Sunday, April 5, 2009

Nice pants

Buy one half, get the other half FREE!

I came to the horrific realization the other day that I’m one of those people who give more detail than you ever wanted to know.

More specifically, when it comes to clothes compliments or commentary, I’ll give you a full update on the item in question.

For example, tell me I have a nice shirt. Go on. Tell me. My response will likely be "Oh this? I got it for $10 at Old Navy."

My pants? "I picked them up in Sault Ste. Marie when I went to a friend’s wedding and realized I didn’t bring any casual clothes."

Why I feel compelled to tell people this is beyond me. I suppose part of me wishes to communicate my assets, such as savvy shopping, or my ability to cope in a strange town when a crisis arises.

For some reason, I can tell you the purchase price of almost every piece of my wardrobe. I can’t remember names for the life of me, but purchase price of a black t-shirt from Old Navy, versus the Purchase price of a black T-shirt for the Bay? ($11.50 v. $12.50 respectively).

And given the chance, I’m likely to drag my purchasing history into conversation. I don’t know why. It’s not like you can go pick up a pair of the same pants that "I bought on a whim… and they were only $10!" And it’s not like I want you to.

You don’t care where I bought something. You don’t care how much it cost. And you likely don’t care how long I spent shopping around for "Just the right belt… and a month later I finally found this one!"

But it just tumbles out of my mouth the moment someone says "Nice belt."

I suppose the appropriate response would be "Thanks." Sounds a bit short to me. Like I’m gloating over the fact that I have a nice belt… maybe nicer than any belt you may have.

My other subconscious tactic is to deride the article in question. "Oh this? My mom picked it up at the Sally-Ann for me. I’ve had it forever!" Or even worse…"The pockets wore out but see… I got my sewing machine out and mended up the pockets."

I imagine you can tell a lot about a person my how they react to a compliment on their clothes.

Nice pants.

Thanks. I got them at for 50% off. — I’m thrifty.

Oh these? I’ve had them forever. – Why haven’t you noticed before? Or,

Oh these? I got them at this exclusive sale my friend told me about — I’m a savvy shopper and have the connections to get great deals.

Oh these? I got them for $12 at the Mendocino clearance. The place was packed! — Aren’t I lucky?

Thank you. I like them too. — Of course they’re nice! Thank you for reaffirming my good taste, which was obvious to all.

Thanks. I like yours too! — I don’t want you to think I’m lording my good fashion over you. I want you to like me.

Mind you, I think I would be put off by someone who respond with a simple "thank you" and just let it hang I the air. Unless it’s the bride on her wedding day, simply accepting a compliment and letting it sit there seems completely self aggrandizing to me.

Perhaps my focus on adding more information about the item is to deflect some of the complement without being self-effacing. Or at east not directly. More often than not, my response can be translated to "Aren’t I thrifty? Aren’t I Lucky? Aren’t I resourceful? Aren’t I creative?"

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