last night i went to dinner (again - soon i am going to waddle like an overfed turkey if this keeps up). i have a bit of a double life - i keep one toe dipped in the world of finance and commodities - my guy's business - and so we often have to don suits (fab forties ones for me when i am not quite so "expanded") and entertain a table full of men. yep - these are almost always a table full of men and then me - sole representative of the finer sex. last night was no different - there i was - four men and me. invariably during the night, the conversation veers to this topic and that, and it often comes up that i also run a business dealing in vintage.
most men don't get it
there is always one guy at the table who promptly offers up his high school cast offs that he cannot fit into anymore, and that his wife harps on him to throw away. he offers it up to me with a strange mix of boyish charm........pride that he cleverly kept what he now knows must be valuable - the proof that someone actually wants someone else's old clothes is sitting right before him no? ........and a touch of bashfulness - after all, part of him knows that showing interest in this girlie stuff will surely garner him some serious man-bashing and giggles afterwards by his buddies.
i am then left in the awkward position to gently tell him that there is no way, under any circumstances, that I want his plaid button downs from 1983.
actually, i usually just respond like a bull in a china shop and tell him if his wife doesn't want his cast offs i certainly don't.
once that ice is broken i then get hit by a flurry of questions from the table
oddly they are always the same
1. what does vintage mean? how old is the stuff?
2. people really buy old clothes? serious? no really you are serious?
3. how much??????????
4. people really buy old clothes? serious? no really you are serious?
5. serious how much? your shitting me?
6. how old is this stuff again?
it's like dealing with small children. its the same questions in that same order every single time (every time) so i can easily slide into auto pilot and think about what i am going to order for dessert while i wait for them to catch up that yes people seriously do buy old clothes.
once they have gotten over that shock, they then offer up their wife's, girlfriends and sisters as possible clients and the conversation slowly goes elsewhere. done deal. over and out.
i use to worry about the reaction i would get in the "business" side of my life by letting people know i have a toe in the fashion world. you would be shocked at how non-fabulous non-fashion people can think it is and how non-serious they can take you. but i let that go a while ago. it's what i do and do well and is as much a business as any other. in fact, because i am solely e-commerce, it is, in some ways, far more cutting edge than then other side of my business life.
that's irony no? the business that sells the past is more cutting edge then the business most people take far more seriously.
so boys don't get it
but when they do, their automatic jabs and ribbing, smart-ass comments and silly bad jokes go away and are replaced by a look of respect. all business people respect someone who has built a business from scratch and made it successful even if a part of them is still asking themselves if people really buy old clothes. (really? seriously?)
they don't say a word then, but at some point later in the evening, with a predictability that i could probably make a buck or two on if i was a betting kind of girl, one of them will always reintroduce my vintage career to the table and ask with just a touch of wistfulness in his voice
why do you do anything else?
Labels: dinner with the boys