Thursday, March 17, 2005

You Don't Bring Me Flowers

"So, what are we doing today?" asked Daniel, as he snapped the black nylon smock and then secured it firmly around my neck.

"Well, this week I've been feeling like the nerdy misfit in highschool who asks the cheerleader to the prom. In short, a dork. I'm here because I know you'll be able to at least make me look a little less like one."

"Oh no!" Daniel exclaimed, "What happened that made you feel like a dork?"

So I told him, in broad strokes, about The Viking. There's nothing like the sincere yet transitory heartfelt sympathy you get from your hairdresser. They make you feel better by making you look better.

Shopping works, too.

You're not likely to see my version of the Mastercard commercial on TV any time soon, though:
"Brittania compote from Tiffany's, $195 U.S.
Sterling silver candlestick from Tiffany's, $425 U.S.
Giving either of them to your friend for her wedding: insanity!"
What is a compote, anyway? I mean, I know what it is, in the sense that this is what it looks like. But what is it for? Candlesticks I can comprehend, but at $425 U.S. for one — a single candlestick, not a pair, mind — it better have been made by Paul Revere.

It's not just the fact that to pay such a sum for such an item would, in my family, at least, be grounds for immediate commission to the loony bin; it's that... well, ok, actually, that's exactly what it is.

I've been examining Sara's bridal registries on the Tiffany's and Bloomingdale's Web sites, and while I do believe that the Web is a most wonderous thing, and that the functionality associated with the registering of, and purchasing from, gift registries online is exactly what the Internet was designed for (apologies to Al Gore), I decided that I would buy her a present the good old analog way, so that I could see and touch the item of beauty for which I'll exchange my hard-earned cash. After studying her registry and making a short list, I headed uptown to William Ashley this morning.

Sara has indicated her interest in some very lovely items. In addition to the compote and the candlestick, there's this crystal bowl from Tiffany's. It's $395. Can you imagine putting potato chips in it? Too pedestrian?

How about salad? Bean salad. Yeah, right. Speaking of salad, Sara has also chosen this sterling silver salad spoon and fork.

They cost $150. Each. I'm having difficulty conceptualizing this concept. In my wildest imagination I have never imagined such a thing existed in the wild. Nor have I ever conceived of (a) owning such a thing nor (2) wanting such a thing.

I'm disappointed that there is no photo available for an item called the "Elsa Peretti thumbprint dish." I am dying to see what a thumbprint dish is.

Sara is registered at Bloomingdale's for china and stemware. Now there's a word you never hear enough in conversation: "Could you set the table, please? The stemware is in the cupboard above the sink."

Her china pattern is called Murray Hill. Apparently this is the name of a neighbourhood in Manhattan. Where I come from, however, it's the name of a bus company.

I don't want to buy my friend Sara dishes for her wedding. I simply refuse. Every item on her registry is... dull. Dishes, dull as dishwater.

Oh, but wait: she's chosen a vase. Two, in fact. One on the Tiffany's registry, and one on the Bloomingdale's.

That's what I'm going to buy her.

This is not the first time I have chosen a vase as a wedding gift. I get very emotional about vases. My mother had quite a collection of them — some ugly, some beautiful, all interesting — and when she died, I gave one to each of her friends. I kept two for myself: the ones my father had bought her as Christmas presents when I was just a little girl. They had always been in our house, and almost thirty years later, they were there in my mother's. Now they're in mine.

A vase is the perfect wedding gift. A gift, as I wrote a few weeks ago, is a reflection of the gift-giver. When a friend like Sara gets married, I truly share her hopes for a long and happy life with her husband, and I hope that they'll never say, one to the other, you don't bring me flowers anymore.

This is the present I chose for my friend. It's Nachtmann crystal, the style is called Nova, and this is a vase that's big enough to hold a dozen red roses on Valentine's Day.

* * *

When Daniel was done blowing steam off my head with his 100,000 watt blow dryer, he handed me a hand mirror and said, "Voila!"

I looked into the mirror and saw a reasonably attractive woman, no longer 29, with shoulder length red hair, and bangs.

Good lord, I look just like Lana!

I wonder if anyone will ask us if we're sisters when we go to the Air Canada Centre on April 5. That's right, since The Viking turned me down, and Dave lives in Chicago, I invited Lana to the Duran Duran concert.

In the next story, Postmodern Sass sings a chorus of Working For The Weekend. Later, Sass and Lana groove to Duran Duran together, then go to the Banknote.