Wednesday, April 02, 2008

How to spot a Marina Housewife

I'm currently working in the Marina district in San Francisco, while I look for a full-time PR role again. The district is very wealthy, so it's fun to people-watch. There are several distinct stereotypes of Marina Housewife. (Note this is probably similar to the Marin Housewife stereotype, where Marin is an extremely wealthy county just across the Golden Gate Bridge with lots of bored, wealthy women having affairs with their pool boys.)


1.) The Stay-at-home Mom.

The Marina is almost entirely populated by stay-at-home mums. They're recognizable by their black yoga capri pants, running shoes /sneakers, and polarfleece jackets. Baseball caps are optional. Sunglasses are mandatory, even inside. Ipod and Louis Vitton handbag/ purse, also mandatory. Children are toted around in a status pram, or in a little wagon with seats. Yes. Really. It can fit two children and one small dog.

2.) The Nanny.

The Nanny is often Hispanic or Chinese, and has a blue-eyed, blonde-haired baby. Otherwise, it can be hard to tell. The test is: if the eye colour and hair colour match, it's the mother. If not, it's the nanny. The Nanny has not much to do all day than look after her charge(s), so she takes the kid(s) shopping. Often she takes her mother along.

3.) The Housewife.

Same exercise-esque outfit as the Stay-At-Home Mom, but without the baby. Often has the small dog though. Wears sunglasses regardless of weather. Mandatory iPod and Louis Vitton purse. When I mention to them, "Oh these pants are great for yoga," they nod approvingly and talk about how they already have about 5 pairs just for yoga. Commonly seen jogging across street when the traffic lights change. Life seems to be all about exercising.

4.) The Jet-Setting Traveller.

Again, mandatory Louis Vitton handbag. Pearls. Fake tan. Is going to Greece next week and totally needs something to wear on the beach. Goes through about 20 pairs of bikinis without finding the right one. Spots the perfect one just as she's leaving the store and asks for it to be put on hold so she can come in again tomorrow and try it all over again.

Two which are not part of the above set, but still very common in the Marina:

5.) The Working Professional.

She wears glasses, heels and red lipstick and talks on her cellphone constantly. She doesn't have time to actually try the clothes on, so simply grabs what she likes then returns them when they don't fit. It's her lunch hour, you see.

6.) The Doting Dad.

The Dad has been dragged into the store (it sells chiefly lingerie) for a male opinion and to look after the kids while the harried housewife mother tries on the clothes. He sits gingerly on the chairs provided as if too much exposure will make him want to wear the clothing. (This also applies to the Boyfriend.)

He is totally oblivious to the wave of destruction the sprog leaves in its wake. He doesn't spot the dangers of glass bottles just above child height, overspritzing of perfumes onto tiny hands, or understand why pulling clothing off every shelf at almost-ground level could be a bad thing - after all, the store assistants have nothing better to do than to talk to his wonderful child all day, right? Yes, sweetie, they are giant dolls. No, you can't dress them up.

Finally the harried mother comes out and snatches away the child from whatever destruction it is currently causing, and distracts it with talk of food.

Optional Accessories:
  • Small cute furry dog. Or large furry dog. The chief part is the furry. But not in handbags - that's just too San Jose/LA tacky.
  • Constant talk on cellphone to friend at all times. The Post Office here actually has a sign which says, "Please refrain from cellphone use during transactions."
  • Surly college-age daughter / older mother to watch and silently judge.
  • Bottle of vitamin water. For the jogging, of course.
In their defense, I must say that most of the women I meet here are absolutely lovely. They're also more financially savvy and actually think about what they're buying, with what, and how much it costs. But, it's hilarious sometimes. Disclaimer: all of the examples are based on a conglomerate of people, and not someone specifically. Except for the example below.

And kudos to the mother who only gives her kids the GameBoys / PSPs when they go out. They sat in a line on the floor of the shop and didn't move or even speak. Fantastic.

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