Shopping In Lockdown

24 Sep Shopping In Lockdown

First published in the NZ Woman’s Weekly 27.9.21


I was window shopping online in Lockdown when a realisation hit me just before I clicked “add to cart”. It wasn’t the pretty dress that I wanted to buy. (Though yes, that too – roses, 1950s style, what’s not to love?) The thing I really wanted delivered to my door was (ta da!) the opportunity to go out somewhere wonderful and be in a room where that dress belonged.

Frocking up is one of my very favourite things. Just thinking about what I might wear is calming – if I can’t sleep at night because I have a job the next day that scares me, one of the best ways to settle me down is to plan what I might wear for it.

Indeed, any time a doctor has told me I need to be admitted to hospital for a procedure, my first response is to go out and buy fancy new pyjamas. And yes, this is a diversionary tactic not a million miles from denial, but also it works a treat. I can be relatively sangfroid right up until the anaesthetist asks me to count backwards from a hundred simply because I’m looking forward to a few days in fetching sleepwear on the other side.

Part of my “I want to buy the party, not the party frock” epiphany was the shock of remembering that in Level 4 there were no parties to go to. Sure, I could I pop it on and do something with my hair other than spray more dry shampoo in it and then take a selfie and post it on social media, but there’s a special kind of “sad” about then spending the rest of day frocked up and alone. The Germans probably have a word for it. They certainly have a word for what probably happens next –“kummerspeck” which literally means “grief bacon” and refers to the weight you put on after a bout of emotional eating. I’m not saying sitting alone in your best dress eating a whole carton of feijoa ice cream is wrong, I’m just saying the Germans have a word for it.

If not a dress then, I thought, what about ordering something for a cheer-up that would be more appropriate for these times? All right, yes, track pants because that’s all I wear now and I only have two pairs and if you’re going to wear track pants when you’re not actually “at the track” they should at least be clean unless you’ve completely stopped caring.

And maybe, yes, how about ordering something for your face because despite all evidence to the contrary, you do care about how you look so maybe a serum that will bring back a youthful bloom so by the time you leave the house again people will say, “Gosh, you’re looking well” and not mean that as code for, “We see you’ve been at the grief bacon”.

So I “added to cart” a couple of pairs of trackies from one place, and a bottle of face oil from another and spent the next few days following the delivery progress via email and text, excited as a kid waiting for birthday treats. I can report the pants fit and the serum makes me feel optimistic – so much so I’ve now ordered the vintage style skater dress with roses because there will be a party one day and I want to be ready.