just lost.
“Hey There!” He is so damn happy–all the time.
“Hey.” I grumbled. In that one growled word I was saying: “I-just-think-it-is-ridiculous-that-I-work-as-hard-as-I-do-and-never-spend-excessively-on-anything-and-the-kids-are-going-to-have-enough-money-to-go-to-college-three-times-each-when-Sam-might-not-go-at-all-and-we-will-have-enough-money-to-live-after-retirement-until-we-are-both-99-and-I-know-for-a-fact-you-won’t-live-that-long-and-you-now-drive-a-pick-up-truck–a-Chevy-no less–and-I-can’t-even-buy-one-lousy-city-slicker-outfit-without-YOU-making-me-feel-guilty-about-it.”
Apparently, in my silent tirade, I missed something he said.
“I said,” he sort of is yelling–as much as Chris yells–”I got a compliment on my jacket just now.”
Now I was really pissed. YOU got a compliment, in Chicago, on Michigan Ave. wearing THAT jacket?
“Yep.” He is so freakin’ cocky sometimes.
“A very nice gentleman said ‘Nice Jacket, young man,’ as I strolled by—and that was BEFORE I put a $5 in his cup.”
Great. Just great. To sum up the evening, I went to this uber cool dinner in half of an uber cool outfit with my uber uncool husband who apparently has the same taste in clothes as a homeless guy.
It’s good to be home.