Thursday, January 21, 2016

Who Are You? Shopping for Sweaters and a Title by Milou Koenings

Who are you? Who do you choose to be?  Based on what criteria do you want others to judge you first?

Who knew shopping posed such existential questions?

toy tiara
All I wanted was a twinset. 

I mean, that's a pretty conservative purchase by any standard, don't you think? 

It should have been a safe shopping trip. 

Especially since my kind of shopping involves a keyboard, a cup of tea and PayPal. 

Plus, I had my BFF on WhatsApp to help me avoid disastrous color choices while she was shopping online from her own laptop, searching for kitchen-cabinet handles for her new house.

I was going to try a store I had never shopped at before, but which had been highly recommended to me by several people.  Wow - the selection was amazing!  Twinsets in almost every color I could imagine.  And all the other sweaters ... On sale, too! 

BFF and I oohed and aahed and finally chose pistachio over cabernet. 

Everything went swimmingly until it was time to check out. 

I had to create a profile. 

I duly typed in my name.  Then there was the innocuous looking little box with a drop-down menu that asked me to choose an honorific. 

And this is when I discovered that I had been shopping in the wrong places all my life:  

dropdown menu showing baroness and countess options

Mrs. Ms. Mr. Dr. ... what's that? Baron?  Baroness? Countess? 
Since when are those options on a drop-down menu?  Not on any I'd ever seen before.

Huh.  Not passing up this opportunity, I thought...

I pulled up WhatsApp and snapped a picture of my computer screen.  "Which should I choose, dame or countess?"

BFF's response was swift.  "Countess. Implies rank based on heredity or good marriage. Dame could be an actress!!!"

Good point.  Dame could be so common!

Countess it is - good breeding or good choice in partner. Either one works.   

But as I was about to click on it, I made another awesome discovery.  If I scrolled down, there were even more choices!  I mean, the sweater collection, ample as it was, paled in comparison to this array of titles from which to choose:

dropdown menu showing duchess and princess options

Golly this was tough ... Who did I want to be?  Admiral?  Squadron Leader?  A nun devoted to a life of service?  After a few elimination rounds though, I had it down to two.

Me:  "Professor or princess? Hard call that one ..."

BFF: "Prof. is your own intelligence. Might be worth something."

Argh. She's always right that one.

So there went my chance of being a princess, even if only on a mailing label. 

At the end of the evening, we settled on Ms. Because every woman is a princess, right?  

And besides, less is more.  For all they knew in the customer service department, I was The Duchess of Cambridge shopping incognito. 

But sometimes, I can't help but wonder ... you think they'd have made me send the twinset back if they'd found out the Countess de Koenings was an impostor?

PS Where was I shopping? A store called WoolOvers. Google them and you, too, could reinvent yourself. And the sweaters are fab!

Milou Koenings is a USA Today best-selling author. She writes romance because, like chocolate, stories with a happy ending bring more joy into the world and so make it a better place.  
Her Green Pines sweet romances, Reclaiming Home and Sweet Blizzard are available on Amazon and
You can find her on her website,, on Twitter, Facebook or Pinterest.
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