On February 3, three things I enjoy immensely will have a spectacular little get-together. Over-priced clothes, well-dressed women and contact sports will meld seamlessly into a riotously (literally) frothy confection at the annual Mario’s Super Bowl sale. Mario’s is a Seattle and Portland boutique that carries a fairly comprehensive selection of over-priced designer ready-to-wear: Pucci, Louboutin, Lanvin, Prada, etc., etc. Once a year, they shovel all of their sale items out onto racks, and all of the sale items are half off the last marked price. Even if you have no intention of buying anything, the spectacle is impressive. Women gather like shoe-hungry hyenas outside the store before opening. The really focused ones actually run in, creating a high heeled, lip-glossed stampede of shoe hunters (and given the three-deep pack chewing and growling over the shoes when those of us who walk come in, I'm going to venture that it's always the shoe hyenas who run) single-mindedly pursuing chic prey. Women strip, mid-store, to try good finds on (husbands and boyfriends who have been dragged along look at the ceiling with mortified expressions. They have no idea where they should look, or what they’re supposed to do).If you end up in a shared dressing room (actually a good idea, if the large dressing rooms are open, unless you are so painfully modest that you must have your own, in which case expect to wait at least 45 minutes for one, while staggering under the mountain of clothes you will be trying on), you will have instant dressing room buddies whose names you will not know, but all willing to chip in their two cents on how things look on you, and whether the item you’ve donned does good things for your boobs, butt or legs. And they will expect you to do the same for them. Sometimes, you’ll hear a grim, “that looks amazing on you. Are you going to buy it? If you don’t, can I try it on next?” Dressing room buddies obviously get first dibs on good discards, because they were nice enough to let you know that the Dolce bustier, while a great color, really flattened your boobs, making you look like a tranny who forgot to stuff her bra (“if you were bigger in the chest, hon, it might be all Salma Hayek, but it just mushes them into little pancakes. And you know, hon, you don’t have little pancakes.”).
Sales women walk around (with whistles, which they periodically blow) saying “Pucci dress in 42! Who wants it? Pucci dress in 42!” until someone runs up, nearly tackles her, and wrests away the dress. It is hysterical to see well-groomed, well-shod women jostling, angling, pushing, shouting across the store to their buddies and generally acting like soccer hooligans. And since it’s all come down to simply expensive (look, half off the last marked price of anything Oscar de la Renta still ain’t cheap), you may as well try it on, just to see. And, if you show up at opening, you’ll still have enough time to make it home to flop on the couch and ogle Tom Brady, while happily clutching your designer booty.The bruises from getting checked into the outerwear rack will seem well worth it.