A tidbit of a tale: Whitney

☺The first in a series of short reads about random interactions☺

“That is one fabulous dress,” Whitney said, as we waited for the luxury coach. “Is it yours?” she asked. It was a cool, fall evening in Chicago at the height of recruiting season for our MBA program. We were off to a coveted, invite-only get-to-know-you dinner for a top consulting firm with a name that rhymed with “pain”. I dreaded the evening ahead and prayed there would be lobster.

“Of course it’s mine,” I responded with my brow furrowing slightly. “Yes, I own it.”

“I mean, did you design it?” she said sweetly.

“Oh no, I didn’t — ,” I said, blushing. “Thanks though. I’m so flattered you like it! You can borrow it anytime.” I blushed harder. Arguably the most stylish and expensively dressed student in our class, Whitney never borrowed. She hailed from the toniest part of Manhattan and had a history of rich older boyfriends, the type that flew to her to Paris to buy designer handbags and kept their wives on the side.

We exchanged pleasantries and took turns complimenting each other, both insisting the other was far too slim to reasonably consider a swap — the usual pandering women resort to when they don’t really know each other and only have appearances to go on. An idle lull settled between us as other students gathered nearby, looking stiff and uncomfortable in their charcoal grey and black suits.

A moment later, Whitney returned to the subject. “I simply have to know — who makes that dress? Where did you get it?”

I chuckled and grinned. “it’s some fancy brand called Guy Laroche Paris but I got it in LA somewhere, at a random Loehmann’s. Beverly Center I think. For like ninety bucks.”

Dress to the far left. Names and faces blurred to protect the innocent (“Whitney” not pictured).

“LOEHMANN’S?!” she gasped, not quite masking her disdain. “This suit,” she said, pointing towards her chest which was ensheathed in Italian merino, “cost two thousand dollars,” she paused, “to ALTER.”

My shock at her total lack of self-awareness was only surpassed by my dismay at how anyone in her right mind would rationally pay two “g’s” to alter a suit.

Especially when at our financial aid exit session, she was quite the vocal, if anxious presence. The collapse of Wall Street had increased competition for fewer and fewer jobs. Facing significant loans and limited prospects like the rest of us, Whitney kept interrupting the presentation with heckles of frustration. She huffed and she puffed, Chanel shades perched on her head and Prada bag at her feet.

At break, we found ourselves in the ladies room at the same time. I awkwardly attempted to make her feel better.

“Scary isn’t it,” I said, adjusting my adorably cute belt on yet another Loehmann’s Back Room special. “But you of all people shouldn’t have to worry. You’ll find a great role somewhere.”

“Thanks,” she said, pausing to perfect her lipstick, the gold YSL casing making a flash under the fluorescent lighting. “I just don’t know what this will mean for my lifestyle.”

“Well,” I said, trying to be helpful. “Maybe you’ll just live a little differently for a little while?”

“Ha!” she said, pressing her lips together to even out the coloring. She gave herself the once over in the mirror, checking left and checking right before looking at me. “NEVER.”

And with that, she smiled and sashayed out the door. She would be fine.

This is the first in a series of vignettes about random people I’ve met. Some will be famous, some will be infamous, others will at least be interesting. Names may be changed to protect the innocent, as in this case. Enjoy.



eternally curious. I blog about technology, humanity, innovation, and the future of the Internet age.

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eternally curious. I blog about technology, humanity, innovation, and the future of the Internet age.