Defining our ethics

Saturday afternoon. The Ukrainian and I are at our place du preferee: the Bloomingdale’s Mall aka Westfield on Market St. He had received a gift card to Banana Republic from my parents for his birthday. We accomplished the mission rather quickly as he settled on a subtle summer plaid business shirt. Could we escape the cavernous shopping center without doing any damage to my wallet?

Uhm, no. Not possible. It is verily impossible to go from the Banana Republic to the Market St. exit without walking past Zara — the epitome of affordable European chic with styles straight from the runway (and a better fit than H&M I might add).

“Oooo…let’s go in and have just a look.”

“Just a look?” the Ukrainian asks, doubtful that I can escape the building without a single purchase. I had already fended off his offer to buy me a new shirt at Banana Republic (it was cute, but truly, ridiculously overpriced).

“Yeah, just a look. I just want to see.”

The Ukrainian follows me around Zara. We both point out the things we like, but never do our fingers land on the same item. The Ukrainian is obsessed with the super-tight dress shorts that are hot for summer and my fingers fondle the long chiffon blouses — neither of which could be adequately worn during San Francisco’s always chilly and foggy summer.

And then I see it. The short cropped black motorcycle jacket with studded details that I have always wanted.

“Oooo….look at this.” I run over and finger the soft, supple leather. Like baby skin, it feels. This jacket is the epitome of cool — like way the name Angel is the epitome of cool for a macho boyfriend.

“You can’t wear that. You’re a vegetarian.”

“So?” I ask incredulously. “My shoes are made of leather. You’ve never said anything before.”

“You can’t buy only canvas shoes. They have to be made of leather.”

My fingers continue to caress the soft leather.

“Being a vegetarian means I don’t consume animals. It doesn’t mean I can’t wear them.” I try hard to make my case. But I don’t even bother to look at the price tag.

I know what he really means. We have a wedding to plan. We have other expenses. A new leather jacket is not on the agenda. And yes, it probably would be a bit hypocritical to walk down San Francisco’s militantly vegetarian streets wearing a leather motorcycle jacket simply because it’s cool — not because I ride a motorcycle.

But I do not escape Zara so easily. Zara is full of very cool jackets. Only the one was made of leather. I walk out with this grey little number — justifying it as the perfect summerwear for those foggy summer nights when the rest of the Northern hemisphere is rocking the sheer chiffon blouses and sexy short shorts.

Ukrainian approved. Vegetarian-friendly.

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