I had a ‘Pretty Women’ moment yesterday.
Having failed miserably at juggling the demands of motherhood, work, ridiculous spring temperatures and a husband who seems to become more emotionally needy by the year (here), I decided that I needed a reward at the weekend.
So to shift my hormone levels to a ‘thinking positive’ mood swing as well as put Saturday night’s hangover back to bed, I decided that some retail therapy might just do the trick.
I wish I could say that the old man gave me unlimited use of the credit card to buy rack upon rack of designer clothes, and when I went into the changing room I had lost 10kg and ten years and looked absolutely fabulous in all of them – but it wasn’t quite like that.
Nor have I found my own millionaire bit-on-the-side in the form of a Richard Gere sugar daddy replacement for the old man, whose sole aim in life is to spoil me for sexual favours.
(I’m thinking of him more in officer uniform here, Richard Gere that is, although privately I’ve always had my doubts that he would be able to lift me off the ground quite as easily as he did Deborah Winger, and obviously that is, before he lost his credibility as sex-on-legs with that awful mane of white hair).
No, it was because I dared to enter the hallowed floor of Designer wear in David Jones that I experienced my awkward Pretty Woman moment.
After two hours of trawling the shops aimlessly, trying on round after round of outfits that all looked terrible and feeling more than a little disgruntled that not one swimming costume made me look as slim as Elle McPherson, curiosity (or was it desperation?) got the better of me and I found myself on that elusive floor. I was like Charlie entering the Chocolate Factory, (which obviously would have been my first choice).
I’ve only been on that floor only once before, when I mistakenly thought that I could splash out on a Melbourne Cup dress there, did a shifty quick sneak at the first price tag I could find and scurried back down the escalator, the eyes of the sales assistants boring holes in my back.
I’ve suffered from ‘belonging’ issues ever since.
This time, though, I was in a ‘ready to take on the world mood’ – I’d just got through the week from hell and NO-ONE was going to mess with me.
So I sauntered confidently towards the first rack of gorgeous clothes.
You can tell that the clothes there are not for poor people because the atmosphere is very different ‘upstairs’. It’s like the retail version of heaven, where all women dream they’ll eventually end up, although many of the clothes are alarmed and chained so they’ve still got a few trust issues to work on. Everyone talks in hushed tones, conspiratorially.
More importantly, there are actual sales assistants there to help.
I say ‘sales assistants’, but what I really mean are ‘sales BITCHES’.
There are two types of sales bitch on the designer clothing floor. The young, Amazonian model type who sashays around her brand in her expensive clothes that she’s obviously had to give up food for to afford and has been given a huge discount to wear, and then there’s the silver-haired middle-aged woman with the rod-straight back who just fusses and who thinks she is related to Anna Wintour.
Even though she is a sales assistant.
Nevertheless (I consoled myself), I am middle-aged now, mature, more confident and fully embracing of everyone and so I dared to walk towards one of those middle-aged bee-atches who was stroking one of her designer’s dresses a little too possessively for comfort. She turned her head slowly around towards me as though she smelt me first, evidently in defence-mode in case some poor person thought they could afford one of HER dresses. Her face promptly froze the minute she took in my appearance. I watched her look me up and down slowly, and then turn back around to carry on with what she was doing.
To be honest, I didn’t think I looked that bad. Who dresses up to shop? I was wearing what I like to call my ‘Cape Cod meets the gym’ look – stripey tee shirt (admittedly it hadn’t quite kept its original shape in that hot wash), black shorts, Bali faux-Converse and a straw hat to hide the grease.
But to Sales Bitch, I obviously didn’t look like I could afford to be on that floor.
Now, that’s just not right, is it?
I remember a long time ago when I worked in interior decoration and a client came in one day and I must have spent a good three hours with her until eventually she ordered two rolls of border for her baby’s bedroom. I didn’t think much about it at the time, but I gave her the service I would have given any client in my role as the salesperson. I certainly didn’t judge her. That client came back when she bought a new house and ended up spending in excess of $150,000 on curtains.
That sales bitch will never know that I am actually Chris Hemsworth’s real wife and if it had not been for her shocking attitude, I might have bought the whole fucking Designer floor of those silly dresses that only look good on stick insects.
I may not have been the Prettiest Woman on that floor, but I still have feelings and shitloads of money to spend elsewhere.