24 March 2009

March madness and Magic Knickers

It has been a day of deliveries!

First a special delivery from California, a pair of Vera Wang wedding shoes that I bought in a fit of madness off eBay. Thankfully, in the midst of my insanity I was shrewd. I choose the “Make me an Offer” option, and offered the seller the ridiculous and insulting price of $100. USD for a pair of brand new, gorgeous Vera Wang shoes!

After she stopped laughing, the seller wrote back, and suggested a compromise at $300. USD.  I laughed, and wrote: “$125. USD.” She wrote back and said, “$170. USD,” and with that, we were done. A bargain.

I don’t how or when I actually gave into to the “designer shoe temptation,” and I must confess some extreme disappointment with myself, and a wee sense of failure on my part. The shoes, for all the hoopla they inspire are actually, well, quite ordinary-looking, plain and uncomfortable. Much of a muchness, I think. Expensive lesson learned. 

Let’s hope I have more success with the second parcel of the day, fresh from John Lewis, my new favo(u)rite shop. The DEB has been dying to get me over to John Lewis in Solihull for weeks, and I don’t really know why I have resisted going.

We went over to Solihull on Sunday afternoon, after a late brunch, and we had a splendid day out browsing through John Lewis, followed by dinner and a movie. (I never managed to make that roast on Sunday, but that’s another story.)

So, John Lewis. Imagine all that is bright and beautiful about Target, Pottery Barn, Crate and Barrel, and Macy’s, take away the hordes of tourists and other spatial-challenged shoppers, and you have the English wonder that is John Lewis.

The DEB and I decided to have our Gift Registry at John Lewis, and I was happy enough to do the hunting and gathering online via www.johnlewis.com, but what an adventure I would have missed!

John Lewis has everything, and they are all about Customer Service. Yesterday, I began to panic about my first fitting at Eternal Bride in Warwick. Yes, it was meant to happen the first week of March, but, I chickened out and rescheduled to give myself more of a chance to tone up/get fit.

But, now, I’m ready, thanks to Trinny and Susannah! At John Lewis.com I discovered “Magic Knickers” created by none other than the Trinny & Susannah of “What Not to Wear" fame. (I used to love their show when it was BBC America.) I order them straightaway yesterday, and they were delivered to my doorstep in under 24 hours!

In this cute little box, with the ever-comic duo, T&S, camping it up on the cover, there is a device that promises to be the feminine fashion equivalent of Harry Potter’s “cloak of invisibility.” My new “Magic Tummy Flattener Thong” promises to make me look as if I have dropped a full dress size. We shall see. Lord knows, I deserve to look that good. I have worked hard enough!

Trinny & Susannah’s “Magic Knickers” will set you back more than a bob or two, a hefty £30. GBP to be exact, but the claim is that the results are worth it. For the more frugal, Marks and Spencer have created a rival product, rather unimaginatively called “Magic Pants.” (Rough about half the price of T&S’s brand.)  Who doesn’t deserve a bit of magic?

Speaking of knickers, pants, and the like, reminds me of the many joys and woes of “the common language” Yanks and Brits supposedly share. 

May I confess, here and now, that there are times, within full-length conversations that I have no idea what anyone is saying to me? That secretly, I have developed a very clever and highly-effective trick to navigate such moments: I smile, nod, laugh a little, and throw in an occasional “Yes, it is, isn’t it?” Then, as the Brits say, “Bob’s your uncle!” and no one has a clue, that I haven’t a clue as to what has just transpired. One must learn, however, to use this little trick judiciously, and where possible to avoid using the breathy laugh, “Yes, it is, isn’t it” response when someone has just informed you that their Granny has died.

Another linguistic “sticky wicket” for me has been asking for things. For example, for New Year’s Eve, the DEB and I attended a formal soiree, for which I had the most luscious gown to wear. (I have waxed lyrical about this dress in an earlier post, wherein I dubbed it “the Rita Hayworth dress”.) There was no way on earth I could wear this dress, low cut as it was, without what we Americans call “pasties.”

Pasties, pronounced in a way similar to how one would say “toothpaste,” are adhesive tabs applied to cover your nipples, in place of a bra. I searched high and low for “pasties” – no one had any idea what I was talking about. In one shop they looked at me as if I were quite, quite mad. Then, it dawned on me: same spelling, different pronunciation, entirely different word...

Pasties (pronounced like the word "past"): filled pastry cases, commonly associated with Cornwall, United Kingdom, made by placing the filling on a flat pastry shape, usually a circle, and folding it to wrap the filling, crimping the edge to form a seal.

A simple lesson to learn: In Britain, the devices that one uses to cover one’s nipples in lieu of not wearing a bra, are called, quite simply…“Nipple Covers.” Genius.

Slowly but surely one gets to grips with such fine tunings of the English language, and hopefully, it will become second nature that the First Floor is the Ground Floor, and that “Band-aids” are “Plasters.”

To be sure, the phenomenon works both ways. A while ago, the DEB & I had a meal with a fellow American and her British beau. At some point during the course of that very jovial evening, she and I revealed and shared a kinship with “Wednesday Addams”. She and I laughed hysterically. Our two Brit Boys smiled adoringly, and I think one of them may even have said something that sounded a little like, “Yes, it is, isn’t it?” We tried explain the significance, but really, it’s just one of those things.

A few days later, while out walking our beloved Lucy around a dark, grey, wet and rainy Barford, the DEB turned to me, and said: “Bit of a Tuesday Addams day today, isn’t it?” 


Anonymous said...

I love John Lewis! And I'm always telling people that it's like Macy's and Target all rolled into one, with a craft store thrown in for good measure!

My Americanisms that constantly get blank stares are when I refer to "MacGuyver-ing" something and when I say "Who's on first"--both draw blank stares and lead to me trying to explain the unexplainable.

Elizabeth Hatt said...

Pasties. haha! How I love them.

I recollect a conflict over the word 'pants' when I was in England. I was in a dance performance for my university dance society when they mentioned they wanted us to wear 'pants' on stage. I was relieved to think my legs would be covered. Yeah... they meant pants as in underwear. haha This tells the story better: