And I wasn’t wearing them. New York being the fashion capital, this may not seem like news. Yet for a Rockaway bound-L train — beyond the Lorimer stop — it was indeed an odd sight.
In my neighborhood, the white girls don’t comb, brush or regularly wash their hair. Clean hair is so unusual in fact, that one day, held captive on an elevator, a girl behind me stuck her face in my dreadlocks, inhaled deeply and said, “Wow, they don’t even smell.” No sweetheart, stinky is not cute. You millennials can keep that. Oh, and put some makeup on, already.
Bushwick fashion includes tights and stockings with holes developed so meticulously that they snake their way all the way up the right thigh, with just one hole on the left for a smidge of symmetry. These hipsters are redefining style to their own tastes, which I respect. And I’ve even accepted that I’ll never understand their flea market shopping and combat boots worn with flowery, loose, yet belted dresses in the middle of summer. Actually, they wear those terrible boots with everything. The boots often look as if they’ve been worn through actual combat, not just the streets of Brooklyn. These hipsters do, however, carry the super colorful and super cute Cambridge Satchel bags in every color — including fluorescent pink (LOVE). Bushwick fashion is like a mix of the 1970’s hippies and 1980’s punk at the same time.
When I mentioned the red-soled-shoe sighting at one of our so-Bushwick bars that requires walking past a leaning, unpainted poultry shop that will allow you to walk in, pick a live chicken that they then kill, pluck and butcher, then hand to you, still warm, so you can take it home and cook it up for dinner that night, they didn’t believe me.
“I’m serious,” I huffed to my friends between sips of red wine on tap — another Bushwick experiment. Interesting, but I wish they’d get some Malbec by the bottle already.
They insisted the shoes must have been Payless knockoffs or those Miu Mius. I wouldn’t have been fooled by such! The Miu Miu shoes have pink bottoms and if I can’t tell the difference between Louboutins and Payless, I should be required to relinquish my Pink Platinum Fashionista card. Someone wearing their Loubies on the train though — it was hard to believe considering that just that a few years ago, it wasn’t safe to have white earbuds stuffed in your ears because thieves assumed they were attached to an iPhone 2.
Several weeks after the red soles spotting, I was again on the train, almost at my stop. I noticed a MAN sporting the exact same tote I talked about and coveted for five years before finally buying it in Paris this year. I had to think about yoga to remember how to breath. First of all, a MAN was carrying my bag. Not only that, his looked crisp, like he’d just walked out of the store with it. It was a gut punch. But you know what made it worse? He was ROCKING it. I mean killing it. Better than I could. It was the cut and color of the rest of his outfit, his slimness and his posture that made him pull it off so well.
I have no beef with men carrying purses. They usually carry bags that I wouldn’t be interested in having. There’s no risk of a sample sale fight over the last remaining handbag with a man. I thought. Now they’ve crossed the line. This man and I made eye contact. Suddenly, the two of us couldn’t wrench our eyes away from each other. Romance blossomed — between a girl, a boy and a bag.