The Devil IS Prada II
If Hollywood can abuse the shit out of sequels*, then so can I.
*Did you know that they might make a Lethal Weapon 5. …Lethal Weapon 5. Seriously? C’mon now. What’s the tagline going to be? “Now We’re REALLY Too Old For This Shit”? “Senior Citizens Who Pack A Punch”? “Because Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker Let Us All Down With Rush Hour 3”? What’s going on here?
So, I went shopping last weekend. And amazingly, I am still alive.
I had a secret weapon this time around: my iPod. I put my headphones over the left ear and kept the right ear uncovered. This was perfect for drowning out the psudo-trendy beats and the choruses of “kawaii!” and “irrashaimase!”*, but still allowed me to converse with my wife. And listening to music also helped the time to fly by. The system isn’t perfect of course…
Wife: Hey, this is a pretty nice bag, what do you think?
Me: Oh I…keep hearin’ footsteps baby…in the dark…in the daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaark! Woo. …Oh, what? Sorry, were you saying something?
But it was an invaluable tool in keeping me in the game.
*That’s another thing I forgot to mention last time…quick cultural lesson, often times when you enter a store, the Japanese clerks will say “irrashaimase!” Kind of hard to translate, but roughly it means “Welcome!” That’s all well and good, but the problem is that in these fashion stores, it can be hard to keep track of who is weaving in and out of the store. To solve this problem, the clerks will just shout out “irrashaimase!” at 3-second intervals. This becomes particularly annoying when you’re standing right next to them and they just keep saying it! Goddamnit, you already welcomed me to this hell stop, stop doing it!
I also was able to properly give an opinion this time. With the music keeping my annoyance levels at bay, I could at least say “yes”, “no”, or “do you really want to look like Mrs. Potato Head?” I was also motivated by the chance to get my wife out of the potato sacks. She was looking for a dress to wear to a wedding reception later this month (why are there so many damn weddings this time of year? …Wait, my wedding is next month, shit!) and I pointed out a nice, form-fitting green dress. She gave her usual objections (“but, its not a stunning burlap sack!”) but I held fast and told her to at least try it on. She did, and she looked great. Even the store clerk came over to compliment her (which I’m sure she would have done for the burlap sacks…but hey, I’ll take the reinforcement wherever I can get it!). She bought the dress, thus expanding her non-farm-hand wear to…I dunno, maybe 3 or 4 items.
We found a couple of more outfits that looked good on her that we could both agree on. Having just bought the dress, she didn’t want to fork out more cash she didn’t particularly have. So that’s where I stepped up. My wife is actually the polar opposite of a golddigger, so when I offered to buy them for her, she was solidly against it. However I told her that she simply had no say in the matter – I was going to buy them, so the least she could do was wear them. Once she accepted this, she was very, very happy.
With a wedding coming up that I already can’t pay for, can I afford to be buying my wife clothes? No. It wasn’t bank-breaking, but it was a couple hundred bucks. It made her so happy though, and if I can’t make her happy, then what’s the point of getting married? Yes, there are other non-monetary ways to keep the spouse happy, but that was the there and then.
As I was paying for the clothes, the store clerk who had been helping out noticed that I was buying for my wife.
Clerk (To the wife): So, is this for some kind of occasion?
Her: This’ll be my birthday gift.
Me: …Her birthday’s not until April. This is a “just because” gift.
Clerk (full of envy): How nice! I’m so envious!
Me: She always says that I complain about her fashion without actually doing something about it…so here I am.
Clerk: That’s really nice of you.
Clerk: Yeah! Most guys just wait outside and look bored the whole time.
Her (looking surprised/defeated): Really?!
Me: …SEE! I TOLD YOU!
Clerk: Its not that often we get guys in here willing to help out like this. You’re a lucky woman.
Her: Well…yeah, I guess so.
Clerk (gives me a good look-over): I’m really envious.
The wife rewards my endurance by letting me go to an electronics store, and I end up buying Soul Calibur IV, which she lets me play for the rest of the day without complaint. I loved SC1 to death, but I fear that the game is becoming less serious with each installment. I mean, you’ve got this game set in medieval times featuring souls, swords…and Darth Vader. Yes, if you’ve ever wondered what the outcome would be if Darth Vader ever went up against a samurai or a knight, now you can find out.
So that evening my wife marveled at clothes that actually showed off her nice figure, and I spent my time force-choking little European women wearing short skirts and carrying holy shields and swords. Everybody wins.
I noticed a few people saying this in the comments, and I’d been thinking it myself – there should be a store dedicated to saving male shoppers. It would be an ordinary trendy department store or whatever – but right in the middle of it there’d be a sports bar. There’d be HDTV’s that played sports and had Playstations hooked up to them, along with pool tables, darts, etc. Guys could get those little black disks that they hand out at restaurants; when his girlfriend/wife/whatever female who dragged him finally made it to checkout, the black disk could light up and vibrate letting the guy know it was time to go. The guy could get one free beer for every hour his partner was in the store but hadn’t yet bought anything. Give me a department store like that…and I would happily go shopping. Every fuckin’ week.
Wife: Hey honey, what do you think of these pumps?
Me: …Bwaahaha stupid Lizardman, suffer the wrath of the Dark Side! …I’m sorry, what were you saying?
I’m only amazed that no one has thought of this sooner.
Finally, many of you expressed a small degree of disbelief when I said “I try to humor her by lying and saying it’s cute when really, I’m thinking about how this $400 dress would be great for keeping my gym shoes inside.” While I have been known to exaggerate to get my point across sometimes, I assure you that this was not one of my patented Black Man Lies™.
We stopped in a random store on the ground level of OPA, a fairly well-known and trendy department store. Its just a regular department store, we’re not talking Bloomberg level or anything. I found this lovely gem of a sweater…cardigan…rucksack…thingy.
…Yeah. I suppose its not that bad…if we were shopping for Bea Arthur. But hey, let’s take a closer look at the price tag, shall we?
Given that the current conversion rate is to the US dollar is about 109, JPY 47,250 = $433.
Japan’s expensive, folks. I assure you, I didn’t go hunting in all the ritzy places to find something that just happened to be $400 so I could take a picture of it. She went into some random, everyday store, I was standing near the rack, took a look at this sweater, and then looked at the price tag. Holy Jiminy Christmas, $433…FOR THAT?! Why, for 400 bones instead of this dingy looking carpet…um, I mean, trendy Japanese cardigan, I could buy…
— A new Playstation 3 (I’ve always wanted to play games in the bathroom)
— About 7 new video games
— *2* round trip tickets (not 1…2) to Korea
— 1 round trip ticket to Thailand
— 12.4 Thai whores
— That’s 10% of my half of the wedding costs
— That’s 20% of the new HDTV I’ve been wanting
So for those in Japan, or anyone who may be coming at some point in time, look around and find a trendy girl, regardless of whether she’s wearing potato sacks or mermaid-line skirts and knee-high boots. Keeping in mind that this ONE article of clothing, not even remotely close to anything high-class, costs $433, take a good long look at the fashion queen and try to think about how much money you’re looking at. Then come join me as I cry over my poverty.