Close up Hands Tea x

Sit a bit and hear some observational stories I’ve been steeping.

Nice Purse – Cheap Boots

Nice Purse copyIf you were to hold up two articles of clothing and asked me to identify which of the two was the more expensive/designer-label item… I’m not sure I could do it.  Maybe, if I were to inspect it really, really closely in order to determine which had better stitching or more luxurious fabric, I could have a fighting chance.  But, just glancing?  Nah.  Not a clue.  I never was that woman, although I’ve spent my life around plenty of them.  One of those women, was a seamstress in her youth (initially out of financial necessity, but ultimately because of a true passion for fashion) and she could tell you, from 50 paces, whether clothing was genuine couture or a knock-off.  She is one of the most fashionable women ever (think Catherine Deneuve), but she is also a bonafide “lady” who would never say anything disrespectful about another woman’s outfit.  In fact, she’ll compliment color, cut or, choose instead, to heed Thumper’s mother’s advice: saying nothing at all.

Not all women are cut from that cloth.

Recently, at a crowded public event, a woman I know quite well (oh, familiarity – they do say you breed contempt) made a remark about my outfit for anyone within earshot to hear: “You have a nice purse, but cheap boots.  That’s a shame.”


Back in the day, a comment like that would have made me immediately angry and defensive.  To be honest with you, my gut reaction was a bit defensive, but as politely and as appropriately as I could muster, I said, “Well, it’s what I could afford.”  I had to agree that the purse was nice, because… it IS really nice.  It was given to me a few years back and was stupidly expensive.  Please know, that I don’t care how much it originally cost either, I just consider it to be well-made, incredibly practical and awfully good-looking and I’m not ashamed to have it on my arm*.  I’m thrilled to own such a deliciously soft leather bag that is so roomy, I could probably practice battlefield medicine out of, since it is large enough to carry everything I might ever (truly: ever-ever) need.  I also had to agree with this woman that the purse was nice, because it was — after all — a gift from her.  Yes, the person who had just taken that moment in time, in that very crowded space, to comment on how nice my purse was… also chose to point out how cheap my boots were.  Are.  [They’re still lovingly tucked away in my closet, despite having been publicly humiliated just days earlier.]

FYI?  The boots were NOT cheap, despite the critique made of them.  Call me crazy, but I don’t consider anything that ate up a couple of days’ wages to be “cheap.”  To me, quality comes from a lot of places: necessity, pleasure and appreciation… just to name a few.

For example, let’s say I invite you to dinner.  Whether I treat you to a dinner marked “$$$” in the Zagat guide; make it in my own kitchen (having worked to afford and purchase the groceries for the ingredients to stand over the chopping block and stove for hours, on your behalf); or we share a pot of tea and close-to-the-expiration-date crackers: that time spent together is SO not cheap.  Not cheap, at all.  Working for anything by the sweat of one’s brow, the effort of one’s heart or expenditure of precious time… is never going to be considered cheap.  Not in my book/ledger.

While I can appreciate the value of material goods, it has never been in my nature to judge a person by how well-heeled (or not) they are.  You can wear the cutest $16.99 Payless ShoeSource shoes or boots [No, really – they’re on sale right now from November 4th-9th] and have a heart of gold, and I will consider you to be worth your weight in rubies.  I can expound on that, and make the reverse observation about triple digit footwear and feet that are part iron and clay… but it would just be a cheap shot.  And while I may the woman with a “nice purse and cheap boots,” I am still working really hard to stand my ground and be a person of some value.

Aesop (of the ancient fables of morals and character) was quoted as saying, “Outside show is a poor substitute for inner worth.”  Hmmm.  I’d like to believe that the fiber of my being will someday be valued to outweigh the fabric of my shoes.  Or… more accurately: my cheap boots.  All I know is that those puppies hold me up when people try to knock me down.  And, that makes them priceless.

Besides, talk is cheap.

xo – t.

“You know what you look like to me, with your good bag and your cheap shoes? You look like a rube. A well scrubbed, hustling rube with a little taste. Good nutrition’s given you some length of bone, but you’re not more than one generation from poor white trash, are you, Agent Starling?” – Hannibal Lecter

“Some people think luxury is the opposite of poverty.  It is not.  It is the opposite of vulgarity.” – Coco Chanel

Thou, O king, sawest, and behold a great image. This great image, whose brightness was excellent, stood before thee; and the form thereof was terrible.  This image’s head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass, his legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay. (Daniel 2:31-33)

*Lucky for me, also the qualifications of the Viking whose name I now share.

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