The white sweat jacket haunted me like an old boyfriend. I couldn’t stop imagining myself in it, walking barefoot and contemplative on the beach like my favourite picture of JFK Jr.
“It looks great on you,” a friend said when I modeled it for him.
“I have something similar in red.”
Shopping is really about enabling; you just need the right person to play devil’s advocate with your common sense.
“I’ll think about it.”
We thumbed through the sales rack as I budgeted the jacket in my head. I tried a plaid shirt on.
“That looks really good on you,” said a sales dude with a sexy French accent and body to match. My nipples got hard and I went a little weak in the knees.
“He’s right,” my friend said. “You should buy it.” I couldn’t tell if he was being honest or cozying up to Sales Dude
“I’ll think about it.”
Sales Dude followed me around the store. “What is there is to think about? That shirt looks good on you and it’s a great price.” Oh the French.
I’ve cut more sleeves off plaid shirts than you’ve had birthdays, I think. But if someone this hot was paying this much attention to me in this shirt, it had to look good.
“He’s right, you should buy it,” my friend said, cock blocking me. “And the jacket.”
Prudence said, “Put them back” but my dick was saying, “I’ll take it.”
“I’ll take it,” I said. This is why I don’t keep my credit card in my wallet.
The cashier smiled when she caught my friend and I looking at Sales Dude’s ass as he returned to the men’s section. If I smoked I would have lit a cigarette.
On our way out of the store I told my friend, “He liked me more because I bought something.”
“He just thinks you’re a bottom.”
A week later I was at Abercrombie in LA. A shirtless pubescent model was standing in the doorway. Looking at him made me feel lecherous and old but I couldn’t stop.
The store was cavernous and ventilated with cologne. All the male employees are proportioned the same and wearing the same plaid shirts. They were like checkered Children of the Corn.
The store was filled with gossiping teenage girls and gay men in their ’40s. The sales people chatted amongst themselves, ignoring the customers who did not look like themselves. I felt like I was at a circuit party.
Waiting to pay, a bale of flannel in my arms, I wondered if I wasn’t substituting love with clothes; that my shopping spree was merely a disguise for something I ultimately could not afford.