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The 21st Century

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The International Writers Magazine
: Modern Living 79

Cake & Eating It
Michelle Attridge

Prada, Gucci, Playboy, Miss Sixty and Yves Saint Lauren… What do they all have in common? They’re expensive, and we want, no, NEED them. But why? Because they shout out that I am a richer, and thus a more powerful person than you, even if we do look ridiculous in the said designer item…that’s not the point.

Take my Mum for instance, she’s a relatively level-headed person, and likes a good bargain or two, but when she sees a Playboy item all logical reason plus the food budget goes out the window. Even if it looks hideous on, and she only wears it once, out comes her credit card and it’s bought.
The worrying and hiding the purchase from my Dad comes later.

It seems we are obsessed with the latest fads, from buying the smallest dogs and squeezing them into our handbags, to having a playstation installed in our cars just so that we fit in and are accepted. Our fear of being picked last or left on the bench, so to speak, stems from primary school where unless you were the person not wearing the right skirt with the correct number of pleats, or the boy wearing the Ascot trainers then you were the group of kids picking on the girl with the wrong skirt, and the boy with the crappy trainers.
It also doesn’t help that we now have the media and adverts telling us how to act, what to buy and how to loose those flabby bits, so that we look gorgeous in our teensy weensy Burberry bikinis. But are we happy?

We might have diamond encrusted thrones when we get married, or even a toilet seat made from gold, but does this bring us happiness or is it a designer facade for the problems in this world? Because, lets face it, if we’re wearing a GAP jumper we’re not thinking about the "sweat shop" it came from or the ethical but cheap labour that may have produced it. No, we’re thinking that by wearing a GAP jumper we’re distancing ourselves from the poor and dressing up the ugly reality of our world.

Look at Fitzgerald's Jay Gatsby for example; he had everything from the flashy automobile to being the nightly host of lavish parties, all to hide his unhappiness at not being able to have his wicked way with Daisy across the pond. And even when he got Daisy, he still strived for something better until eventually it was the death of him.

Maybe we need something devastating to happen,a recession, or slump or war for something to effect us greatly; just so we stop taking life for granted and begin to value the deeper qualities of love and friendship again. That or learn to love our latest must have mobile phone, (which also doubles up as a microwave oven to feed us along our journeys).

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