After a lengthy afternoon on the beach the day before, I decided I was a bit too burnt to tan again. It would not be very intelligent of me to fry myself completely when I only had the slightest overexposure to the UV rays. My tan is coming along nicely, too, though it is incomparable to the other people here. They have the most beautiful skin, and it fills me with envy. I tan all right, but I’ve never gotten to the point where they seem to live their lives. How much time do they spend on the beach? My hour and a half a day must not be enough!
So, instead of frying, I decided to try and do a bit of relaxing, which I’ve told you before I’m just no good at. How do you do it? I like taking naps, and I’m quite good at spending hours on the Internet, but actually spending time relaxing is a foreign concept to me. How do you just sit down and watch a movie without doing a dozen other things? How do you spend the entire afternoon reading a book, and not just a few chapters here and there? Can people really just sit in their gardens, unconcerned about all the time they’re wasting? I tried, but I just can’t, so I got dressed and made my way to the shops.
Since it’s been about a thousand degrees every day, and I refuse to wear shorts, I decided to go to H&M and find some lighter shirts. The walk down there nearly ended in my death. I was dripping sweat in the most unpleasant way, so I fell into a Russian Orthodox Church and admired some golden icons for a while as my body calmed down. The church, like most of Europe, was not air conditioned, so the result was that I just sweated a bit slower.
Finding the courage to return to the heat, I made my way to H&M, leaping from one shadow to the next. It didn’t help any. To my complete shock, the shop was frigidly cold, and I was at once frozen to the core. My body went into shock. And then I looked around me and became annoyed instantly. There weren’t men’s clothing anywhere! All the sundresses you could buy and all the infant shoes you’d ever want, but nothing so much as a pair of pantaloons.
In a huff, I left the frigid shop and marched down the road, then my eye spotted another H&M. This amused me because it was like a Starbucks on every corner. When we were in San Francisco last month there literally was a Starbucks on either side of the street. You could stare into the other one from the counter as you ordered. I love that rampant commercialism. Ridiculous.
So, I went into the shop and my body went into shock for the second time, for this was an H&M devoted to men’s clothing! All around me was a well-organized store that carried all the shirts and pants and accessories that were shown on the website. I’ve never seen anything like it in my life! In all the other H&Ms I’ve been too, all I ever find is a MESS. They’re cluttered, covered in clothing fallen from their hangers, and stuffed to bursting with frenzied shoppers, and they never have a small or a medium in stock. It’s always extra-small or extra-large. Here, though, here in this wonderful store, this Mecca to affordable fashion, they had absolutely everything. And I died. I went to heaven a thousand times.
As I’m sure you’ve picked up on, my fashion muse is Harry Styles, and whilst I was pursuing the shop, I noticed that they were making an absurd number of Saint-Laurent knockoffs. This pleased me absurdly. I was able to recreate this outfit on a budget!
I found a leopard print shirt for twenty-five euros, not eight hundred dollars. I found faux-leather Chelsea boots for forty euros instead of one thousand dollars.
LOOK AT ME IN THIS TERRIBLY LIT PHOTO:
WE ARE TWINS…and soulmates. Twins who are also soulmates.
And I found a beautiful white shirt for ten instead of four hundred dollars. I looked like I was at the Bootsy Bellows Fourth of July Party! THIS IS HARRY, NOT ME:
I was living.
“YASSS!” I shouted at my reflection in the changing room, and then “WHAT ARE THOOOOSE!” I yelled gleefully at the boots on my feet. They’re a size and a half too small, but I’ve discovered that most shops in Europe don’t stock a size twelve.
This is an inconvenience, but I’ll squish my foot for fashion. Thoroughly content, I made my way to the counter to pay.
Purchases in hand, I made my way back into the heat and directly into the Galeries Lafayette to escape until the sun went down. I enjoyed looking at the clothes for sale, there were some truly hideous things available in the men’s department that my heart hungered for, but my wallet wasn’t quite willing to fork over four hundred euros for a silk Sandro shirt. I regret that.
Downstairs, I picked up a copy of Pierre Hermé’s new macaron cookbook and delightedly flipped through the pages while having dinner at a Turkish restaurant called Daar Djerba that I had been meaning to try since first spotting it.
They had wonderful mint tea in little metal pots and I am now obsessed with finding one for myself. I love mint tea! I think in a past life, in several past lives, mind you, I’ve lived in Egypt. Ancient Egypt of course, but recently, too. I have the oddest sense of comfort in Arabic shops and I long for a galabeya.
The cookbook is perfect, too, it’s an extension of his first book and has many recipes that I’ve been curious about for a long time, like his mandarin and olive oil macaron that I was obsessed with several years ago. I WILL BAKE THEM ALL!
Content and happy in a way that only shopping can make me, I hurried back home to prepare for the next day: I was having company.