I’ve mentioned here before how I’m not the kind of person whose excessively fond of shopping. I don’t compulsively indulge in buying clothes or cosmetics; practically the only thing I like to spend on regularly, apart from travel (which is an experience rather than a thing) is books.
So, I was never overcome with horror at the prospect of not having money to spend when I stopped earning. Amit’s income would do for all the usual household things, and I had a small amount saved up which I could spend slowly on occasional indulgences. I thought it would last me a couple of years, and, supplemented by small freelance earnings and a couple of unforeseen windfalls, it did. My ‘occasional indulgences’ took the shape of splurging at the bookshops, a few expensive haircuts, a few gifts, and… a car.
I didn’t realise quite how careful I was being about these occasional indulgences until the prospect of earning a salary suddenly loomed in the foreseeable future. I was completely surprised to find myself planning all sorts of ways to spend my money. There was the holey pair of tennis shoes that needed replacing; the nice but outrageously expensive Nike trackpants I’d had my eye on for a good six months; any number of smart shirts and trousers I’d passed by regretfully in the shops from time to time; shoes, because I can’t possibly wear to office the nice but now somewhat ragged shoes I’ve been wearing to the park for months; gold earrings I’d been fantasizing about buying for the twins, to replace the only pair they had, which frequently came off and threatened to get irretrievably lost; shoes and clothes for Amit; and, if I could possibly find the time, a trip to a beauty salon for one of my annual exercises in masochism, a pedicure.
And, of course, a nice handbag. It’s been years since I bought myself a handbag. In recent years, I’ve been using handbags bought for me by others, including Amit. While I appreciate the thought behind gifting me a handbag, I really wish people wouldn’t. You can gift me clothes any day – I’ll wear almost anything; or books – I’ll read just about anything; but handbags are extremely personal. They say so much more about a person than just clothes or shoes do – at least, my handbags do. Besides, shopping for a handbag is such exquisite pleasure it even outweighs the joy of getting a haircut. It’s second only to buying books – and a close second at that. And it’s not something you can do every week, or even every month. A good handbag should last for years. So, by gifting me a handbag, you not only present me with something that might not be so ‘me’, but you also deny me the pleasure of shopping for one myself. Because, of course, if you gift it to me, I will use it. Of course I will, because I like you a lot, really, and I know you meant well.
So anyway, now that I’m going to be joining work, I think I deserve a new handbag. Only, I don’t know when I’m going to find time to go shop for it… or for all those other things. But, totally to my surprise, I’m really looking forward to all the shopping I have planned.