Sunday, October 27, 2013

Advertorial Ambivalence Averted

 Sweet Stuff Eraser Necklace

Cardigan: DKNY, Macy's
Camisole: Kohl's
Skirt: H&M
Shoes: Ami Clubwear
Bag: Target

Tee: Kohl's
Cardigan: Kohl's
Skirt: Material Girl, Macy's
Shoes: Ami Clubwear
Bag: Princess Vera, Kohl's
Belt: Wet Seal

Sweater: Macy's
Tank: J. C. Penney's
Skirt: Marshalls
Shoes: Barefeet Shoes
Bag: Nordstrom

Dress: Material Girl, Macy's
Camisole: J. C. Penney's
Shoes: Betseyville, Macy's
Bag: B&B, Ocean City, Asbury Avenue
Jacket: Bisou Bisou, J. C. Penney's

Some months ago I received an email from an online housewares retailer (who shall remain nameless) inviting me to blog about some of their products.  I ignored the request, having long since made the decision to plug only those products that I genuinely liked (i.e., clothes and kooky collectibles).  Then I heard from them again a couple of weeks ago and reconsidered.  It was possible, after all, that I was being narrow-minded.  So I wrote this post, liberally linking to the online retailer's offerings:

Ever since the husband and I dipped our toes into the wild whirlpool that is house hunting, I can't help but wonder what it would be like to have a yard.  Not just a sad patch of rented lawn where patio furniture comes to die, but a grown-up space of civilized green where people could sip umbrella drinks while hashing out the issues of the day (by which, of course, I mean talking about "Homeland" and comparing pet pictures).  

Part showplace and part sanctuary, my dream yard would have all the drama and heart of a not-quite-critically-acclaimed but audience-lauded romantic comedy.  Which means color and water (for all of those hilarious pool party hijinks) and foliage set aflame by the pop and sizzle of electric lights.  Yes, I"m talking about LED, that longevity-loving, three-letter acronym that makes everything more special and glamorous with just the swell of a circuit.  Scintillating for all seasons, these science-made stars burn past the last summer sunset to hold court at holiday celebrations.  Come December everyone would huddle in a heated tent, hot cider and coffee beckoning from the bar and tunes tumbling from the magic that is the portable mini Bluetooth speakers as that night's master of ceremonies (who else but the hubby?) spins the game-show-quality, crayon-box-bright prize wheel to raffle off a fresh Tote Trove treat or a savory cheese (cheddar for the lucky, Stilton for the less fortunate).  Romance would blossom; business deals would be made (take that, golf course), the stuff of cinema simmering in my not-so-humble garden, party-goers pocketing their prizes so that they may relive the revelry when corralling the carpool come Monday morning.

That, dear readers, is what I hope to take home from my house hunt.  Because "mortgage" and "property taxes" and "down payment" are ugly words that don't allow for the whimsy of dreaming.  Or for prize wheels (that yield wheels of cheese).

I sat on the draft for awhile.  I even replied to the online retailer, requesting details about the word count, minimum product links, and my control of the final post.  A week passed without a response.  I thought that maybe they were no longer interested, that my questions had made me seem too Type A (i.e., more trouble than I was worth).  I was just about to take their silence as a sign that I shouldn't be blogging for bucks anyway when their reply popped into my inbox.  As it turned out, they wanted me to edit and post an already-written article about cleaning lawn chair cushions or some such nonsense.  Of course I declined, saying that such a post seemed more appropriate for a blogger dedicated to writing about home improvement.  What I didn't say was that I'd never post something that I hadn't written.  

The incident reminded me ever so slightly of that "Sex and the City" episode in which Carrie's editor at Vogue tells her that their readers want to hear about shoes, not about what Carrie Bradshaw thinks about shoes.  I couldn't help but think that this was just one more example of how writers' impulses to weave creative stories are so often squelched by big business's need for no-nonsense, product-pushing prose.  And yet, isn't it the funny, messy human interest stuff that draws people in, whether you're peddling pumps or patio sets?

Artistic integrity aside, my bowing out was probably for the best.  I wasn't at all sure about that LED thing.    

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