8pm today found me at not one but two H&M stores rifling listlessly through racks of Stella McCartney tee shirts. Oh, yeah: I and about 13,000 other supposedly savvy women.

In the Fifth Avenue store, my second stop, weary boyfriends slumped on leather seats at the front of the flagship store as their tiny size 2 girlfriends fought over cable knit "blousons" in Large. See I found myself part of the herd, and my fighting instinct came out. A nice salesperson arrived with an armful of dressing room rejects and I spotted the edge of what looked like the over-sized sweater I'd been eying on line. I have one of these gigantic sweaters from Marc Jacobs and I really do wear it with everything because it multi-tasks as sexy but also camouflaging, when bulky underwear and tight pants don't match.

Anyway, I take the sweater from him but see it's huge. All of the sudden a small woman more petite than I sidles next to me and insists, "Are you taking that?" When I say no, because it's like for TWO people, she grabs it, retorting, "See, I already have one on, and it's a large. The style is BIG." I'd say so; it looked like she'd pulled it right from the washing machine.

Ahhh, the sweet smell of V-tonic from Fresh--I mean, desperation.

Did I mention basically every item had sold out the day it arrived in the store?

And by the way, walking from subway, a man stopped me and asked if I spoke Spanish. Since I'm learning, I proudly said, "Si, un poco." He blessed me and thanked me and then it became clear he wanted money, that he was HIV positive and needed cash for medicine. I don't usually give money on the street but I gave to him and it was too little for his taste and he cursed me but gosh, I haven't learned those palabras yet en espanol--and man, that's what you get for stopping to listen to someone's story, which I always think is the meaningful part of the exchange anyway: the recognition.