The one thing that I always wonder about is how do people persevere on The Island. As Islanders become frugal consumers (meaning that they order their stuff via internet) it is impossible to imagine that businesses on the Island do survive . However, since the constant chant is that esto ha cambiado muchíííísimo and at the risk of being mugged on the streets, I decided to document two of the many exclusive plazascomerciales so that you can be witness of all of the “action.”
Something Islanders are known for is their inability to do something for themselves or the more popular term: cogerlo suave. Of course when Islanders come to NYC a dar una trabajaíta, they find themselves shocked at the notion that in The City you actually have to not only work hard, but be efficient, sharp, punctual or you get the The Donald. I have heard uno que otro Islander say that allá se trabaja demasiado when speaking of the work dynamic in The States. But the pinnacle of Island laziness is the merger of lethargy and the Olympic gold of the cogerlo suave jobs: Gift Wrapping.
Gift wrapping is a win-win trade. The Islander, too lazy to wrap his own gifts, will drop off a box full of bottles for los clientes, toys for los ahijados, and cariñitos for the angelitos. In turn, la muchacha que envuelve gets paid for a hobby that is hardly a job, although Islanders consider it a talent in it of itself.
Gift wrapping starts with the selection of gift paper. This requires a tremendous amount of time and consideration for you have to answer the pre-wrapping questionnaire about the gift receiver: ¿Para hembra o varón? ¿Adulto o niño? ¿Liso o estampado? ¿Con brillo o sin brillo? After a good fifteen minutes, the gift wrapper then proceeds to “measure” the exact amount of paper to be used. This is done by unfurling some paper off the roll, placing the box on the uncut piece, folding the paper over the box, and then assessing whether or not she will cut. Upon her approval (which involves retracting the extra paper or unfurling some more) the gift-wrapper will cut the piece of measured paper. She will then carefully and painstakingly begin wrapping origami style, cautiously folding and delicately placing small amounts of tape on the gift, stopping at intervals to contemplate if the process is going well. This will take about twenty minutes. Then comes the placing of the ribbon or la moña. Ribbons are not ready-made, so you should feel very special that you will get a custom-made ribbon based on yet another questionnaire. ¿De qué color quiere la cinta? ¿Cómo la quiere, un lazo o una moña? ¿De uno o dos colores? ¿La quiere rizada?Once you have answered all of these questions, the gift-wrapper will once again ever so delicately make a moña of about twenty buclés, again stopping at crucial intervals to make sure that the process is going as expected. One false move, and the gift wrapper will quickly toss the half-made moña to make a new one. Of course, this does not happen to veteran gift-wrappers. Finally and ceremoniously the gift-wrapper ties the ribbon onto the gift, fixing each individual buclé, splitting and curling the extra ribbon which result in about ten to fifteen individual curled tendrils of ribbon. The wait has been worthwhile because what Islanders hope for is that the receiver mesmerizes on the wrapping so, that she will forget how cheap the gift inside is.
Another day of Island life observed. I hope the cold isn’t hitting you guys too hard, but just in case, I send you some Dom-York love laced with some Anís del Mono. Oh! and a very special shout-out to my Eurodoms, Phillydoms, Bostondoms, and D.C.doms! Thanks for following!
As the last stop on the A train says… “At Long Last.” I was hoping to do a daily travelogue, but at a whopping US$6.00 for snail Internet per/day, I think I’ll keep it sporadic. I will not do much writing about what I’ve seen so far. I’ll let the NualaCam speak for itself. Until the next entry, keep it warm Dom-Yorks in NY, and keep it patient Yorkies on the Island.
Thanks to the age of technology, I am able to send a very special greeting to my dear Domi-York readers. May your holiday season be filled with health, prosperity, but most importantly, the continued patience to deal with Islanders.
Last year, my Suit Yourself piece was the cause of much debate. Islanders and Dom Yorks alike were immersed in the discussion regarding my apparent “need” to fit in Dominican society, hence the diversified wardrobe. The harsh reality is when we visit the Island, Yorkies such as myself must always be en guarde for the damned if you do and damned if you don’t mindset, in Island lingo la mentalidad de la perra de Dora. If you wear whatever style you want, you run the risk of getting some kind of unsolicited opinion about your attire (to your face or behind your back). Then again if you decide to follow protocol and dress according to what is customary on the Island, you are misconstrued as pretentious, pompous, and pedantic.
Last year’s touchstone outfits were meant to mirror certain occasions that are part of a Domi-York’s itinerary. This year, the stakes are much higher. With my travel reservation in hand and tons of invitations in place, I need to reinvent myself as the Barbie doll of Dominican Yorks (snide remarks sold separately).
Vintage Dream Nuala
Everyone in my inner circle knows that I am a sucker for vintage. This gold brocade dress from the sixties with Badgley Mischka open-toe satin pumps will be the talk of Las Doñas de Piantini. I anticipate they will comment with nostalgia the days when as single women, they wore such dresses before trading them for their standard married woman attire comprised of linen pants and blusas bordadas.
Stepford Wife Nuala
The time will inevitably come when once again my mom will drag me to visit her old time circle of friends porque hay que cumplir. Therefore I have to wear my watercolor Banana Republic dress and Steve Madden nude Mary Janes that showcase my “wife potential” para que vean que las muchachas que se crían fuera también son decentes. After five minutes of air-kissing Las Doñas, my phone will strategically ring with the important message that I am being picked-up and whisked away to la Zona Colonial.
Gala Affair Nuala
Word has it that I might be attending an important benefit. But even if I weren’t, one should always have that just-in-case formal ensemble, no vaya a ser cosa que me inviten a una boda y no tenga ropa con qué asistir. ¡Qué vergüenza! Since my silk Escada gown and Michael Kors Italian heels were good enough to attend a wedding at Le Cirque, I only hope they appease the La Marina de La Romana crowd.
Avant Guard Nuala
No NYC girl wardrobe is complete without a who-the-hell-does-she-think-she-is outfit. The Balmain sleeves on this H&M daring mini-dress and Max Azria satin stilettos will surely have Islanders’ stare in check.
Some time ago, while on the Island with my dad, it was reported to me that someone had said “pero Don Fulano viene siempre con el mismo reloj todos los años.” To what I respond that a watch is indeed an investment. My dad’s 18k gold watch with an alligator strap more than suffices the need to own a dozen Guess watches for show purposes. But I guess my Dominicano Ausente dad who has lived in The City for forty years forgot that on the Island it’s not about investment, but more about inventory. Needless to say that I will simply have to make do with my Bill Blass leather bag, my Fendi watch, my Kate Spade wallet and my Tiffany iphone leather case. Islanders will just have to deal with the monotony of my carrying around the same accessories throughout the trip.
Of course, there are many more outfits already packed in my bag. But they are of lesser importance because they pertain to lesser affairs attended by individuals of a lesser social sphere as deemed by la crema y nata of the Island. Once again I will be reporting on the festivities upon landing. Happy Holidays and easy on the brandy Alexanders!
Nota Importante: Ladies, if you absolutely must blend in, my advice to you wear flared jeans, wedge sandals, a Karla Reid cotton top and call it a day. For the gentlemen, a checkerboard shirt, washed or white extra-tight jeans, moccasins with no socks, and a full head of gel will suffice.