There’s this one nearby deli that has a halfway-decent salad bar (ie, I’ve never seen any Rajneeshis or liquified-feces-carrying crazies there, but then again, I can’t be there all the time. Oh well. History is written by the winner, after all) and sometimes if I’m too lazy to pack my own lunch (what, you thought I had Zone Diet lunches delivered to me *every day*?) I go there and get some gelatinous, msg-laden foodstuffs by the pound.

The cashiers are all rather friendly Korean girls. They’re preternaturally happy. (Probably Moonies.) So I’m there yesterday and the girl ringing me up points to my sunglasses and says, “How much did you pay for those?

Here’s the deal. I’m not too much of a label whore. Not really. (Of course, if anyone at Dries van Noten reads this, feel free to send me some freebies.) I’m also a fairly altruistic, fair person. Ask anybody!

But sometimes someone gets my Irish up and I stop being the nice, caring, UNICEF-Christmas-card-sending person that my years at finishing school made me.

This is how I first came into possession of my first pair of Prada sunglasses. See, a few years ago, K and I were cat-sitting in the West Village. At some bistro on Charles Street we were seated next to an obnoxious woman of a Certain Age and her milquetoast dining companion. She was going on and on about how anyone who voted for Nader ruined it for the rest of us. That anyone who voted for Nader was an asshole. And that no one over 25 voted for Nader.

K and I, both being over 25 and Naderites (well, I *told* him I voted for Nader when I really voted, as always, for LaRouche. But, for the sake of continuity…), grimly eavesdropped. When the couple finally got up to leave, I noticed that she’d left her sunglasses behind on the banquette. I picked them up and was about to call out to her when K (more of a moral relativist than I) stopped me. “See if she comes back for them on her own.” I examined them. They were real Prada sunglasses. I felt a slight tingle, as I’d never consciously fingered Prada before. (That one time with one of those Sykes sisters in the bathroom at Bungalow 8 doesn’t count, because I was drunk and vulnerable.) I tried them on and looked in the smoked mirror behind me. I looked fabulous. I took them off and waited. She never came back. I felt bad about it (for about 5 minutes) but then I thought, “Hey, private property created crime. And anyhow, she called me an asshole.”

You know how many compliments I’ve gotten on those glasses? It’s criminal.

Flash forward to this spring when I noticed they’d started to get a bit scratched. K suggested I get another pair. “I can’t go back to something cheaper. I have to get another pair of Prada sunglasses. Price is no object.”

See, this is a lie, though, because I did care how much they cost. And I didn’t realize just HOW FUCKING MUCH they cost. Sticker shock doesn’t begin to describe it. I mean, on one hand, shopping at Prada is fun–they give you cappucino, they kiss your ass, and they send you little handwritten thank-you notes. But is it worth it to drop over 200 clams for something you’ll end up crushing at the movies?

My inner drag queen says HELL MOTHERFUCKIN’ YEAH.

I smile demurely and finger my invisible strand of pearls. Ah, the proletariat, they don’t understand that one doesn’t ask such things. I responded in my best Locust Valley Lockjaw, “Well, you see, they’re the real thing, so I bought them at the Prada store, and they were a bit pricey-”

“I know,” she cut me off. “I have the same ones. I got mine in the Seoul store.”

Well, darn it all. Turns out she paid 40 bucks less than I did.

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