Wednesday, July 02, 2008

don't judge me but when i was in paris

i bought a hermès scarf. or is that an hermès scarf.

whatever.

the point is, i have been reading for years that if you are to have one, just one, genuine designer fashion accessoire (let's face it, most of us can't afford a genuine designer fashion item, ie frock, coat, etc) then it has to be a/n hermès scarf.

so, when the family were at eurodisney (why didn't i want to go, you ask? are you mad? i hate theme parks. i even hate luna park. apart from the scenic railway the rest. is. crap. bring back the giggle palace, i say) i set off to look at the designer stores. mostly from the outside. i did go into chanel to see if they had those trashy studs with diamante interlocking c's - they didn't. maybe just as well. i found them in chinatown in new york for $4 and haven't worn them because they are so gaudy and wannabe.

then after chanel i walked to hermès. it was quite a hike. i had been walking all over paris, which was lovely. it's lovely in the spring-time. it's lovely in autumn. paris is just lovely anytime. even winter with snow on the ground. the only time i haven't been in summer. i bet it's... lovely.

so, i get to hermès. i look in the window. i look at the display of scarves. i go in. there is a bun fight at the scarf counters. women pushing in to look. i find a space and when a snotty lady asks me if she can help me, i say yes, i would like to look at a scarf. i can't remember if i said je voudrais voir une... er... un... [pointing madly at the scarves] or whether i said it in english. i think i just said it in english. as she had probably spoken in english to me. this last time in paris, i didn't even really try to speak french. it was woeful after being in turkey where i was proficient. my french isn't terrible, after all i did do it in hsc and i can still conjugate a verb like you wouldn't believe. my sister, who is a francophile and vce french teacher, is still amazed by my ability to read french text and translate it into english. but that's the thing, i can do the words in written form; spoken is (as always) more difficile.

so, back to hermès. and back to the snotty saleslady. i asked if i could look at a traditional print. she showed me a couple, not looking at me, not smiling, kind of looking over the top of my head. there was absolutely rien de politesse. i asked her if i could see a geometric print. she showed me a couple. after about 6 scarves, i asked to see something with animals. i just didn't know what i wanted. she thought i wasn't going to buy. she wasn't looking at me. she was looking around me. and huffily pulling out scarves.

when she laid out a gorgeous print in browns and yellows of leopards, i said i'll take that one.

she looked at me, eyebrows up somewhere near her hairline. well, maybe i'm exaggerating with that, she wouldn't have been so déclassé to show her distaste and scepticism that overtly.

i ignored her complete about face, her fawning smile, her of course, madame, follow me, madame. all of a sudden i was a madame, whereas before i was some sort of gypsy mama who had wandered into the great shop, smelling of onions and alcohol, with an unseen visa gold card in her shabby pocket.

i related this story recently to my sister and her husband. when i got up to the part about the saleslady being rude and offhand with me, before me saying i would buy the fucking thing, my brother-in-law said i wouldn't have stayed, i would have walked out, that would have been worthy of a door slam. you need to understand my brother-in-law has a great story about a friend of his storming out of paterson's cake shop in prahran, trying to slam an unslammable door which is on one of those airy piston things, so that he had to go back into the shop, after the door had exhaled its gush of quiet air and say consider the door slammed!

but i wasn't going to storm out of this place. it wasn't a simple matter of my order of party pies and sausage rolls not being ready. this was hermès. this was paris. i wouldn't have gotten my lovely, leopardy, hermès scarf. all done up nicely in its orange box with a brown ribbon tied just so. i wouldn't have gotten the story. i wouldn't have gotten the satisfaction. i would have been just standing out there on the street, going all teary. instead i skipped away, enjoying my once in a lifetime feeling of walking through paris with the distinctive orange shopping bag.

what would you have done? would you have walked out?

9 comments:

Mex said...

i loved this story! i would totally have stayed but only if i knew i was going to purchase something (i wish).

Lula said...

Ha, great story!

Really, the story behind the scarf increases the value of the scarf itself.

What's Hermes without an air of attitude? ;)

Magical_M said...

I would have stayed, bought the scarf, waited until it was all packed up nicely and then given her that great line of Edina's in Ab Fab (where she gets snooty treatment in a boutique):

"you can drop the attitude - you only work in a shop"

And then I would have flounced out. Yes. You heard me. FLOUNCED.

jo_blue said...

Great story. I would have stayed, because I was there on a mission. You probably taught her a thing or two about not judging a book etc... even if it does smell of onions and alcohol.

magical m, love that line - and you do need to flounce after saying something like that.

Melba said...

i need to point at that i didn't smell of onions and alcohol. that was just poetic license, trying to create the general idea of gyspy mama.

just saying for those of you who haven't met me.

gullybogan said...

The Giggle Palace was ace. We shoul get Geoffrey Rush onto bringing it back.

Perseus said...

Oh, the Giggle Palace. I could spend hours on those slides after I ran out of money from riding The Big Dipper for hours.

BEVIS said...

I'm still gagging from your statement of hating theme parks.

HOW COULD YOU BE SO CRUEL TO ME?!?!

*storms out and lets door 'whoosh' slowly closed after me to underline my mood*

Melba said...

things that i loved about the giggle palace:

*the rolling bridges

*the turning barrel where us kids could only run or walk through but tough sharpies with their connie jackets, tight jeans and stack-heel laced shoes in two tones/moccas could stretch out into starfish shape and turn with the barrel.

* the mirrors that made you look really really skinny or really really fat.

* the slides with the hessian potato type bags.

it was such a den of fun in there.

i sense a bit of research and a nostalgia post coming up.