My best friend has recently returned home, after an intense year of oriental escapades in China, perfecting her Putonghua and refreshing her ability to haggle with the fiercest of locals.
With almost a decade of friendship behind us, our adventures together have played out equal parts overseas and equal parts in Australia. Though we never went to the same high school or university (until final year), we were always involved in the life events that mattered. We’ve shopped until we dropped, in ringgit and energy, at every department store ever built in KL and had too much fun raiding wholesale garment markets in Delhi. We’ve even done village life together, as young volunteers in the mountainous regions of South India and as visitors to my grandmother’s village in Vietnam one year. Let’s also not forget the long distance friendship conducted over my year in France and more recently, hers by the Yangtse River.
So what do two newly reunited friends do on their first day out in Sydney together? I think that’s a no brainer.
Shopping together was always a fundamental part of our friendship and conditioned by its regular occurrence over the years, we’ve developed some unique consumer habits of our own. Being similarly partial to silk and feminine details, it is not unheard of that we buy the same thing, breeding twins in our respective wardrobes. However, if there is a particular item that we both like, and it just so happens to be the last one there, the person who made contact with it first gets to take it home. In a world where such unspoken codes are honoured, it pays to have good reflexes.
Having raided the collections of Therese Rawsthorne the day earlier and come home with a new wardrobe myself, I had to share with her what all my fuss was about. Everything was going smoothly until she realized that there was a dress she forgot to pick up and try on whilst in the change room. Being her fashion Wing Woman, so to speak, I quickly darted off to grab it, arriving just seconds short to see another customer pick it up. It was the last one.
For the next half an hour or so, I spent my time in the store eyeing that very customer, willing her to put that dress down. Her body language looked indecisive and my own partiality to my friend convinced me the dress would look better on my companion anyway. I discreetly trailed her for a couple of laps around the room, waiting to jump the moment she set the dress free, before I realised how shady this might have looked to sales staff who were not accustomed to how literally I took the concept of fashion wars.
In the end, I had to let it go. To be honest, I don’t think she minded. It was as if I took on a personal mission of my own and became too involved and proud to surrender.
Regardless of outcome, this is just another example of how we look out for one another in the change rooms, just as we would in the real world.
This is the very dress I had to let go of for her. Thankfully, I’d secured mine the night before.
*I was very tempted to make a play on The Bro Code, as popularized by Barney Stinson, but the lady in me couldn’t bring myself to title a post The Ho Code.