Sunday, July 27, 2008

Branded

Right now I am in the midst of the second round of edits to my book, before Todd does the third round. Once he’s done with his edits I’ll begin “Agent Quest 2008.” I am an avid reader, and have this terrific list of excellently written books I am dying to read. The list contains Pulitzer winners, and other beautifully written books that really should be called “pieces of art” and not insulted by the mere mortal word “book.”

In May, just before I finished writing my own book, I was reading Jhumpa Lahiri’s new one called “Unaccustomed Earth” which is a collection of short stories about people who emigrated to the US from India. Of course, Lahiri is an impossibly gorgeous writer, and while reading this book I got very bummed out. While I enjoyed reading her work, it depressed me only because it was so beautifully written. As I turned each page I was simultaneously absorbed into her amazing descriptions, and depressed because I doubt I could ever write as well as she does.

I vowed at that point that I would only read trash until I was finished writing my own book. This way I could turn each page and say “Oh man, this writer is a hack. If this moron could get published then I will totally get published too.” As a result I’ve been reading a lot of chick lit. It would seem that each story I’ve been reading lately has been about some woman in her 20’s-30’s who lives in a major metropolitan area, her dating life is insane and she ends up dating a bunch of assholes until she finds Mr. Right in an unlikely place. Or she stumbles across her best friend’s husband cheating with some bimbo and almost ruins the relationship with the best friend because she has to tell her. But all these women are shopping junkies and they all drool over expensive shoes and handbags, specifically Jimmy Choos and Manolo Blahniks.

Now, I like shoes and all, in fact my mother in law started calling me “Imelda” due to my impressive shoe collection. But I honestly don’t think that I would recognize a pair of Choos or Blahniks, even if they bit me on the face. (Though I would be naturally suspicious of shoes that have teeth, I am not completely ignorant.) My girlfriends go bonkers over a Coach handbag, but I wouldn’t know one without the “Coach” logo on it or the word “Coach” that is stamped into the side of bag. The bags themselves don’t look like they’re such a big deal, yet so many women go crazy over them and spend hundreds of dollars on them. Everywhere I go I see women carrying these bags that say “Coach” on them, and I just don’t get the appeal. They don’t look like anything more than what I’ve seen in the handbag section at Target. What I also don’t get is why would someone pay hundreds of dollars for a handbag and have the “Coach” logo stitched all over it. Basically the people who carry these bags have just spent hundreds of dollars to be a walking billboard for the Coach company, right?

Maybe I need to surrender my membership card to the girl club, because there are a few certain things about being a girl that I don’t understand. I have one purse. It’s a black pleather backpack that I bought at Target for about $10. I will continue to carry this thing until it falls apart, and then I will buy another similar nondescript handbag, preferably in backpack form, so I can always keep my hands free. My last purse was a red cloth bag that I got for free for donating blood. It was an awesome bag that I carried around for a year until the lining on the inside disintegrated and my stuff on the inside got wet when it rained. Yet I hear of women who have purses for this outfit and that outfit, and I just don’t have the patience to bother with that stuff. I don’t think I could look at someone and know where they bought something like some women do. And you know what? I don’t think I actually care where someone bought what they are wearing.

Now this is supposed to be the closing paragraph where I am supposed to go on some rant about how shallow we are for caring about brand names when there are starving children in the world. But I am not going to do that. Just because I don’t care about something doesn’t mean that I should expect others to not care just because they take the time to read my blog. To each their own, right?

So why bother writing about it? Because I want to be enlightened. I am genuinely curious about why people are so interested in Coach handbags and why they are drawn to Manolo Blahnik shoes. Please tell me, what is the big deal?

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4 Comments:

Blogger Sara said...

Oh, I am the same way. I am physically incapable of buying a coach, and while I have more than one purse, not one of them cost more than $30. The purse I am using now was from Target. It was $10, and I visited it every week until it went on clearance for $6.99. I don't know if that makes me less of a woman or more of a cheapskate though. lol.

July 28, 2008 at 12:22 AM  
Blogger Heidi said...

Manolo's and Jimmy Choo shoes are cute, but good lord they are so friggin expensive!! I could never spend that much on a pair of shoes.

Now, I'll admit I've fallen into the Coach bandwagon (I still blame Paul for it) and yes, they aren't any different from those you buy at Target. I've never bought one full price, always at the outlet. The main reason I like them is because they are well made...the leather is smooth and soft and the stitching is strong so I know they'll last a long time. Some stuff from Target just looks cheap and sometimes I don't want that look. I do own a lot of Target bags and mostly use them for carrying stuff to school because they're going to get abused and beat up and I'd feel horrible if I ruined a Coach bag by dropping it in a puddle or something.

July 28, 2008 at 10:06 AM  
Blogger Beej said...

Sara--Yeah, I think for me it's more cheapskate than not being a girl too. I cannot justify hundreds of dollars on a purse. But I can justify it for a new pair of ski boots. But I don't think I'll be shopping on brand alone for those.

Heidi--I think I'll have to put a Coah bag next to a Target one to see if I can see a difference. I wonder if they'll object to me doing that at the Coach store. LOL.

July 28, 2008 at 10:57 AM  
Blogger *~*Cece*~* said...

Just like Heidi said, quality. I've got about 4 or 5 Coach bags & 1 wristlet I just got for my birthday. I've never paid full price for one either, outlet shopping only. Plust Mister has bought me the last few as xmas gifts when we go to Vegas in December. Guess who's getting a new purse in December??? lol

July 28, 2008 at 4:45 PM  

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