How to Become a Shopper
First try something else, anything else. The Peace Corps/Writing, The Peace Corps/Busking, The Peace Corps/Wwoofing. A Nap. Fail miserably. It is best if you fail at an early age—say nineteen. Early critical disillusionment is necessary so that at 20 you can buy a pink faux-fur chubby in Paris. Look aghast when your best friend’s mother tells you that the word chubby has another definition that does not mean cropped fur jacket. Let it hang in your closet for the next three years. By 21 you are starting (at last) to get a vague idea of what you can wear – anything backless, strapless, colorful, and what you cannot – shorts, gladiator sandals, rompers. Bemoan the loss of your imagined future filled with these gracefully draped silk onesies by buying one anyway, because of course it looks like that in the dressing room. Realize that dressing rooms are designed to make people look ugly and feel bad about themselves. Congratulate yourself on defeating a small not fully enclosed space by buying the ugly thing that it made you look bad in. Take it home and show it to your roommate. You are not at the point in age or friendships when women admit to noticing what their friends’ bodies look like. You will never be at this point. Rejoice. But not in the romper. Instead your roommate will purse her lips and say, “Can I see it from the back.” It’s more of a “from the front thing” you say, backing slowly out of the room. You return the romper. This is required pain and suffering. This is only for starters.
* This is a take on Lorrie Moore’s story “How To Become A Writer” from the collection Self Help.