This is the explanation for the rare event that occurred today: I went clothes shopping. Dutiful grand-daughter that I am, I spent this morning visiting TKMaxx and HM and Marks & Spenser and New Look and BHS and Shoe Factory and Shoe Zone and Top Shop and Dorothy Perkins and Internaçionale and Evans and Bon Marché and Primark and probably a few more that I've forgotten. I did not buy one single CD or book, and I did not even set foot in any charity shops. (I didn't even manage to get a 2005 calendar, since the kinds of shops that sell them mostly do not sell clothes.)
Solid, square-ish black laceup shoes with a sole that looks like it's made out of a car tire. Two of those lacy woollen shawls which are fashionable at the moment and which I rather like, one white and one dark green. A black and white horizontal striped poncho. A long t-shirt sort of nightie, pale blue with a stroky design sewn on. A grey-green zip-up fleece top. A jumper with blurry bands of pinkish, purplish and reddish colours designed to look hand-dyed. A dark red long sleeved t-shirt with a band under the breasts that suggests slightly empire-line. A purple long sleeved t-shirt with a square neck. Two plain, ordinary long sleeved t-shirts in purple and dark green respectively. A light sweatshirt in purply blue with some fairly subtle embroidery. A wine-red corduroy skirt, calf-length with buttons down the front and a nice belt. A new winter coat (since mine is falling apart), matt black waterproof, three-quarter length with a quilted lining and a delightfully stroky fur-trimmed hood.
It's probably not the best idea to pick a day when one is feeling particularly male to go clothes shopping. Almost everything I looked at I rejected on the grounds it was too girly. (Or is women's fashion just very girly at the moment? There seems to be an extraordinary amount of frills and floral designs and pastel pink and baby blue on the racks!) And my normal attitude that clothes shopping is dull and all the stuff is pretty much the same anyway and as long as I'm not breaking any public decency standards why can't I just go on wearing what I already have was even more pronounced than usual.
Plus, I kept drifting into the men's sections of the shops. I don't in principle object to wearing men's clothes, but it's very unlikely that anything designed for men will fit me; I'm short with big hips and sizeable breasts. It's shoes particularly that annoy me; men's shoes can be elegant and still have broad toes and flat heels, whereas women's flat shoes are without exception either frumpy or clumpy. But my feet are small even by women's standards, so no sneakily wearing men's shoes for me.
Given I was in such male headspace, I decided it probably wasn't a good time to visit lingerie departments. I really need to replace my defunct and much-missed Marvellous Velvet Bra, but velvet bras are a fairly rare commodity and Marvellous bras (the kind that give me cleavage without being viciously uncomfortable) are even rarer. I didn't succeed in this mission today, because as soon as I set eyes on lingerie I was all, ewww, lacy frilly girl crap. So I figured I wasn't likely to come away with anything remotely sexy, and I have plenty of plain, functional, comfortable underwear anyway. (Note: I'm sure men do exist who are capable of buying sexy women's underwear. It's specific to me personally that I feel I need to be in a female mood to be able to do it.)
Anyway, I came home, dumped this ridiculous number of bags, and went on eBay to buy myself this pen. It's a Waterman Reflex, which having poked around on various pen websites I concluded is most like the lovely pen which Spanish M gave me a decade or so ago, and which converted me wholly from the Parkers I used to use. I lost that pen (I have had horrendous luck with all M's gifts) but I've been a Waterman girl ever since.
I need a decent fountain pen, and truepenny infected me with pen lust. And most importantly, it mitigated the way I was feeling about spending a month's food budget on clothes in the space of about three hours. Eep. I would say that I'm contributing to the consumer economy by indulging in the traditional January sales spending spree, except that I probably shan't buy any more new clothes for another year or so, so I expect the consumer economy doesn't love me very much.