FaceOnFire: A Girl's Guide to Perimenopause

{September 16, 2011}   Missoni Madness

Yes, I’m late to the party on this one, but I needed three full days to recover from the trauma that was the Missoni for Target line’s opening day.

Call it retail therapy gone bad. Really bad.

It all started with a picture of a hat in a magazine. Not just any hat, but a gloriously retro, Studio 54-esque brown felt floppy number with a band bearing the signature Missoni chevron design. Oh, how I coveted that hat. I had visions of myself in my new, dark-wash Hot-After-40 jeans (see previous post) wearing an as-yet-undetermined top and sporting that fabulous flasback-to-the-70s hat. The magazine blurb tantalizingly announced the pending arrival of the Missoni for Target line, in stores on September 13.

So Tuesday morning, I threw caution to the smoggy L.A. wind and invented a not-too-lame excuse for skipping my standing Tuesday morning networking meeting (a girl’s gotta work, but not when Missoni’s at Target). Off to my friendly neighborhood Target store I went, dutifully arriving at 8:15, expecting to be one of the few early arrivals on a weekday morning.

A little aside – I’m the kind of gal who avoids Black Friday sales and does her Christmas shopping in August, only because there’s nothing I hate more than overflowing parking lots and masses of wild-eyed, frothing-at-the-mouth bargain hunters. Let’s just say that the parking lot at Target on Tuesday morning was the real-life embodiment of my worst nightmare. You’d think it was 9 p.m. on December 24.

Undaunted, I pulled into the first available parking stall, oh, about a mile from the store entrance. It was a veritable 5K race from the parking lot to the front door, run by women between the ages of 30 and 55 eyeing each other suspiciously and trying not too discreetly to beat everyone else inside.

The warehouse-huge store was void of human life except for the massive, writhing cluster of women surrounding a giant “Missoni for Target” sign in the women’s clothing section. From a distance, I saw chevron-patterned sweaters flying over a cacophony of excitable chatter. Like hyenas at the site of a kill, women pushed carts piled high with Missoni merchandise, circling the few racks of the Italian design house’s togs, waiting for scraps to be dropped or left behind. By the time I was able to elbow my way through the feeding frenzy, the racks were empty, like a carcass picked to the bone. The only thing left: a row of puke-green corduroy coats with a hot-pink lining. And yes, they were as unappetizing as they sound.

Overcome by a hormonal cocktail of frustration with an anger chaser, I did an about face and quick-timed it back to the car. Speeding along surface streets, I steered toward the next-closest Target, this one in a slightly less tony area than the first store.

Sure enough, there were a few more items left on the racks, but the cart-pushing Vultures in Lipstick were still a force to be reckoned with here. Besides the vomit-hued coats, the racks held one size medium miniskirt, a size large chevron-patterned clothing object (It’s a tunic! It’s a dress! No, wait – it’s just plain ugly!) and six black-and-white patterned t-shirts that would look good only if you were a mullet-haired 1980s dude with a mustache and  Sergio Valente man jeans. Really, Margherita?

What can I say. I felt defeated. Shoulders slumped, I headed to the pharma section to find contact lens solution. Pushing my cavernously empty shopping cart, I glimpsed hopefully at the handbag section on the way, hoping that a tote or wallet had been overlooked by the bargain-hunting packs of she-wolves. Nothing.

But right before I hit the greeting card section, something caused me to turn toward the right and that was when I saw it. Alone, on a near-scavenged Missoni accessories rack, was the hat. MY hat. Standing hungrily in front of the display, a Missoni Maniac in a tired velour jogging suit was blocking the display with her giant red shopping cart, picking over and examining all the Missoni wear she had presumably just grabbed off the rack by the armful and shoved into the cart. It was now or never. Abandoning my own pathetically empty cart, I reached over her with a bold, “Excuse me,” and grabbed the hat. She glared at me, adopting a fiercely protective stance over her cart, like a velour-clad mommy vulture hovering over her progeny.

Straight to the cash register I went, feeling like Charlie with his golden ticket.

The irony, dear reader, that I engaged in a bit of carrion-feeding behavior is not lost on me. Bargain shopping can bring out the worst in us, which is why I avoid it altogether. Was it worth it? I do love my hat, but next time the only place I’ll park is in front of the computer for the online site opening.


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