I Haven’t Gone Shopping Since 1997


Dear friends and family members,

I am writing to you all in order to solve that mystery that you’ve been wondering about for the past 15 years. That’s right: I’m about to tell you the secret of my existence.

I know you all think I’m some sort of magical unicorn because I manage to consistently and simultaneously do Four Seemingly Impossible Things: 1) make a living as a writer, 2) travel all over the place, 3) be 27, and 4) live in Manhattan. I must be a stripper on the side, right? Or I have a sugar daddy, or a burgeoning online business selling needlepoint throw pillows shaped like frogs, or maybe I’m David Foster Wallace in disguise? Well, folks, you guessed wrong. There’s a trick to my existence, and it’s this: I haven’t gone shopping since 1997.

It’s hard to believe, but it’s true. See the paint spot on these jeans? High school play, 1999. This shirt? My tiny yoga teacher used to wear it as a dress. This coat? My coworker’s ex gave it to her, she threw it out when they broke up because of the “bad vibes,” and I snagged that shit, vibes and all. That dress I wore to the annual work party? I also wore it to my eighth grade graduation, except with a way more awkward bra.

I don’t own a single pair of matching socks; just loners collated meticulously from my mom’s laundry room floor. I have shoes that are now more duct tape than they are shoe. And don’t even get me started on the “free box” from my freshman dorm at college — I’m still wearing ALL that shit. This hat? My brother’s. This sweater? My ex’s brother’s. This purse? My ex’s ex’s. Remember those pants you threw out? Got ‘em. Even my pajamas used to belong to my boss (don’t ask).

This confession should also serve as a response to any of y’all’s concerns about my remarkable/questionable (depending on where you live) “sense of style.” Sense of style?? I have nothing of the sort. I am simply a human garbage disposal for clothing and accessories. I am where fashion goes to die (or rather, to live on forever, with a growing constellation of microscopic moth-holes).

So there you have it. The next time I’m in Serbia or India or Dominica on a regular ol’ Wednesday, and you’re all “WTF is she doing and how is she paying her rent?! I better call ALL her siblings one after another and inquire/complain” (you know who you are), just ask yourself: how much money have YOU spent on clothes/shoes/bags/hats/coats/earrings in the past 15 years? I thought so. I, on the other hand, am still wearing a T-shirt I got in 1989 when the whole giant-shirt-plus-tiny-metallic-bike-shorts thing was “in.”

That’s all there is to it — the secret of my existence. So when you wonder how this here magical unicorn manages to do those Four Seemingly Impossible Things and still make ends meet, the answer is simple: I’m wearing your pants.

From Iceland with love,

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image – Empire Records