I’m sure some of you might be tired of me nattering on about all the fun Portia and I had during the time she was in LA, but she would lovingly croon to you “tough sh17 b173$es”. One of the last days we cruised around Hollywood (I showed him the Baby Jane house on McCadden the “Los Tiempos”, formerly the home of Buff Chandler of The August Times) We drove up Wilshire past the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the May Company and Portia saw the 99-Cent Only Store and asked to stop in.
For those of you who’ve never been, the California-based 99-Cent Only Store stocks all sorts of low-end items. Ones that have drifted down-market but still have names that still resonate with you if you’re of (ahem) a certain age: Dreft Bleach, Gravy Train dog food and V05 shampoo for instance. It also sells EVERYTHING. Food and wine (that could peel the enamel off your teeth), cosmetics, art supplies- you name it, they’ve got it. So much so that the incredibly talented Ken Roht did a series of Christmas shows at the Bootleg Theater near downtown that everything from the sets to the costumes came from the store. Here’s a clip from YouTube from one of them- I think some of you may recognize Miss July..
In any case- they also have perfume. Things like Jordache Paris Hilton for Women or Jordache Justin Beiber for Women or the other 9000 Jordache one’s that were “our version” of something that may still be lurking on a discounters shelf. They even had testers. Yes, I tested one “our version” of Anaïs Anaïs, which I have vivid memories of since it’s a special favorite of a friend who still wears it when she can get the real deal.
This was not the real deal- a wan specter of the original that was pretty much gone from my wrist by the time I dropped Portia off in West Hollywood.
While I am ragging on it, it does kind of make me happy that it was there along with the others. Because it tells me that there’s people out there buying this, and that’s a good thing. I don’t have to shop at the 99 cent store (yet..) but I like the fact that amongst the people who are on really tight incomes that they can go there and for a couple of extra bucks get that V05 or styling gel or designer imposter or even that 4-pack of wine coolers and feel just a little pampered. Because whether we’re doing it at JAR or Neiman Marcus or Sephora or Walmart or the 99-Cent Only store, it makes us human and keeps us sane.
I might go back and get some Macho Sport Scent Aftershave. If I don’t want to wear it, I can (to quote Portia) “clean the concrete with it.”