That an entire book has to be written about the way in which the French put pleasure first in their lives–a pleasure gleaned from a lovely long lunch; a good cheese; a natural (as opposed to a creepy or inappropriate) flirtation, makes me sad that our culture comes out so unfavorably. It’s true that in our culture, “pleasure” seems to be a code word for sex, not a joy we breathe, not the expansive emotion, as the late William Safire wrote in his language column in The Times many years ago, “that suffuses one who has been gratified or stroked; it’s a good feeling, whether physical or intellectual.”
Men say young women are demanding as hell—about money, about sex, about everything. So how come their mothers aren’t?
At age 58, a woman tells me she lives with her lover in her home, not his, and is reluctant to ask him to contribute to her—now, their–bills. “He buys us beautiful dinners,” she explains when I ask her what’s stopping her from discussing this, and from confronting him about the sizable mortgage and living expenses she knows they should be sharing. “He gets us tickets to wonderful concerts; pays for our vacations. We started out that way and, well, it hasn’t been that long….” she trails off.
Victoria Beckham’s pink Birkin bag–I think it’s crocodile– is just one of many of her gorgeous Birkin bags. But watch: The Power of the Least Interested applies to getting an Hermes Bag in pretty much the same way as it applies to getting a guy.
It’s called the scarcity principle in purchasing, and Hermes is great at employing it. The Hermes Birkin bag, above, like its sister bag, the slightly smaller “Kelly” bag, is always waitlisted because of its alleged scarcity (“They’re each handmade,” the company explains). Whether Hermes can or cannot summon the deft hands of bag-makers and crocodile-finders round the globe to work more quickly begs the question of why these bags are so hard to get. If it were about supply and demand, they’d simply increase supply to meet demand– but it’s not. It’s about the Power of the Least Interested. Who desires the handbag sale more–you, the potential owner, or Hermes? Hermes would like you to think it’s you. Company president Robert Chavez announced in the September 2005 issue of “W” Magazine, soon after I’d noticed the connection between love and handbags, that the wait list for Kellys and Birkins was absolutely closed at all Hermes stores across the globe.. “It may open up in a year or two,” he said then, “but there are no guarantees.”