Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Playing Catch up

We all have reading that piles up on us. First it's summer reading as a kid, then reading in college that you skim the night before, and then the adult version: the publication pile-up.

Right now I only get 2 magazines, Vogue and Vogue Knitting. The DK complains of the Economist or Foreign Affairs stacking up on his desk (snobs, the both of us). I used to get Glamour in Spanish but that subscription had run its course. It was always the month behind gringa Glamour, and really, once you know the Spanish words for thong, doggie-style, and lip-liner I feel the novelty had passed.

My roommate works with lots of publications, hence we have lots of them sitting around the house. This makes for extra pile-up reading, because now you feel the need to read things that you didn't know you needed to read. Like Mother Jones. Or The
New Republic.

[Sidenote: I refused to let myself be the kind of lady who writes about things I've read to show how interesting/well-read/globally connected/better than you I am. I understand that they have their audiences and I read blogs like that, but that's not my intent for this space be book report-ville.]

However, I read a really interesting article regarding the New York Times in The New Republic, and its abundance of luxury porn. And I have to say that I fall for it, in the New York Times, and elsewhere-- hook, line, and sinker.

Hello, My name is Katastrophe, and I am a luxury-porn addict.

I am a devour-er of all sorts of luxury porn. Note my shortlist of magazines. Sometimes I swindle co-workers into giving me Vanity Fair and Dwell. I have apartment therapy bookmarked at work AND at home so I can get my fill of design/apartment/modernist porn. I get Daily Candy DC because hell, of COURSE I want to know about where to get sleek French underthings and buttery soft handbags in the District and it's posher outlying suburbs. I watch Cribs and The Fabulous Life of...... . I troll the goss blogs. I hear Oprah says it's good being rich.

Luxury porn is everywhere, and I lap it up al fresco in a plastic bowl outside the fence of the cafe du you'll-never-have-a-Prada-dress-though-it's-been-a-life-goal-

I don't get paid a whole lot. I work a small-time gig. I won't buy wine that's more than $15.99. I go out to lunch maybe once a month. H&M is more how I roll. The most expensive handbag I ever purchased was $45 at Loehmanns because it's the closest thing to turquoise butteriness I could ever hope to afford.

I don't think I've ever had "rich" on a list of my aspirations. I'd like to not fret everytime I check my balance online, but I don't need to be wearing that Prada dress every day, and wouldn't appreciate it if I had a whole closet-full. Part of luxury porn is seducing you with and desensitizing you to wealth, price, and what you are worth. It's like I don't blink when I see how much dresses cost in Vogue, or bat an eye that a rapper with the word "Lil" before some sort of animal noise as a name makes more money that I ever will, and has the closet to show for it.

What the article had to say was that the New York Times wasn't always put in that position. People like me GET Vogue for the fashion-porn (and yikes, Dolce and Gabbana, your ads are porn-porn) and to step into actress's French mansions, Christian Louboutin stilettos, and Narciso Rodriguez gowns. Which is worse-- getting your luxury porn where you know you can find it, or turning to every day sources for fur scrunchies? (yes, they actually referred to them in said article).

Fur scrunchies? Shouldn't that send out the signal for collective vomiting throughout Manhattan?

But I digress. It made me wonder why I seek out luxury porn. I'd like to say it's because I am grooming my good taste for the future, when I can look at Vogue and then find a knock-off that isn't so knock-y--off-y. It's for ripping pages out and bringing them to Ikea, to H&M and to Target. But when I am faced with spending money, I balk at prices on clothing that Anna Wintour wouldn't blow her nose with.

I would say for someone my age, I live in luxury. I have a roof over my head that isn't my parents', a double bed with soft sheets, food in the fridge, clothes rattling in the dryer, some disposable income for booze and the occasional savings for some sandals. This is enough for me now, but I worry there will come a day where that won't do.

P.S. ha ha oooh the web statistics on site-meter are going to be HILARIOUS with the use of the word "porn" so frequently.

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