How Tina became the most expensive acquaintance I’ve ever had

Hi, my name is Johan, I’m 29 years old and I don’t buy my own clothes. Okay, umm, well, given enough pressure and desperation I probably would buy my own clothes – and I’ve been known to do so in certain circumstances.. But I just generally prefer not to!

No no, don’t worry, I’m not one of those sad going-on-30-year-old gentlemen who has their moms still buy their clothes. No-no, coz I got Tina, see.. So I’m one of those slightly less sad going-on-30-year-olds who has their best friend buy their clothes.. Okay, that doesn’t sound too good either, but it really is a good thing, so stick with me, my argument gets better!

Okay, so Tina doesn’t technically buy my clothes, she just from time to time helps me out in a mutually benefitting kind of agreement in which I, thanks to her help, get a lot of clothes in a lot shorter time than I could have picked things out on my own and she, in turns, get to feel like she spent a shit-ton of money on clothes that day without getting none the poorer.

The thing is, you can probably accuse me of being a lot of thing: mildly eccentric, geeky, crazy, funny, obsessed with anything relating to food, wine and spirits, and well a lot of things.. But one thing you can’t accuse me of being either particularly fashion conscious, vain or obsessed with personal appearances.. It’s not that I don’t care, there are just roughly a million other things I care more about.. I’m sorry, that’s just how I roll. However, I still need clothes every now and then, usually lots of them, and it’s in situation like those that I’m thankful I have an awesome and tiny friend who not only cares about fashion and expensive clothing brands but also knows a thing or two about looking good and making a good impression.. So why not turn to her in my time of need so that we may get the matter of shopping for clothes out of the way quickly together, and I may go on to focus on the more important things in life such as whether or not smoked salmon, cream cheese and cucumber/mint granite was really that great of a food pairing.

Alright, all kidding aside, I COULD do it on my own, but it wouldn’t be the same, it wouldn’t be NEARLY as much fun without her, it wouldn’t leave as many confused people in my wake, and it most certainly wouldn’t make for a very great blog post.. So, no, it just wouldn’t be the same.. Which is probably a major reason why it has become a tradition for Tina and I to go shopping together whenever something big happens in my life that calls for new clothes..

And hey, didn’t something major just happen in my life that called for new clothes? Indeed, as you may all have read on the blog, I just landed a well-paying job which called for an entirely new wardrobe worthy of an IT professional in a semi-formal/semi-casual office setting.. A somewhat daunting task for someone like me, so with the above rant about tradition, teamwork and mutually benefitting agreements in mind, what was I to do but turn to Tina and utter the simple phrase: “Umm.. Baby? Help?”, which was of course met with nothing but a sweet smile and a prompt: Sure!” Because probably the only thing that overshadows my joy of having her help me is the joy she derives from not only helping me and dressing me up nicely, but also getting to spend amounts upwards of DKK 4000 an hour on my behalf in doing so. Yes, therein lies a shocking revelation, ladies and gentlemen, women apparently love blowing money on clothes, even if it’s not for themselves.. Err, but I digress. What I wanted to get to was that once Tina and I had pretty quickly agreed to go shopping for clothes for me together, we also pretty quickly settled on a date on which to do so: Tuesday, February 15.

Which, applying a noticeable amount of sarcasm, proved the perfect day for a lengthy downtown shopping trip as it was the exact day that the snowfall decided to return to Denmark – with a vengeance – along with its good friends mr Wind and Mr WindChill Factor. So on the morning of February 15, I half walked, half blew and half stumbled down to Tina’s where I found her huddled up on the couch in about five layers of clothing and a question on her lips..

“Don’t you think we should just stay here for about half an hour, watch the news and write down a plan for what we need to get?” – “But it’s such fun outside right now,” I countered and was met with nothing but a tiny tongue pointing out at me from someone who otherwise usually loves snow. Oh well, who am I to argue with my saving angel, so of course we sat down and made a plan of what I thought we needed to get, then multiplied every item by a factor of about two until Tina was content. We then bundled up really good and headed out into the snowy hell outside which, according to Tina, “actually wasn’t too bad” until we made it up a small hill and right into the -20 something windchill factor.. After which we, well, sped up a bit. When we’d nearly made it downtown, Tina got a call from our mutual long-time friend Tine whom she chirped back and forth with a bit on the phone, when done she hung up the phone and declared that “Tine is joining us on our quest, I hope you don’t mind.” – “Well, since you’re not really leaving me a choice, I guess I don’t,” I replied jokingly. Of course I didn’t, Tine is awesome!

So, we continued on our merry windy way until we made it downtown and rendez-vouz’ed with Tine, we all hugged and went into a men’s clothing store where the girls immediately showed what they were made of: While I just stood there for a while looking confused trying to just comprehend the basic layout of the room. Tina launched forwards, grabbing a pair of shoes going “Oh, these are nice, look, and these,” then spun around facing a table with about a gazillion shirts on it, grabbed one out of the middle of a pile and went “oh, and look, this is nice.. But it’s too big of a size for you, what about this one, no this pattern isn’t you, this one!” – “Oh, that’s nice,” Tine chimed in. – “Umm, eh, meh? It sorta reminds of those striped bonbons I used to eat as a kid?,” I ventured, which, judging by the look on her face wasn’t the answer Tina was looking for. “I could try it on?,” I ventured again. – “Good boy,” she nodded.

Within the next five minutes, I was dragged so quickly around the store and presented with so many choices of shirts that I ended up half discombobulated and half in awe with what women can master with only 20 years of professional shopping experience. Somewhere along the line, they got a store clerk involved as well and things didn’t exactly slow down at that point. Now the hunt was on for suitable pullover sweaters to wear on top of the shirts I hadn’t even tried on yet. At this point I’d adjusted enough to the situation to be able to insult most of the choices the male clerk made which, unbeknownst to me were some of the most expensive (and popular) brands in the store.. I mean, sure, your logo may well be fucking expensive, but if I don’t like your stupid gold eagle, it’s not going on my chest! I’m a pretty simple guy like that.

After a while, I think the girls realized that I, with my novice shopping ways, weren’t as used to seeing things in context as they were and we decided that it may be better if I started trying on some of the seven odd shirts we’d found and we just sorta went with it from there. So we set up base in one of the changing rooms. Well, that is I set up base in one of the dressing rooms, Tine set up base in the opposite changing room with her laptop to do some work and Tina set up base at the edge of the curtain where she could both oversee that things were going well and at the same time scan the store for other potential items. The clerk, who was under the false impression that changing rooms were installed for privacy reasons, on the other hand just sorta circled the store for a while, obviously not used to this chit chatting/working/trying on/assesing approach.

He did, after a while, though, become used to our strange familiar ways (either that or he just realized he had a shit-load of money to be made on the deal), so he as well started chiming in with advice and suggestions and we got into a pretty nice pattern of Tina throwing me things, me trying them on and throwing them back to her and her then sorting them in either the “Good” or “No Good” piles. The clerk was used for his local knowledge and bossed around the store by Tina with orders along the lines of “We need some dark blue jeans, no holes, no wear and tear”, “We need these with a 31 inch waist”, “put this by the register” or “We might need these in a size 42, but don’t lose track of the 41 just in case.” .. Really, the military style logistics of the operation were scary.. But efficient.. Within about two hours, we had picked out three shirts, a pullover, three pair of jeans, a pair of pants and a pair of shoes.. All while rejecting more than twice as many items. A feat which on my own would have probably taken me a day and involved at least two “fuck this shit, I’m going down the pub!” breaks. And not only that, we even had time to help Tine with her resumé, clown about (like when I put a male felt hat on Tina and declared “There, NOW you’re pretty!” and she paraded it proudly to the mirror), and, of course, listen to at least a couple of my weird, inappropriate comments such as when I declared that it was weird to have Tina check out my ass in a pair of jeans as I was more used to this being the other way around.. All in a day’s work!

Reasonably proud with our efforts, we then packed up and marched to the register where I pulled all sorts of half-assed tricks to get the clerk to cough up some sort of additional discount on the DKK 5699 total, or at least throw in some cheap socks.. But budge he did not until the gorgeous blonde by my side, in a watch and learn kinda way, went “Aww, c’mon,” tilted her head and smiled sweetly, and earned me an instant DKK 99 discount.. Man, what I wouldn’t give for long blonde hair, blue eyes and a pair of boobies sometimes.. Err, and by that I mean, of course, thank you Tina! 🙂 And with that, the clerk rang up the total, I swiped my debit card, punched in my pin number, looked at Tina and went “When’s the last time you’ve spent 5600 on clothes?” at which she absolutely beamed (more so that I’ve seen her in months) and almost jumped with joy as I let her hit OK to complete the purchase.. Geeze.. Girls really do love to spend insane amounts of money on clothes.. Apparently even if it’s not for themselves.

With two heavy bags in my hands, we stepped from the store and back into the real world which was a very snowy real world by now. The plan was to go somewhere and pick up yet another pair of shoes and then go look for some new glasses for me while we were at it. The weather situation, however, seemed more of an invitation to go grab a cup of coffee which I felt was the least I could treat the girls to as a token of appreciation for all their hard work and good company. So, we debated for a while where to go and ended up in a rather strange situation where I for once took charge and decided on somewhere to go – only to end up going somewhere where I didn’t want to go at all on account of it being closer.. And with that said, I suppose I’ve forfeited the right to bitch about the horrible, cloyingly sweet Spiced Chai that Tina and I got.. All I can say is I certainly lived up to Tina’s order of “surprise me!” because I really didn’t thing a Spiced Chai would be a hot milk and caramel drink with half a pack of ground cinnamon sprinkled on top. My only comfort was that Tine seemed to enjoy her orange juice and that the total bill amounted to DKK 99, the exact amount that Tina had just saved me.

This less than sublime café visit behind us, we huddled back outside and went to pick up a pair of shoes which was a breeze compared to what we had just been through in that it took us all of five minutes to pick the only pair in the store that all three of us instantaneously liked – and that just happened to be on sale – the only problem, of course, was that we had walked into a shoe store which also sold women’s boots and children’s shoes which meant I had to keep both Tina and Tine on a short leash as Tina started scanning for black winter boots and was seen jumping into a pair any time she thought I wasn’t looking, while Tine was busy scouting out sandals for her little twins.. Y’know, tis being the season for sandals and all. I managed to drag them both back out of the store rather quickly without too much drama, though.

Alright, time to go scout for new glasses, then, and what a fun time it was. I ended up in a store with the two girls and a female clerk, in other words three against one. I had absolutely no idea what we were looking for and neither did the girls, so we had the clerk show us some, we made it all the way to me trying on the first pair until Tina was like “Yea, that’s it.. Those are so you.. Very Clark Kent!” I wasn’t too sure what that meant, but Tine seemed to agree and the clerk nodded as well, so I was like “Umm.. Okay..” – We kept trying on more and more pairs, and kept going back to the first pair until even I had to agree with the girls, they were so me and I was just freaked out coz they were a little larger than my current pair. Still, we kept trying on more pairs but eventually the whole situation just descended into madness and weirdness with the girls suddenly trying on glasses of their own, then sprinting to the other side of the store in order to “see how my new glasses looked from afar”and me bullshitting heavily back and forth with Tina very much NOT to the amusement of the clerk who were either weirded out or offended by my comments and apparently had another customer waiting and as such didn’t find the girls’ goofing about much fun either.. Long story short, I decided to put her out of her misery: “We’ll just take these,” I said, picking up the first pair, “uhh, how much are they anyway? 2200? Nice pick, girls!”

Having made quick arrangements to drop by the next day for a much overdue test of my vision, I thanked her for her help and patience and exited the store with the girls in tow. I then, once again, thanked the girls for their help and sent Tine on her way to the bus while I walked Tina home and chilled a little there to catch a bit of warmth before I myself walked the long way home with my purchases in tow. A lot of money poorer but a lot of clothes and an awesome experience richer.. So, see, having girls pick your clothes isn’t that bad of a deal, au contraire, it’s both fun and efficient with built in discounts, lots of laughs and a guaranteed good time.. Awesome! And, let’s be honest, guys, who doesn’t want two beautiful young women assuring you that you look good? Hmm?

As a bit of a follow-up to the story, I found out later that the final price of my new glasses fully adjusted to my needs and all was DKK 5800, so I could proudly inform Tina that my three hours in her company had cost me a total of DK K 11432.. Which, at roughly DKK 3500 an hour, officially qualified her as the most expensive acquaintance I’d ever had. Meh, but what’s a boy to do? You can’t one day tell a girl that her friendship is priceless to you and the next yell at her for costing you DKK 3500 an hour.

 

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