Thursday, February 4, 2010

Poets Wear Prada

Are you a nifty Thrifty? Or a serious Spendthrift?

Researchers now believe it's a genetic trait and has nothing to do with virtue: how much we spend. Tightwads feel spending money is painful. We might just be hard-wired a certain way when it comes to our purchasing decisions.

In a study, when a subject saw an item he wanted it activated his nucleus accumbens. This area of the brain controls anticipating or experiencing pleasure. When he saw a price tag he didn't like, it activated the insula. This area of the brain reacts to unpleasant shocks.

One researcher's most surprising finding was that tightwads outnumbered spendthrifts 3 to 2.

Thrift is indeed considered to be a genetic trait, like shyness. You can veer from your natural-born tendency in certain situations yet you will not change your orientation dramatically or permanently. The same goes for spendthrifts.

Imagine: the thrift-versus-spendthrift debate hinges on the workings of the brain and could indeed be biological.

A New York Times article claimed if a person ate less, he'd have more money to spend on healthful food so the idea of thrift works in a different way here. I rarely set foot in a supermarket and buy mostly organic foods.

A friend has my husband picked out for me yet this guy isn't in my club because he has tons of credit card debt and this being part of his natural brain functioning and its chemistry I'd be unable to walk down the aisle with him: whether it's the produce aisle or the marriage aisle.

One thing: I'm not cheap by any means. I have an aversion to shopping at K-Mart and drop things off at the Salvation Army and quickly exit the thrift shop once I'm free of the donation bags. Though I haven't spent more than $150 on a single item and that was a leather jacket I bought for myself for Christmas in 1993.

This topic fascinates me to no end. I love to read articles about retailers and their sales figures at the holidays and their tactics to lure shoppers into stores to part with our money.

Poets Wear Prada is an imprint that publishes poetry chapbooks. I like that name because it implies you don't have to starve for your art and can make a profit from it. The written word can be an economic engine too. It's not a sign that you've sold out. You can wear a poet's shirt or silk either way and not feel guilty.


On the weekend a friend takes photos of me in outfits for the look book. The latest trend is for a person to brand herself to achieve recognition from others. This intrigues me and I'm going to see how I could do that.

First I dress in all the outfits that require pink lipstick and then I save the outfits for last that require red lipstick. One photo will show me wearing my eyeglasses that I give to the image consultant. I give her 10 photos and fill out the questionnaire and then she talks to me on the phone for a half hour and follows up with an e-mail listing where I can buy the items I want.

Wanted: a pair of white pants and a suggestion for where I can find a pair of jeans I'll look good in. Also: a list of vendors for pants that aren't low-rise. Perhaps an idea for what kinds of eyeglasses I'd look good in.

A friend commented that she liked my eyeglasses and were they a new pair because I'd told her before that I thought I looked ugly in the glasses. I told her they were the same pair I've had for five years. That is an extreme stance I have about these eyeglasses and I know this. Please forgive me I seem to have bought into the Dorothy Parker adage that "men don't make passes at girls who wear glasses."

Though of course people who wear glasses are considered intelligent. One of the Asian terror regime's leaders awhile back issued an edict for his soldiers to kill people who wore glasses because it signified they were members of the intellectual class. This is scary and I would tell you who did this only I'm not sure it could've been Pol Pot during the Khmer Rouge reign in Democratic Kampuchea.

Certainly then I should be proud of my right to wear eyeglasses in America. It doesn't matter if you look ugly when you're dead.

I'm going to sign off now because that's a strong statement to end with.


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