The Skirt

The Skirt, kind of
The Skirt, kind of

As I’ve complained before, I loathe shopping. I somehow got tricked into entering a department store by my family because someone needed something and we were having a “family day,” and it obviously wasn’t my turn to choose the day’s activities. Ugh.

We entered the store through the women’s clothing section and I seriously felt like a four-year-old being dragged through a “grown-up” store. All I really wanted was to take a nap.

I was just about to crumple to the floor and throw a proper tantrum when I spotted The Skirt. I metamorphosized from a bratty four-year-old to an Academy Award winning Actress (Actor? Whatever.) in an L.A. minute. I could almost hear people shouting, “Who are you wearing?”

I told my family to run along to get whatever whomever needed what, and my people would call their people when I was ready to exit, stage right.

I took the skirt off the rack and put it back at least five times. It was unnecessary. It was on sale! I’d never have an occasion to wear a skirt like that. But I could make one up! Why bother trying it on? It fit perfectly and made me look, dare I say, svelte? Need I say more? I don’t think so.

The saleswoman talked me into buying a rather matronly top to wear with it. It was on sale. It was okay. It worked. But the first time I wore it I was shedding sequins faster than a drag queen running the 50-yard dash.

I was excited when we received two wedding invitations because I’d get to wear the skirt to both since no one from the first wedding would be at the second one, and, of course, I was happy for the brides and grooms blah, blah, blah.

The first wedding took place at the Blackstone Hotel in Chicago, where Richard’s and my parents were married. My brother Paul’s Bar Mitzvah party had been there, as well.

As the photographer placed our family into the most unnatural poses in the history of all of photography, my parents began to wonder where the busload of kids was that should have already arrived.

Once my mother was informed that the bus driver, who was responsible for safely delivering a bushelful of 7th graders from the synagogue, thought he was supposed to take them to Blackstone Avenue, she began to fear for the safety of the children, as well as the rapid rate at which the ice sculpture was melting.

Thankfully, the shrimp on the buffet was still cold when the children disembarked, not even aware they’d been on a site-seeing tour of the south side of Chicago.

When Richard and I arrived at The Blackstone Hotel for the first wedding, four women who had just left the hotel looked at me and gasped. “Oh, my God! You look fabulous! That skirt is amazing! You look beautiful!”

I said, “Okay. Who is paying you to say this? Where’s John Quinones? Seriously, what is going on?”

Can you believe in this day and age people still act like that in public? They were just being nice and really liked my ensem. I ate it up and swallowed every last bit of it. I became The Skirt, or The Skirt became me, or something like that.

As you’ll see the in the first set of photos, you can dress me up, but you can’t take me anywhere. But, you have to admit, I am pretty talented.

The next wedding we attended had The Best invitation and response card, if you like a side of humor with your salmon. It took place at The Hard Rock Hotel in Chicago.

My skirt and I gracefully swept through the hotel to snap photos of the authentic displays of fabulosity on the walls, before Richard gently reminded me we were there for a wedding, not to stare with wonderment at Steven Tyler’s tiny pants. (Don’t get all judgy on me. I can’t help that I find him attractive.)

I’m excited for The Skirt to return from the dry cleaner so we can make our next appearance. Since we have no invitations at the moment, I’ll lounge around in it while watching the next Bears or Hawks game, and the best part about that is I’ll be wearing comfy, fluffy slippers; not heels.

Woman who dislikes shopping suffers retail injury!


Throughout history, the females in my family have had a genetic predisposition for shopping. They were also blessed with strong constitutions allowing them to stand for hours examining their reflections, looking for perfection. And then they’d go out to lunch.

The love of shopping and going out to lunch skipped a generation. With few exceptions, I don’t enjoy either. But my daughter Veronica does, so, don’t worry Mom! There’s hope.


My method of shopping is launching and flinging items I need, (and some things just because they’re shiny) into my cart, whipping out my Target REDcard, going home and taking a much-needed nap.

Eventually I return what doesn’t look good, keep what does, and, almost always keep the shiny objects.

Last Saturday Richard asked me to accompany him to Macy’s because he needed a few man-things. Here’s where I make an exception: if it means spending time together, I’ll do it. Am I great, or what?

As soon as we walked into the store, I came to an immediate stop in my super-cute, glow-in-the-dark Asics. My eyes glazed over and I felt “that hippy vibe” I sometimes get. Richard knows that look. He’s seen it many times, and knew it meant one of three things: a Free People sale, an Eileen Fisher sale, or an immediate need to find the closest ladies’ room.




The vibe was strong that day, my friends. I knew I was in the vicinity of a Free People sale because I became a combination of a truffle-sniffing pig and a drooling, German Short-haired Pointer closing in on a pheasant. It’s a gift. It’s not pretty, but it’s a gift.

Yes, I know I went with Richard to spend time with him, but as he saw the drool begin its slow descent from my mouth to the floor, he said he’d be fine on his own and would come find me when he was finished. 

Being the gentleman he is, he handed me a tissue doused in Purell so I could wipe away the drool and look presentable as I ascended the escalator.

As the escalator arrived at the second floor, I almost squealed with joy. There they were: racks and racks of flouncy, feminine, ”Leslie-style” Free People clothing….all on sale!

I didn’t waste time. I went from rack to rack shoving items into the crook of my right elbow for an hour straight. After a while the items became heavy and my arm was stuck in a permanent bicep-curl, but I wasn’t going to let a little pain deter me from my mission.

Without dropping a single item, I even army-crawled my way beneath racks of Calvin Klein plus-sized jeans in search of “misfiled” Free People merchandise. Hey, I’m a professional.This wasn’t my first time. I know what people do.

I’m not accusing anyone of anything, but honey, if you think you can hide a garment from me so you can come back tomorrow with the coupon you left on the kitchen counter this morning, you obviously have no idea with whom you are dealing. 

Not a single salesperson was roaming the floor to stop me from bringing more than six items into the dressing room. Score!


After lugging 100 pounds of clothes into the fitting room, nearly tearing my right tricep muscle, I only fell in love with two tops. I hung everything else up on a rack in the fitting room area  because, as my mother always told me, “Clean up after yourself when you go shopping because one of the salespeople might be one of my friends.”

If the mood strikes, and I can use my right arm again soon, I might go back to look around again. 

Or, I’ll just go to Target and launch and fling things into my cart using my left arm, which I can do because I’m semi-ambidextrous, a nice perk while my right arm heals.

I never really had a good reason to explain why I don’t like shopping, but now I do: it can be dangerous.

Thankfully, I’m mostly a lefty!

My sister, Beth, keeps telling me I have to add her to my posts, so here you go, Beth:

Beth is the prettier one. Beth is the prettier one…

Dude, Where’s my Phone?

Richard, Veronica, Lucas, and I were on our way to visit my parents who live ten minutes away when I realized I couldn’t find my phone. Again.

I had just texted my brother, which meant I had just had it in my hand. There was no logical explanation for its disappearance, yet it was nowhere to be found.

After foraging through my purse and inside my bra* I asked if anyone in the car had seen it. They all burst out laughing because yes, once again, I had misplaced my phone.

We were a block from our house and Richard offered to go back so I could look for it, but I told him not to since everyone I needed to talk to was already in the car with me. I wasn’t worried someone wouldn’t be able to reach me.

But I was worried. I was worried I was losing my mind. This “losing stuff all the time” thing was becoming really annoying. Was my life that out of control that I couldn’t remember where I put something I had just had in my hand? Apparently, yes.

Suddenly I heard my phone ring. Richard had stealthily speed-dialed my cell phone from his.

(To be whispered: The ring was coming from inside my purse.

Imagine creepy music playing. Ok, back to the story.)

I shoved my hand into the depths of my purse to find it but couldn’t. I tried every pocket. I checked every little zippered compartment. We all heard it ring, but it wasn’t there.

So, I did the only rational thing I could: I dumped the contents of my purse –which is, for those of you who don’t know me — three shades of lipstick even though I usually just wear Burt’s Bee’s lip balm, my wallet, my keys, one pound of rocks, two pounds of pebbles, and everything else I own just in case I need it – onto my lap.

(To be whispered: The phone rang again from inside the purse, but it wasn’t there. More creepy music, and back to the story.) Richard had called my phone again, this time leaving me a voicemail for all to hear in an annoying damsel-in-distress voice saying, “Help me! I’m stuck in Leslie’s purse!”

The kids thought that was hilarious. I shot him a look that, had I possessed the super power, could carve my initials into his forehead with my laser-beam-cutting eyes.

Once we reached my parents’ house I politely asked my family to go ahead inside without me because I needed a little “alone” time to:

a)         Throw a proper tantrum without having any witnesses,

b)         Figure out why I could hear but not find my phone, (especially since I’m hearing impaired, not blind!)

c)         Violently shake my empty purse expecting it to produce my phone, or, at the very least, a rainbow, some glitter, and several unicorns.

And then I felt it. It had fallen through a cell-phone-sized slit in the lining of the purse. It was being held hostage in a black hole between the lining and the bottom of the purse with one of my Burt’s Bees lip balms, three pens (no wonder I could never find one when I needed one!), and 14 bobby pins.

Secure in the fact that I wasn’t going crazy, I ripped the lining of the purse open using just my nails and teeth. Finally, I was able to hold my phone in my hand.

I looked down at the carnage in my lap and on the floor of the car, quickly scooped all evidence of the shredding frenzy back into my purse, and went in to see my parents.




I had purchased the purse in Florida at a dollar store last spring after arriving at our hotel and realizing I hadn’t packed one.

All I had brought was my super-cute briefcase with a retractable handle (on wheels!) that fits nicely under the seat in front of me, and can easily accommodate all the things I would normally put in my purse.

But I decided I needed a real purse because I thought it would look a bit tacky if I rolled my briefcase around the Sony Open Tennis match venue in Key Biscayne, on a fishing expedition on Kelly and Scott’s boat in Ft. Meyers, and through the country club for my father-in-law’s 80th birthday party in Weston.

After returning from my parents’ house that day I looked for another purse in which to keep all my belongings when I remembered I had recently donated all of my old purses to the local thrift shop.

I couldn’t sew the lining back together because it looked like over-cooked spaghetti squash. I came to the horrible realization that I had no choice but to do the unimaginable. I had to buy a new one; I had to go shopping.

If I absolutely, positively, must go shopping several criteria need to be met beforehand:

1.         I must be in a great mood and feel particularly thin that day, even if I am only buying a purse.

2.         There shall be no humidity in the air causing me the least bit of discomfort due to frizzy hair and/or the tiniest bit of sweatiness.

3.         The barometric pressure must not be too high or too low, and the temperature should be below 75 degrees, but above 30 degrees.

4.         The sun shall be shining, but if it is 75 degrees or higher and sunny I’d rather be outside playing with my dogs.

5.         My make-up shall be applied to the best of my ability and I must not be the least bit tired.

6.         Other than that I’m easy.

So I ventured out on a beautiful day, looking particularly presentable, and found the perfect Kipling bag…on sale! That kind of shopping I can do, although it does require a nap afterward.

I still lose my phone all the time, but at least I know that if I put it in the new purse I’ll most likely be able to find it. If it’s not there and Lucas, my 20-year-old son, happens to be home, he asks me, “Did you check your bra?”

*A trick my friend Rosa taught me.

A word of warning: do not put a cell phone in the bra part of your bathing suit and jump into the pool. Yes, I’ve done that, too.