Champagne Tastes: In Another Place, Not Here*

A number of circumstances, both professional and personal, are conspiring of late to make me dream of alternatives to my academic life. As I’ve only just achieved an element of professional stability, however, my alternative-life fantasies remain exactly that: fantastic – and (currently) impossible.
Most Alternative-Life-A-Dubses have spectacular wardrobes. For example, in another place, not here, I own a tiny-but-posh studio space on a fancy Caribbean island. I rent the studio for exorbitant fees to a parade of designers of beautiful clothing who sometimes pay me with clothes.
When Caribbean-Island-Alterna-Dubs is not committing Dionne Brand novels to memory, doing yoga cliffside, or frolicking in shady groves with my flock of wheaten terriers, Fantasy-Me mostly hangs out in flowing silk dresses, and sparkly sandals. Then I drink champagne, and decide what deserving charitable enterprises most deserve portions of my millions.
Sometimes I wear long drapey numbers like this (because Fantasy Me has naturally golden brown skin, even in winter). Obviously, I wear such things with strappy silver flats, not those clunky black things. This one’s perfect for standing by the ocean while the wind blows my gorgeous mane of hair around and hot nubile young men plan ways to pick me up:

(But, I never do that blue eyeshadow. Never.)

Other nights call for a steamy petal dress like this one by Loris Diran. Those shoes are all wrong, of course. Gold sandals with paper-thin ankle straps are really a better fit for my glamorous island paradise. This one’s perfect for sitting in profile while the sun sets over the ocean and I decide which nubile young men I’ll take salsa (or lambada) dancing later:

Ah, sweet fantasy life and wardrobe – all in another (maybe pretend) place, not here! Not here where my jersey is so rarely (alright, never) silk, my golden sandals lose their precious heels, and where negotiating for office spaces, futzing with muffed pay (always too low – why? Why?), and placing my one broken wheaten leaves precious little time for Brand novels or yoga in the place down the street where they drape orange fabric through the fluorescent lights.
Needless to say, I’ll not be buying either of the above dresses. Or the posh studio by the sea. Also, neither Gucci nor Loris Diran will be compensating me for not buying their clothes.
* This phrase is the title of my fantasy-BFF Dionne Brand’s first novel. And I borrow it – and use it out of context – with awe and reverence.
What’s does your fantasy-alternative self do? Does s/he have great clothes?

10 thoughts on “Champagne Tastes: In Another Place, Not Here*

  1. WELCOME BACK! I missed your blogosphere presence. Ooooo, fantasy me would no longer have kids living at home. (They would be in college with full scholarships.) I would be strolling around in white linen pants that do not wrinkle, an equally white tunic, and wearing tons of bracelets that make a bunch of noise. I would be sipping coffee/champagne/wine from whatever cafe in whatever city. Afterwards I would be picking out items to purchase and then donated to whatever charity I had created. Yes, something like that.Ask me again tomorrow. I might have something different.

  2. All of my fantasies involve a house with a yard, a housecleaner, personal stylist/seamstress armed with Built by Wendy patterns, personal trainer, a walk-in closet and spay/neuter:.empty shelters. Is that weird? Everything else can stay the same.

  3. All of my fantasies involve a house with a yard, a housecleaner, personal stylist/seamstress armed with Built by Wendy patterns, personal trainer, a walk-in closet and spay/neuter:.empty shelters. Is that weird? Everything else can stay the same.

  4. Can I have a fantasy talent, too?If so, I would just like to be Charlotte Gainsbourg.Well, me with Charlotte Gainsbourg's clothes, voice, acting ability, homes, lifestyle, travel plans, ability to wear a trench coat, etc

  5. To be completely dorky, and because I am conferencing and researching right now, my fantasy is to have: a book out with Cambridge and a book forthcoming with, I dunno, Brepols, Boydell & Brewer, somewhere awesome; a SSHRC standard grant or similar with course release (you know, so there's no more tenure worry); unlimited funds for research in the UK; an ability to write swiftly and painlessly; Patrick Stewart; a career as a world-class cellist on the side.For this I would wear Alexander McQueen and Vivienne Westwood and own several pairs of Fiorentini + Baker boots (to add to my growing collection), Repetto ballet flats and lots of Bensimon sneakers. Oh yeah, and a few Louboutins and some Rodarte cocktail gowns to play the cello in. Because I like to show a little leg.I wouldn't need an island retreat because I totally plan to crash at A-Dubs.

  6. WELCOME BACK! I missed your blogosphere presence. Ooooo, fantasy me would no longer have kids living at home. (They would be in college with full scholarships.) I would be strolling around in white linen pants that do not wrinkle, an equally white tunic, and wearing tons of bracelets that make a bunch of noise. I would be sipping coffee/champagne/wine from whatever cafe in whatever city. Afterwards I would be picking out items to purchase and then donated to whatever charity I had created. Yes, something like that.Ask me again tomorrow. I might have something different.

  7. Heh. Doesn't everyone fantasize about escaping sometimes? I already have tenure…other world me would own a dance studio with a gorgeous flat above in, I don't know, maybe Wilmington NC, or Hilo, or somewhere in Oregon, and be magically able to make enough money teaching belly dance lessons to survive. Alternative reality me would probably wear nothing but steampunk and tribal costume and would have really interesting tattoos.

  8. Oy, A-Dubs, I hear you. (And can I say it's good to "see" you again. Hope your vacation was nice.) I have these fleeting moments of imagination at times, particularly after not working for a while.Right now, I am at a (temporary!) place of not being able to imagine doing anything else, so other world Rad would already have tenure, promotion, lots of sabbatical, and the ability to be a public intellectual/elected official at the local level. Or I'd be someone who too much money who lives a life of bored leisure. Public official Rad would wear luxe knit basics (to me, JCrew is luxe) in neutrals with strong shouldered blazers/jackets and very tall shoes (gotta give the old boys something to look up to). Heiress Rad would be very very fit (like Gwyneth Paltrow, who works out 2 hours a day), would wear only jersey fabrics and chunky jewelry, and spend her time at a Northeast beach all day long (minus those two hours). Maybe in Maine, but Jersey would do too. Shoot, back to what I meant to finish earlier. Rad, out.

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