There’s Nothing Like the Real Thing, Baby

The Awesome Opossum visited New York several times before we seriously made our way down to Chinatown for more than a cursory glance at purses.

What Awesome-O somehow knew, but I did not, is that the good purses are not out on display. You can look at that crap, but it will all be pretty basic and not a good enough to fool even your blind, deaf golden retriever. You have to walk through the streets looking coolly disinterested (not my strong suit) and wait for very tiny Asians to come up behind or next to you and whisper furtively, “Fendi, Fendi! Chanel!”

So, against my better judgment, we walked the streets actively looking for someone to take us into a scary back room somewhere. The first guy to give us a poke whispered the magic words and we followed him faithfully. When the three of us arrived at a brown van, the A.O. and I balked. One peek inside told us that what he had looked like real Chanel, but neither of us wanted to be the inspiration for a Lifetime movie about dumb girls who got murdered in Chinatown while hunting for frivolous material possessions. (Then we would have posthumously fought over which us Shannen Doherty would play. That’s not how you want to spend your time after shedding your mortal coil.)

We kept walking, the Awesome Opossum being mostly in charge of looking cool.

Then an elfin lady approached us from behind and whispered “Chanel, Chanel!” Undeterred by our near death experience, we cautiously followed.

When we arrived in the shadiest, tiniest backroom known to man, I was mesmerized by the treasures that lay before me. Coach, Fendi, Gucci, oh my! But the A.O. knew to head straight for the Chanel. They were clearly counterfeit (unlike the rape bait inside the van), but they were close to the real thing. We selected two beautiful bags; hers in black and silver and mine in black and gold. The Awesome Opossum managed to negotiate down to $60 for each bag. Needless to say, the adrenaline rush threatened to overwhelm my heart.

Satisfied with our haul, we booked it out of Chinatown and up to Central Park, where we petted our purses and had them talk to each other, just a little bit.

All I heard were compliments every time I carried that bag, but it broke within six months. Even sitting on a shelf in my closet, it’s one of the most fabulous things I own.

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