A few years ago, I entered a contest online to win a fun trip to Los Angeles to meet some tween celebrity boy who was all the rage at the time. I'd never even heard of him; I had to Google him. But I wanted to win a trip, so I entered. I was automatically subscribed to the newsletter of the great West Coast teen clothing store Tilly's.
I don't think I expected to win. I have never won anything except a useless stereo component during college and some dance tickets in my 20s from the Village Voice that I couldn't use and had to give away, to Carolyn and her beau. But there was something about entering this Tilly's contest that tickled me. Imagine if I'd won! The look of surprise of the teen star's adorable, million-dollar face, expecting some little fun girl and seeing my wizened husk instead. It would be the equivalent of entering to win a contest to spend a day with a Kennedy, and then having them show up with Jean Kennedy, in all her glory.
The weeks and months went by, and I knew I had not won. In this contest, as in life. But I was bemused by the daily emails from Tilly's, telling me what sort of cute tank or boardie I could be in possession of if I'd only loosen my purse strings and live a little with Tilly's. What sort of jogger or legging, lanyard or patch. And their BOGOs. Sweet Lord, always a BOGO with them.
As time passed, I mulled over the idea of "liking" Tilly's on Twitter, and entering into an online relationship with whoever manned their account - at first, being merely enthusiastic about their product, then being maybe a little creepy, (by revealing my age and my geographic distance from any existing Tilly's), then implying by my tweets that I was relying far too much on my communication with Tilly's in conducting my life. That idea, like many I have, was fleeting. (Although, obviously, in my prime I would have subtweeted Tilly's like a house aflame.)
Today, it has clearly not occurred to Tilly's that I've been keeping my own counsel on their emails on purpose. In their attempt to get me to place one - even just ONE, one SINGLE order - they have begun emailing me two, three times a day, when clearly one email would do. Just how many rash guards do they think I need?? How many wedges, or pool floats?? I am 43 ... I wouldn't be able even to make a drone WORK! Let alone two, with BOGOooooo.
When last I visited Alia in Los Angeles, I begged her to come with me to Tilly's. I needed some kind moral support, or perhaps protection. I walked around the store, and their clothes seemed slightly more garish than they looked online, which both surprised me and slightly slaked my intense thirst to be a part of Tilly's machine, such as it is. I confided to Alia about my fascination with the Tilly's newsletter - and she showed a little compassion for once in her life and did not imply that my fascination with Tilly's is clearly a metaphor for my fascination with how youth, sweet youth, can just slip away. And that even if youth seems still within reach - like, just around the corner - it is in a direction you cannot anymore move, because age has compromised your mobility. But Alia did lean conspiratorially toward me and told me that there was a newsletter even more foul, more
aggressive than Tilly's.
"Oh yeah?" I said, sure that this was some trick.
"It's Nordstrom's Rack," she said, ominously. I turned pale.