(A story in 2 parts. Part 2)
Okay, so, I decided that I needed to buy a black leather mini skirt. It couldn’t just be a regular old black skirt, as I already have one of those and I can’t afford to be doubling up on wardrobe pieces at this stage of my life. So, I decided that black leather it was to be. And not slutty biker black leather, nothing you’d see in Coyote Ugly or could imagine Paris Hilton wearing. Rather, something vintage, high waisted, the skirt equivalent of Michael Crowe’s literary sock, ‘a sock you can really read something in.’ It would go with EVERYTHING! I could just imagine it. Tucking my grey wife beater into it. Pairing it with my black riding boots and Chloe Paddington. The coupling of my future skirt and grey woolly tights would be the Bill and Hillary of my wardrobe, the power couple. My skirt and I were going to do great things, write great books, travel to great places, see great sights. I may have put unnecessary pressure on the poor skirt.
So, like any girl on a budget, I hit the second hand stores. I have seen the insides of some second hand stores in Berlin. From the top of Prenzlauer Berg to the bottom of Kreuzberg, I’ve looked. I looked for days. And days. Sure, there were skirts, but none of them were quite right. Too long, too small, too shiny, too expensive. Eventually, at a store a little closer to home, the Humana near Alexander Platz (not the mammoth five storey store I previously mentioned) I found two contenders. I traipsed into the dressing room and found that the first, while fantastic on the hanger, was not ideal when it was on. It was intended for someone with both a smaller waist and bigger ass than I. To say that the cut was odd is an understatement. It also had two very strange pockets that caused the front of the skirt to balloon somewhat when you moved. It was not hot. I put the skirt back on the hanger and tried the second one on. The second one... the second one was PERFECT! It was everything I wanted in a skirt. It veered just on the right side of rock n roll without collapsing over the line into joan jett and her power mullet territory. It begged to be paired with an oversized bun and a cardigan. It was my Michael Crowe literary sock. And it was only 9 euros! Result.
Happy that I had found my skirt, I put my jeans back on and stepped into my riding boots. I zipped up my left boot, smiling to myself. I zipped up my right boot and found that smile quickly dissipate into abject horror as the slider from the zipper of my right boot detached itself from the teeth. My knee length boot flopped open, a leather puddle at my ankle. I sat in near tears, trying desperately to fix the zip. But it would not fix. It was, quite truly, pretty fucked. These are my favourite boots. Right now, they are my only boots. I NEED THESE BOOTS. Winter in Berlin begs for boots like these. Eventually, I made peace with the fact that these boots could not be fixed without some pliers, some scissors and a needle and thread. I would have to go home and fix them there. However, I couldn’t walk with the boot flapping open as my foot kept slipping out. So I tried to tuck the boots into my jeans, a reverse from the usual jeans into boots look I usually go for. The thing is, I wear pretty tight jeans. Skinny jeans. As it is, there is little room to manoeuvre, never mind make space for a knee high leather boot. So it ended up that I could fit the top 5 inches or so into the jeans and the rest of the boot sort of scrunched up around my ankle. Think of a leather leg warmer, if you will. I unzipped my other boot and did the same thing with it. If I was going to look ridiculous, I at least wanted to look even whilst I did it. Unhappy, I grabbed my skirt, went to pay, and then walked the 25 minutes home in my stupid, broken boots.
At home I performed an hour long boot surgery to seeming success. The boots zip up again, but they are fragile and frankly, I don’t know how much longer they have left in them. Trying to focus on the positive, I think ‘Well, at least I have my skirt.’ With great ceremony, I take it from my bag to admire it. And horror of horrors, I took the wrong fucking skirt. Oh god. In my hands in the tiny waist, huge ass, bubble stomach pocket skirt. Oh no no no. This skirt is not a skirt I can really read something in! I have to exchange it. Another terrible realisation dawns. I have to exchange it and I’m going to have to do that IN GERMAN. I’m not happy. So the next day I go back to Humana and spend a good hour looking for the other skirt. That Humama boasts that it has over 20 000 articles of clothing and I’m pretty certain I looked through at least 7000 of those to locate the skirt I accidentally left behind the day before. Skirt in hand, I go up the counted and in my best German (which, honestly, still isn’t very good) ask if I can exchange. The skirts cost the same amount, however I see that the skirt I purchased was previously more and marked down. You can’t exchange sale items. Eventually, through verbal grovelling in broken German and an inadvertently comedic skit that involved me demonstrating just how bad that skirt looked on me, the kind woman behind the counter broke down and let me exchange. And then she gave me this look, as if to say, “You, get out. Before I change my mind.” I grabbed the skirt (the right one!) off the counter and skipped out of the store, running gleefully home.