To Do (in) Life List Item # 72. Wear the mink
One of the first things I noticed when I moved from San Francisco to Munich were the furs. Whereas, at that time in San Francisco, few would have dared venture out on the street in fur without a bodyguard in tow, the women in Munich were fearlessly strutting about. Young and old, not-so-poor to the very rich, as soon as it was cold out, they were all decked head to toe.
Once I got over the shock of realizing that there were still places in the world unimpressed by PETA terrorist tactics, I also saw (and experienced) the logical reasoning behind it all: it got really damn cold in Germany.
It has to be relatively easy to shame starlets and fashionistas in California into turning away from furs when it’s pretty much too warm to wear them anyway, but it’s a whole other thing to try and do it in a country where you can still freeze to death on the street at noon. Although too expensive today to be considered utilitarian, furs are warm.
It still took me years to decide to ask my mother about my grandmother’s mink. It’d been hanging neglected in the back of a closet for over 35 years.
A hand-me-down from an older sister that married well, it was beautiful and always a little sad there, as if it knew it may never be allowed outside of the house again. But I either never had time, didn’t have space or couldn’t figure out when I would ever wear such a thing, so I didn’t pursue it.
Then after a few years of idle threats, this June my mother finally marched through customs in high summer with the coat over her arm. The right opportunity to wear it didn’t present itself until the last weekend in January, when the temperature dropped, tons of snow fell all over Germany and I found myself about to leave for an over night trip up north to attend a birthday dinner in a nice restaurant without a decent winter coat that I would be caught dead in.
So I decided to wear something dead instead. Here’s how it looked.
This was taken while at home. To be honest, we were too distracted to take pictures on the trip. Furs are rather scarce up north, it’s more of a Bavarian thing, so Oliver was worried the entire time that I would be attacked by hippies. He busied himself scanning faces for signs of aggression and let documentation of the moment slip.
For the record, I support the ethical treatment of animals. I also equally support the ethical treatment of people. This coat was a loved status symbol for my grandmother, who didn’t have too many nice things. It’s a shame to waste it, so I’m wearing it. This one is checked but not crossed off the list, I’ll keep looking for further opportunities to take it out for a stroll.
Oh, and the feeling? Really wonderful actually. The luxurious weight and smooth swish of it when I walked was delicious. Ooh, yes I could get used to that feeling.