October 19, 2013

"I love to buy designer handbags. Every time I do, a good friend shows up wearing a new fake bag."

"She tells me she bought it in another state or some other crazy story. She is lying to my face and insulting my intelligence. What should I say?," a woman named Joy asks the NYT etiquette columnist Philip Galanes.

Here's my answer, written before reading what the Times guy said:

What should you say? Try speaking like a human being. One doesn't wear a bag, one carries a bag. She's not wearing her new fake bag any more than she's wearing her old fake friend, which is you, Joy, you fake old bag. Think about what makes less sense, her calling her bag Louis Vuitton, or you calling yourself Joy.

And here's what Galanes said:
I’d go with “Nice bag!” But I tend to feel sorry for people who tell (harmless) whoppers. If she felt better about herself, she probably wouldn’t need status items to prop herself up. (Not that there’s anything wrong with your bag collection.) If she really is a good friend, conspiring in a silly lie seems like a lesser evil than dueling over her insult to your intelligence. Or you could give her one of your authentic bags, so she learns the difference.
Who gave the better answer to Joy?
  
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50 comments:

pm317 said...

Joy should stick with other Joys.

Meade said...

Joy should tell her friend that knock-off bags are made by slave labor.

Ann Althouse said...

I'll bet Galanes's first draft did not contain the parenthetical "(Not that there’s anything wrong with your bag collection.)"

People like to talk about the bias in the NYT, but I'll bet the most transgressive thing the NYT is going to see "fit to print" is "If she felt better about herself, she probably wouldn’t need status items to prop herself up."

That hits them right in the handbag.

rhhardin said...

Pockets would be simpler.

Ann Althouse said...

There should be a packaged microwavable snack for women called Hot Handbags.

EDH said...

If Joy really wanted to be authentic, she should carry a douche bag.

betamax3000 said...

Joy Understands the Superiority of Real Status Over Fake Status. Fake Status is For the People Who Cannot Afford the Signifiers of Real Status. Joy Suspects Her Friend's Ring is Cubic Zirconia. Worse, Her Friend is Obviously Using Joy's Real Status to Upgrade her Fake Status. Woe is Joy.

pm317 said...

"If she felt better about herself, she probably wouldn’t need status items to prop herself up."

liberals know best about how everybody else should feel about themselves.

betamax3000 said...

When Hell Goes in a Hand Basket the Hand Baskest Had Best Be Gucci.

betamax3000 said...

You can't Make a Silk Purse out of a Sow's Ear, Unless You Have the Fashionable label Attached.

betamax3000 said...

When I Make Sweet Sweet Love to a Woman's Handbag the Interior Better Be Italian Silk: I Can Tell the Difference.

phx said...

Why go mean and angry? Not down with it.

St. George said...

I can't imagine the male equivalent of this story.

Ann Althouse said...

"Why go mean and angry? Not down with it."

Who are you talking about? Me or Joy or is this free-floating (incoherent) hostility?

Ann Althouse said...

"I can't imagine the male equivalent of this story."

Well, I'm sure someone here can. Let's try.

Inga said...

I have a knockoff Prada my son in law brought home from one of his many business trips to China. It's an excellent knockoff, but I hate it. It's heavy and cumbersome. I'd rather use my little Vera Bradley quilted cloth Hipster.

betamax3000 said...

Sports Jerseys: Retro 'Authentic' vs. Modern Polyester. Old Logos vs New, etc etc.

I Was Wearing My New York Cubans 1935 Home Jersey of the Negro National League when Bob Showed Up in that Arizona Diamondbacks Thing He Got at Foot Locker.

http://www.ebbets.com/category/Authentic-Flannel-Baseball-Jerseys

phx said...

Who are you talking about? Me or Joy or is this free-floating (incoherent) hostility?

Sorry, I meant your response. Granted Joy's inquiry showed a lot of hostility on her part. But she was asking for advise, and she's too easy a target for in-kind treatment. Better to accord her a little respect so that she might see what she's doing wrong imo.

SGT Ted said...

If you are judging your friends by what purse they carry, you aren't much of a friend.

It's obvious your sycophants... errrr "friends" feel the need to compete with you and impress you via a status based on money and one-upwomanship of what is ultimately a useless waste of money. Because that's what they perceive that you value.

betamax3000 said...

I Was Wearing My Led Zeppelin Concert Shirt I Bought on Their 1975 Tour When Bob Showed Up in the Knock-Off He Bought From the Online Hipster T-Shirt Site.

Inga said...

Of course I never called that knockoff Prada, a fake to it's face. :)

SGT Ted said...

The woman asking for advise is a snob.

One of the male equivalents would be the guy who buys an import bike that's supposed to look like a Harley trying to impress the Die Hard Harley dude down the street.

Firearms and cars would be other snob areas for males.

phx said...

If you are judging your friends by what purse they carry, you aren't much of a friend.

She seems to be judging her friend for lying to her rather. Isn't that trickier?

Inga said...

Phx, I think she's angry with her friend for showing her up, and with a knofckoff! She's miffed because she was dumb enough to pay exorbitant amounts for a bag, to get compliments from jealous friends, while her friend is getting her bag complimented on the cheap.

Kev said...

(the other kev)

Label obsession is a sign of deep-seated insecurity.

betamax3000 said...

I Was Wearing My Leather Motorcycle Jacket When Bob Showed Up in His. I Ride a Motorcycle, Bob Drives a Suburu.

elkh1 said...

Genuine designer bags: pricey

"give her one of your authentic bags, so she learns the difference": priceless

Genuine friends don't care about genuine/fake designer bags.

Inga said...

Knofckoff= German for knockoff.

gbarto said...

Joy should recognize the compliment she's being paid by a friend who would like to emulate her and her social set but lacks the means. If she has class, she will accept the compliment by keeping her mouth shut while doing her best to make her friend feel welcome among her friends, even if she lacks the means to buy authentic status symbols. Noblesse oblige.

phx said...

Inga you could be right and maybe you're probably right but that's still a lot of assumption you have to make to get there.

What if she genuinely didn't care about the bag - she was just pissed that her friend would lie to her about it? You'd like an incompetent advice columnist if you made an incorrect leap like that. Of course you or readers would probably never know but someone would.

phx said...

It's not usually a good personal policy to make negative assumptions about people for which there may be other explanations. It's intellectually lazy. Most of the time you may be right. But that smaller percentage of the time you got it wrong is probably going to be your undoing. Or maybe I'm just superstitious.

betamax3000 said...

At the Dylan Concert Bob Didn't Recognize the Song 'Isis' -- He Only Has a Greatest Hits Album. On CD. I Have "Desire" on Vinyl.

Inga said...

Phx, maybe she should ask herself why she isn't more sympathetic to the reason her friend felt she must lie. The world is full of mean petty people, and her friend happens to be friends with some of them. But then again, one could ask, why was the friend surrounding herself with such people? Perhaps better, kinder, less materialistic friends could be sought out?

Carl said...

"Tips for avoiding disapproval and deletion: Read the post and see what topics are raised. Address these topics. Express ideas and make good observations. Don't make any personal remarks."

phx said...

Inga yes I agree with you. Just to be clear I wasn't defending Joy, I just thought Althouse's response was over the top!

But Joy is undoubtedly the kind of "friend" most of us want to smack upside the head or worse.

Danno said...

I think an advice column (preferably on the Internet) might be Althouse's calling, after she retires or goes emeritus. I love her snarky vibe.

phx said...

Label obsession is a sign of deep-seated insecurity.

Yeah, but it's not the only one.

William said...

Has any man ever been attracted to a woman because of her handbag choice? But men who own expensive cars find them to be real nookie magnets. An expensive car puts the win back in Darwinian struggle. A man can own no better phallic symbol.....A handbag is obviously some kind of womb symbol, but I just don't see how an expensive womb gives a woman an evolutionary edge.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

I am never going to understand the designer handbag thing. For me, a handbag is a device for carrying small items around with you. It's reasonable to want one whose appearance you like, and is inexpensive. Knockoffs are probably not the way to get there, because there must be at least some premium attached to the price of an item even pretending to be Gucci, as opposed to an equally attractive bag not pretending to be anything.

I used a Briggs & Riley camera bag as a purse for years. I finally retired it, not because I disliked the look of it or because it fell apart (all their stuff comes with a lifetime guarantee), but because the strong magnets in the clasp seemed to be setting off security gates in grocery stores and chain bookstores half the times I went into one. I don't like having to cringe waiting for the alarm whenever I enter or leave a business.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

There was a news story a month or two back about a Hong Kong pawn shop that specialized in giving rich women short-term loans on their designer bags. (I don't know how I came to read it; likely as not I read it because Our Blogress blogged about it, but I can't recall.) It's just insanity to me that anyone would have sufficiently much money tied up in a bag to make it worth pawning.

Broomhandle said...

I chose the unwritten seventh option. The one that says they're all laughably shallow self-involved tools. Not being snotty, just stating the obvious.

carrie said...

Joy should buy a fake handbag, tell her friends it's real and then give the money she saved by buying a fake instead and outrageously overpriced real handbag to charity. That would be the way that a real liberal would handle it (that last was said using my sarcasm font).

carrie said...

Joy should buy a fake handbag, tell her friends it's real and then give the money she saved by buying a fake instead and outrageously overpriced real handbag to charity. That would be the way that a real liberal would handle it (that last was said using my sarcasm font).

cassandra lite said...

Brava, madame!

Robert Cook said...

"Joy should tell her friend that knock-off bags are made by slave labor."

Probably in the same sweatshops as the "actual" designer bags!

Joy sounds like a preening, superior, status-seeking jerk. She is offended that her friend feels comfortable buying knockoffs, presumably undercutting the status value of her own (Joy's) genuine designer bags.

Shit, lady, they're just bags you're going to fill up with your shit. Who cares?

Robert Cook said...

Of course, commodity fetishism is a disease of capitalism.

Freeman Hunt said...

I wonder what anewer Joy expected.

"Tell your cheap friends that their faux bags aren't fooling anyone, especially not a discerning designer bag collector like yourself. You can try being subtle. You could say, 'Out of town? You were in China?" Or just laugh like you think they're kidding. 'Ha ha. Yes, as if anyone would think that was a real FuFaunt.' Once you let them know you're onto their fakery, good taste dictates they'll keep their sorry sacks out of sight."

Peter said...

It seems quite possible that Joy's friend really doesn't know she has a fake. And therefore she's not lying to her friend. In which case Joy's failing as a friend is in assuming the worst, when there are other plausible explanations.


As for how to handle it- if she thinks the friend should be protected from paying too much for knockoffs, she could find an inoffensive way to let her know that it's fake. She might tell a story about an encounter with a street seller with an arm full of "Rolexes" and how, even though these were good knockoffs, someone with an eye for such things could easily spot them as fakes.

But she probably should just ignore it (while assuming the best of her friend). For even if she is fascinated with Name Brand handbags, most people just aren't all that interested. And therefore she'll come across as a pretentious bore if she starts to go on and on about all the ways (subtle and otherwise) that fakes differ from the real thing.

sanam arzoo said...

Not all Hazard guess handbags mortal personalization on the fastening pulls. Also, the brand "Speculation by Prizefighter" is the upscale edition so your mark on image two is inaccurate. Eventually, coating in the bags would never be leather - just material or satin.Thanks for protecting the brand!!!

Jackson said...

I have already spent a lot this month but i can not control myself when i find Cheap Clothing Online. I bought many dresses and handbags all are pretty. Loved my shopping.