Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Wijvenweek/Shopping: How to be a Lady at a Bookstore
To see other wijvenweek blogs on shopping, (especially if you speak Flemish), please visit the Wijvenblogs page.
Today's topic is shopping.
I am one of those strange female creatures who hates to shop. I get no pleasure out of shoes, make-up, bargains, or the latest seasonal fashion.
I can be convinced to drum up a little enthusiasm for: Ikea, other quirky household type stores (but I rarely buy in either), and specialty food shops.
There is, however, a shopping experience I love: going to the bookstore.
So here is a primer on going to the bookstore in a ladylike fashion, since that's what we're all about this week:
1. Choose your outfit carefully. Make sure you are correct for the season. No white before Memorial Day, no capris in January, no Doc Martins in July.
In fact, leave the Doc Martins at home.
Just this once.
Hats, gloves and just the right touch of lipstick, powder and rouge can make or break the look. This should be about right:
Too formal, you say? Mais non! It is our job as women to look our best at all times. Anyone who knows me truly, knows I always follow this dictum. (Anno... shhhhhhhhh).
You might want to ditch the cigarette, however, as books and fire generally don't mix, and the length of the holder would be unwieldly and ash might fall on a book or three. And you still need a hat.
If you don't look like Audrey Hepburn, perhaps you should rethink your trip to the bookstore.
Well, at least you tried.
Now assuming you have the right look down, the next job is to select the proper venue for your outing.
I favor independent bookstores. Independent bookstores are unique and individual and aren't slaves to corporate favor. Some of the wonderful independent bookstores in Ann Arbor include Nicola's Books, Aunt Agatha's Mystery Bookstore, Crazy Wisdom, Shaman Drum, and Common Language Bookstore, among others.
The only trouble with independent bookstores is that they rarely have a tea room, and to have the proper outing, a tea room is de rigeur, because you might want to luncheon.
Ladies don't have lunch, they have luncheon.
Just ask Nancy Drew.
So once you have selected the proper outfit and the proper location, what should you do upon entering the bookstore?
Start by exploring all the aisles, pausing briefly in the finance and history sections to show that yes, women can be interested in such topics, too, but find your final destination in either cooking or fiction, preferably the romance section. Because, as we all know, those sections contain our true passions. If you're not actually a reader, and you decide to go on this outing as an experiment, you can certainly pick up a fashion magazine instead. All the best stores have media sections these days.
Choose a book or three (more would be awkward) and make your way to the tea room or cafe. Order some tea and crumpets. This order will mark you as a true lady. It's not quite enough for a luncheon, but it will allow you to have sustenance while not applying grease marks to your unpurchased books. For tea, the most ladylike choice would be a chamomile/lavendar blend. It's calming and good for the complexion.
If you insist on keeping the cigarette holder, and you still haven't been removed from the store, then order a single espresso - no crumpets. Remember, your sustenance is also an accessory.
Sip your tea, nibble on a crumpet, and allow your mind to embrace the writing within your chosen selections.
When you are done, spring to your feet and dash away from the table, leaving the books there in seeming forgetfulness. This allows you to have read the books without actually paying the authors, editors, publishers and agents (well maybe not publishers) who slaved and gave at least six months of their lives (and maybe years, in the case of the authors), to make sure that you can have this precious experience.
Walk gracefully through the double doors leading to the street (because all the really best bookstores have double doors) and take in a breath of fresh, springtime air.
In the words of our President: Mission Accomplished.
See you tomorrow for What's Cooking Wednesday and "Meals that Men Like".