For me, the most jaw dropping division in this wide and varied country of ours comes not from politics, religion or race but from the gap between those who have heaps of money and those who don’t. Life couldn’t be more stupefying than what passes for normal on the pages of magazines like Vogue or Vanity Fair. Take, for example, the shopping wisdom of Stellene Volander. (“Bright Things/All Manner of Jewelry,” by Stellene Volander, Town&Country, Dec/Jan, 2016-7, pg. 127)
Her advice to men who are shopping for the women in their lives begins reasonably enough: Never give a woman an item she won’t use. Volander presumes a man knows a woman’s taste which, in my experience, is fantasy bordering on the whimsical. As proof, I have a drawer full of re-gifted perfumes from women who hated the scents they received and so passed them off to me. Knowing the sentiment behind each gift, I never throw the little bottles away, but I also never wear the perfumes they contain. Men should know that, for women, perfume is as personal as a tampon. Its magic depends on body temperature, skin texture and self-image. Take my advice, you well-intentioned fellows. Avoid the perfume counter for the same reason a chicken should never cross the road.
Diamonds, are a girl’s best friend, of course, and here, Volander deserves our attention. For example, she recommends rivières for the season. The type of stones doesn’t matter as long as they are diamonds, sapphires or rubies. If these choices strike you as too common, consider a set of emerald earrings owned by Catherine the Great. (Ibid pg. 130) And do remember to look at the setting. Does your special someone prefer white gold, yellow gold or silver?
Don’t know? I’m not surprised. Fortunately, Volander has a solution. Take your wife, friend or lover for a browse through a favorite jewelry store. If she starts to drool over a diamond studded tennis bracelet, give the sales clerk a wink and slip the item into your pocket. Warning: Volander assumes you understand the terms behind the wink. It presumes you are friends with the jeweler and have an account with the store. Otherwise, that wink as you drop diamonds into your pocket will get you a set of solid steel handcuffs to wear as you are led from the premises.
The simplest solution, of course, is to write your sweetie a check so she can shop for herself. Don’t worry how she spends the money. Says Volander, a woman can’t go astray with cash up to $10,000.