Archive | shopping

Dubai I

People think of Dubai as the bling emirate, famous for flashy buildings, flashy cars, and flashy malls.  We went to the Dubai Mall on Black Friday, it seeming like the nationally appropriate thing to do, but unlike the malls of the United States, none of these stores had “SALE” signs in the windows: full-price central, that’s where we were.  And also unlike malls in the States, in this one, at 5:30, the call to prayer resounds through the entire place, the imam’s chants an odd counterpart to the expensive window displays.

We weren’t in the market for Pucci or Gucci…although I may have had a small moment inside the Laduree shop, just me and some salted caramel macaroons.  But there were no witnesses and besides, those macaroons ain’t talking.

Mostly we were in the mall until it was time to go to up to the viewing platform of the Burj Khalifa (buying a timed ticket in advance means you avoid the long ticket line)–some of us in the family have a real thing for tall buildings.

So we wandered around—went to a great book shop and to the aquarium, and listened to the boys fume about how much things cost. They’d each been given 50 dirhams (about 15 bucks) to spend during their time in Abu Dhabi and the mall gave them a hard lesson in international economics: toys that at K-Mart cost ten dollars were thirty at the mall; the souvenirs at the top of the Burj were gold-plated replicas of the tower—for 600dhr. Liam was furious. “This is a stupid over-priced mall,” he announced loudly as we searched for the exit.

We needed to find a taxi stand, which we figured wouldn’t be hard to do…and in fact taxis were easy to find. Once we escaped from the mall.

One exit led only to the VIP Taxi stand.  Not for us.  We marched back through the mall (a ten-minute walk) only to find ourselves in the underground parking lot. Back into the mall. Up the escalator, across to the other side of the mall, down the escalator. No exit.  Back into the mall, across in the other direction, down the escalator, up the escalator, into a hotel lobby, intending to exit through the hotel. Nope. Back into the mall, down the escalator to an elevator, outside—and finally, taxis! But not so easy – taxis aren’t allowed to stop at this end of the mall. Walk down the sidewalk, around the corner, back through a different part of the parking garage, across the driveway, join the crowd on the curb waiting for a cab.

It took us a half-hour to escape the mall.  Husband and I sang the chorus to “Hotel California” during the entire twenty-minute cab ride to the Spice Souk:  “Welcome to the Hotel California…you can check in any time you want, but you can never leave…”

Who even knew the Eagles had been to Dubai?

Continue Reading · on November 28, 2010 in shopping, Travel

There’s One Store Off My List

French Connection. Lower Broadway. Their version of a “holiday window,” I guess.

The female mannequin stands over a fan so that her skirt eternally blows up. The male mannequin embraces a punching bag. Both mannequins have moustaches.

Is it just me or do these windows make you want to walk faster–and in another direction from the store?

Continue Reading · on November 20, 2010 in NYC, shopping, street notes

Delicate Unmentionables, Mentioned

I love to shop for shoes. My feet have been about the same size for years, and they look nice naked. There are other shopping expeditions, however, that rank right up there with, I don’t know, paying bills or maybe cleaning the bathrooms—except that those tasks don’t carry the added fillip of humiliation and self-flagellation necessitated by…
bra shopping.

I put off bra shopping as long as I can – and I’ve never figured out how to shop for my “intimates” online – but last week I had no choice but to confront the ugly reality: the girls needed some serious cantilevering, Calatrava was nowhere to be found, and the state of my delicates were…unmentionable.

Off I went in search of foundation garments. Now, I refuse to add expensive insult to the overall indignity of bra shopping, so I don’t go to La Petite Coquette, or The Town Shoppe, or La Perla, or any of those places where four scraps of ribbon and a smattering of lace could set me back more than a hundred bucks. Instead, I go discount: Filene’s Basement (located disconcertingly on floors 4-6), Nordstrom Rack, or a little further west – Loehmann’s, TJ Maxx if I have to.  Shopping for bras always makes me nostalgic for the now long-defunct Lee Bauman’s, on 8th street, where the girls could get a decent fitting and the dressing rooms weren’t so small that you had to shimmy right up against your half-naked reflection.

Men don’t have to try on their underwear before they buy it, lucky dogs, but for women, shopping for a bra means unavoidable confrontation with…well, in my case, with my love of cookies eaten at night watching TV; my not-intense-enough exercise regimen; the aftermath of two pregnancies…and the inevitable downward descent of flesh as it approaches fifty. If things continue to erode at this rate, my ankles will awash in flesh by the time I’m 55.

And of course it is precisely this downward slippage that necessitates foundational garments. But wandering in the Nordstrom “intimates” section, I had to wonder: who decided that bras must be made of the same sort of material used in personal flotation devices? Racks and racks of bras—white, nude, brown, black, scarlet—all completely ready-molded, looking like rows and rows of Barbie boobs.  These spongy pre-formed cups have about as much to do with a female body as—well, Barbie.

Shopping for a bra takes time: wrestle the damn thing on, put a shirt back on to see if straps bind or seams show (what genius thought a seam going directly across the front of a bra was a good idea?), then off with the shirt, off with the bra, and on with the next.

It’s funny—ironic, actually—to spend so much time shopping for something I cannot wait to take off—and not in a hootchie-cootchie sort of “taking off.” Every woman I know has the same impulse: as soon as she can after getting home, whip that puppy off and OH! the joy of scratching the little pressure points caused by hooks and buckles and wires.

I wish I could say I found the perfect bra—the one that made me lose 15 pounds, be taller, and able to do a perfect headstand in yoga class.  But Nordstrom’s was out of  that particular style last week, alas.

But maybe I’m going about this bra shopping thing all wrong. Maybe if I did spend a hundred bucks on a piece of ribbon-threaded wire and some rosettes, I would be taller, thinner, headstandier. Or at least, maybe bra shopping would be more fun?

Nah. Because basically? the girls just don’t like to shop. They prefer to sit here with me on the couch, watching the cantilevered ladies of  “Mad Men,” and being grateful that the days of such armor-plated unmentionables are over.

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Continue Reading · on October 24, 2010 in Gender, me my own personal self, shopping

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