Monday, May 12, 2008

a whole 'nother world

overheard in dashing divas...

conversation between two young filipino women of privilege, whom i learned in the course of the overheard conversation, were 32 and 33 respectively:

the conversation started because they were complimenting one another on their Chanel flats. one of them had them in black and the other in teal. they bragged on and on about what other colors they had at home and how much they loved them except for this one little pinchy place, but what a great everyday shoe they were.

from designer shoes, the conversation moved on to bags because one of the girls had a #30 Hermes bag in red. she had many Chanel bags at home, but was selling them, except for a few of her favorite everyday ones, because "once you go to Hermes...."(this is a direct quote which she said at least 5 times, warning the other girl to enjoy her Chanel while she could because it just wouldn't be the same after the Hermes, which the other girl was anticipating getting for her 35th birthday).

it seemed that both of these girls were actually making a business of acquiring, using for a while and then selling on their designer bags. they hadn't met one another before, but had mutual friends in the "bag trade."

it was clear from the conversation that bags were a subject they were very passionate about (and i can understand this, since i have a bit of a bag collection of my own--just no Chanel or Hermes). although it sounds like an incredibly pretentious conversation, believe it or not, they actually did not come across as pretentious. this world of traveling to hong kong or japan or hawaii and acquiring bags, using them for awhile, selling them (to others like themselves, i guess) and then buying new ones was simply the fact of their way of life.

what i sat there thinking about (aside from the fact that my brand new Coach bag, which i adore and which was on the seat beside me was probably not high enough end for them), were the poor sweet little nail girls. there were two of them working on each of these girls, plus the two working on me and the two working on the woman on the other side--so a total of 8 girls who are no doubt working VERY long hours and long weeks for astonishingly little money--all sitting there listening to this conversation. i tried to read their faces to see if the conversation hurt their feelings in any way. other than one small rolled-eye gesture which i silently coaxed out of one of them whose eyes caught my eye, there was no sign.

but what was amazing was that these two sets of young woman are living in the same country, but are, GALAXIES apart. it did strike me as more than slightly rude of the two young women to have that conversation there in front of those girls who could scarcely even dream of having a copy of a Chanel or Hermes bag. but, it was clear that that didn't cross their minds. it was almost as if those girls were invisible to them. and i really have to stress that it wasn't in a haughty or snobbish way. it was simply clear that they had been brought up with maids and nannies around the house and were completely accustomed to conducting their lives without noticing them.

i can't help but find that a little bit sad..for both sides, actually.


Jaime said...

You have a wonderful way of observing's fascinating, isn't it?

Phyllis Hunt McGowan said...

You did a fine job of not taking sides or making the girls out to be bad characters. We don't think sometimes, that's all.
It's the kind of scene that would have made me sad. All we can do is write about it, I suppose, and share the learning.

julochka said...

i sincerely don't think they meant to be was really just the world they were coming from. that made it quite interesting, from my perspective, actually, as anthropology. :-)

Natz Navarro said...

Sad but true.
(' ',)