Maybe I’m reading too much “chick lit” these days. That wouldn’t be a hard case to make. Staying up past my bedtime to finish the latest from Red Dress Ink has become more habit than guilty pleasure. (I will admit it’s not hard to do with a 10:30 bedtime. I treasure my beauty sleep.)
Did you see that? It’s further evidence that chick lit is taking over my brain. What’s beauty sleep, and why do I need it? I’m 23—far too young for wrinkles, but not old enough to be past acne. I never gave too much thought to my appearance until recent years. I think my attention to name brands and high heeled shoes began somewhere between reading The Devil Wears Prada and enrolling at the University of Alabama.
I know what you’re thinking—Tuscaloosa, Alabama, isn’t exactly New York or Los Angeles, or even Birmingham (our state’s largest city, which is incidentally more fashion forward than Yankees expect). Tuscaloosa may not be a fashion mecca, but the girls there would convince you otherwise.
Usually I blame it on the Greek community and the sorority girls that always seem dressed to kill. But the problem runs much deeper than that.
Look at Alicia. We’re both second year master’s students at the university. Alicia doesn’t have a Greek bone in her body, which is more than I can say for myself. (I briefly portrayed a sorority girl as an undergrad at Florida State. In my defense, the Greek community there is significantly more relaxed than at Alabama.)
Despite Alicia’s “independent” status, she’s a self-declared shoe horse. Maybe she exaggerates a bit—I’ve seen her closet and it’s not exactly overflowing. But she knows that shoes can make an outfit, and she refers to her favorite Italian shoe designer simply as Enzo—as in Angiolini.
So we’re not sporting the latest runway styles—like I said, this is Alabama, not New York. And if you want to know the truth, I’m almost strictly a Gap girl. We’ve got stores like Arden B and Bebe in Birmingham, but it’s not like I can afford them. (Did you miss that I’m a grad student? Hello, federal loans!) The Gap—outlet, that is—is more my speed. Besides, I’ve only got something like 99 points to accrue on my Gap card before I “earn” a $25 reward certificate.
Like I’ve said, I’ve been reading too much chick lit. Listen to me, rambling on about shopping when you probably don’t care a bit. (At least I didn’t bore you with the details of how I bought a killer pair of red slingbacks in Atlanta last week…)
So I’m not a fashion plate, though these Sophie Kinsella books have me thinking like one. I’m fairly fashionable most days, though I love sporting my hot pink Converse All Stars that I think lend me some sort of granola-like street cred.
I left the house this morning—er, afternoon—with those clumsy basketball shoes completing what can best be described as a grad student uniform. Those shoes are partially hidden by my paint splattered jeans (Gap, of course), which are paired with a black T from my favorite Tallahassee barbecue joint and a white long sleeved thermal shirt (also Gap). With my curly hair in a messy bun and my glasses lending an air of intelligence, I like to think I look the part of an introspective writer. (Or at least a cross between said writer and preppy college student.)
That’s the weird—yet appealing—thing about life as a journalist. There’s a creative element to the work. We’re wordsmiths, striving to communicate the latest information in an eloquent but straightforward manner. If we play our cards right, we get paid to review whatever tasty morsels of pop culture we’ve recently consumed.
On the flip side, we’re also business people. We dress up for interviews, and those of us on salary put in the 8-to-5 in bustling corporate buildings. It’s a strangely satisfying dichotomy.
Today I’m somewhere in between. I work two days a week as an intern at a local magazine—a job I love, despite no opportunity for advancement. It’s my second internship in as many semesters, and I just know deep down that they’ll prove helpful in the long run. I’m two months and three days from graduation, and my job hunt is in full swing.
Because I have gotten in the habit of viewing my life as a fluffy girl novel, I see the whole thing through rose colored glasses. (I even have such a pair of sunglasses in my sensible sedan!) Great things await, though I admit I don’t know what they are.
I suspect that one such thing may be seeing my name in print in my favorite mag du jour. I wrote something like three book reviews and two CD reviews, and the next issue has already been shipped to subscribers. If I knew how soon I’d have a copy in my hands, I’d be counting down the minutes.
Truth is, I never tire of seeing my name in print. I’m not sure if that’s a journalist trait or a me thing, but it’s true—not terribly modest, but very true. (I already rushed to the bookstore to see if their shipment had arrived less than 24 hours after it was sent. Optimistic, sure. But the crates of new magazines were still being unloaded. I have plans to check back in several hours.)
See, that’s another characteristic of these books I’ve seen rub off on me. My inner monologue has become terribly self-involved.
I don’t like to think I’m a selfish person, though I know it’s sometimes true. But I’ve been something of a loner lately. When it’s just me and my adoring (and adorable!) calico cat, it’s easy to see myself as the main character in some terribly mundane movie.
I ought to be more like the friendly Starbucks barista who just brought a venti ice water to accompany my grande latte. It was an act of kindness that would earn her a bit part in the movie of my life, at best. But her thoughtfulness and friendly conversation deserve more, don’t they? I suppose there’s consolation in knowing I’m just an extra in her life story.