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holy grail of handbags

in may of 2000, my copy of marie claire showed up in our mailbox and changed my life forever.

i exaggerate, but not by much.

the june issue (which i still own -- i kept that and one other; the rest were recycled) had a feature on four women of varying income levels and what they spent on fashion in a year. i was so inspired by this that i kept an excel spreadsheet for a year to chart my fashion and fashion-related purchases -- and was stoked to see that i spent considerably less than someone making roughly the same. mind you, the reason for this was simple. i was harder to fit.

one woman bought a hermes birkin. it was $5K and she had been waitlisted for two years. looking at the picture with older eyes, i think it must have been a 35cm (didn't look big enough to be a 40 cm) black togo with gold hardware. back then i thought it was ridiculous. $5K? 2-year wait? what kind of lunacy is that? and for a frumpy bag, no less. feh! ah, to be 25 again...

over the past few years i've reconsidered my stance on the birkin. now, that stance is I MUST HAVE ONE. it's just so classic. even bought a terrible light blue fake (so as to be ever so clearly fake) just to get more acquainted with the shape. there's an italian site that sells lovely well-made similarly styled bags for a tenth of the price, but i want the real deal. (i did almost buy one, but decided against it because it really did smack of replica. where i live, no one would know the difference, but so what? i would.) had a momentary passion for the jean paul gaultier shoulder birkin, but that faded when i realized just how hard to get that one would be -- plus it was a bit trendier and i couldn't justify that kind of cash for it. last night i was reading about the waiting list and i made a decision that i was going to get myself on that goddamned list for a 35cm black clemence with palladium hardware. if it takes years, fine, because it's going to take me a while to save up enough mad money to buy the damned thing.

i woke up this morning thinking i was crazy and i should never make impetuous, life-changing, expensive decisions while watching zoboomafoo.

last night, though, it wasn't all that surprising that i was thinking about it. on the way home, cam said he couldn't spend any more money until he got reimbursed from insurance. when i said i couldn't, either, he pointed out that he was the one who bought the car (the audi a3, by the way).

"i just bought a $30,000 car. i could have bought three birkins for that price!" he declared.

"then i demand you return the car for a $20,000 one and buy me a birkin," i retorted.

"sorry, sweetie," he said, laughing, "there's no cooling off period."

which then led to an interesting discussion of how new york has a cooling-off period of three days, but you don't take possession of the car until the end of that time. we wondered why pushy new yorkers would need protection from feeling pushed into large purchases until we considered that pushy new york car salesman would be very pushy indeed.


i don't know what i'll do, but i'll think of something. wait for serendipity. or the lotto. or for the desire to pass (it might, you never know). i just do know that if i do get one, i'd like the purchase to be made in my 30s or 40s. i don't want to get it when i'm at the age when younger folk look at me the way we now look at little white-haired guys driving sports cars. logic tells me that this is foolish -- jesu cristo, it's hermes, not juicy couture -- but i want to grow old with this bag, not be old when i get it.



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