Don't buy it - borrow it!

This is another of my anti-shopping rants. Yes, I know this may be considered unpatriotic. Afterall, what did the President tell us to do after 9/11? I think it was, "Go to the mall." What are we supposed to be doing with our economic stimulus check (if it ever arrives)? We're supposed to buy something.

One of the most wonderful nights of my life was a college prom I attended with what was then called a "BMOC" (Big Man on Campus). I'd loved him from afar for a year before we started to date. That prom was a night when I thought that all I had ever dreamed was coming true.

Like any college student - a New Yorker, no less - I began shopping for a gown ten minutes after the invitation had been received. I went to Bloomingdales and Sak's and - dating myself horribly - Orbach's and Bonwit Teller. If I tried on one dress, I tried on twenty. In the end, I narrowed it down to two. The first was a short black chiffon dress that my beautiful mother had worn on New Year's Eve (accompanied by little silver stars sprayed in her lustrous black hair). The second gown, the one I wore, was white and slim with spaghetti straps. It belonged to my best friend.

Maybe I'd have felt differently if I hadn't been able to choose, if I'd been told that I had to borrow a gown. Does borrowing a dress - a suit or a coat - for a special event even occur to us anymore?

It should.

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