Smells like Rubber! When your husband goes bag shopping in Shanghai

IMG_3011_1994I believe that sometimes the universe likes to let you know that you are exactly where you should be.  This happened to me last night at dinner with friends.  All because of a bag my husband Stuart just bought me.  Here’s the story…

Stuart recently returned from a business trip to Shanghai with his team at work.  Partially because his team is comprised of women, and partly because Stuie is a bit of a shopper himself, he came home laden with knock-offs of all shapes and sizes.  He was giddy to show me the presents he’d purchased.  The his & hers fake Cartier Tank watches.  The Georgio Armani peacoat for Cooper.  But the crowning achievement was the orange purse, a knock-off of what is, I gather, a very good bag, which came packed in an expensive looking fabric sack.

There are fakes and then there are fakes.  Though neither is ideal, unfortunately the orange bag is the latter.  Compounded by the fact that I am a true bag snob with a total inability to control what comes out of my mouth, this gift that had Stuie so excited to give me turned out to be a disaster as I blurted out something like, “Ohhhhh.  Its RUBBER!”

It turns out that apparently Stu and his shopping buddies had a similar consideration, and had actually held a flame to the bag to see if it melted.  Not sure if they did this in front of the vendor, or if there was a special undercover mission conducted in someone’s hotel room, but the thing did not melt, which proved beyond a shadow of a doubt – to them at least – that this was the real thing.  (Amazing what they can do with syntheather these days).  But can I just say, having to test a bag with a blow torch is probably not an experience I would typically undertake when buying a bag.

Well, no shock, I hurt his feelings with my less than over-the-moon reaction.  My penance?  I have been using the orange bag ever since, much to my slightly mortified fashion sense.  But I have to confess that I LOVE to tell friends the story about it, with the flame test being the pay-off line.  Then I typically offer a whiff to enjoy the rubber scent.  Last night was no exception to my routine.  Having dinner with good friends Tommy and Jill, I did my “show and tell” routine for them.  I held it up, pointed out the questionable features and finished off by giving them a whiff.  We had a good laugh.

About half-way through our dinner, a group of 30-something fashionistas with their boyfriends in tow got up to leave.  BY TOTAL COINCIDENCE – I looked across to see one of the girl showing off her new purse.  You got it.  It was the REAL ORANGE BAG!  What are the odds?  I mean…orange???  But even from a distance, I could see the smooth leather texture, solid shape and elegant edging – details that our Chinese manufacturers so typically overlooked on my version.  And SHE had a smart little silk scarf tied to the handle!  Well!!!  As we all watched this scene play out, we had a huge good laugh and shook our heads at the likelihood of the real bag – even the ORANGE bag – sitting right across from us at dinner.

Author’s note – this one is for you Tommy.

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