Back-to-School in Three Acts: Act 2 - The Mom Coffee (Battle of the Designer Handbag)

Act Two: The Mom Coffee

(INT. Over-the-top house - morning)

Ah, yes, the back-to-school drama known as the “Mom Coffee.” This is where Mrs. Simply Splendid mom gives you the code to her gated community and throws open the doors to her McMansion to welcome all the mothers back into the warm embrace of the P.T.A. Almost every mom attends because if you don’t, well, the chances are you’ll be gossiped about with vigorous delight. I’m talking work schedules are shifted and babysitters are called for the four and under set because it’s a no kids allowed affair. I’m serious, don’t you dare bring your newborn nestled in a Baby Bjorn carrier and think you can’t get away with it. Mrs. Simply Splendid will give you the stink eye, a tsk, tsk, a deep sigh and then say, “Oh, what a beautiful baby. It’s a shame you can’t stay. No kids also means no babies. Didn’t you know that. I’m so sorry. But, I’m sure this little one will be happier at home. Isn’t it just a little early to have her out and about anyway?” Her parting shot, “So, when do you think you’ll start working on losing that baby weight? I recommend Pilates and it looks like your going to need some serious cardio.” (then in a fake stage whisper she says) “That’s the fat burner, you know.”

The Mom Coffee is the equivalent of fashion week for the suburban mom. There’s a handful that show up ready to walk that mom runway. In this case the runway is the path from the crystal chandeliered foyer to the marbled floor cathedral ceiling living room, to the Country French, Sub Zero frig, 6 burner Viking range kitchen and then a turn that loops you through the lodge inspired family room where you check out the other moms and then you turn again to settle yourself back in the living room. Quite a few moms get all spanxed up for this event. I don’t know about you, but I think wearing full body spanx at 8:15 in the morning is a little distasteful. Isn’t full body spanx for evening wear only? The Mom Coffee is also where ladies entertain themselves by counting the summer plastic surgery procedures. It usually goes something like this: boob job, boob job, botox, yikes, too much botox, eye lift (hmm, wasn’t she a little young for that) restylane, eww, that looks a restydon’t and so on. The highlight of the soiree is the purse parade. Anyone who has scored a designer handbag is all ready to show it off. Now, you know who has a new, thousand dollar plus purse because they never set it down. The handbag stays securely gripped in their well manicured hands or dangling off their shoulder. All the better for them to fondle with and for you to see.

I’d like to say that I don’t play the Mom Coffee game and show up in my day pajamas (Target track pants for you new readers), a t-shirt, a ponytail and tennis shoes. But, I was raised in the South and the invitation denotes that I put some effort into my appearance. I do the shower and groom and show up in my wide leg Gap pants, (An end of the season steal for just $12.00. I was so excited. My heart was racing as I pulled them over my thighs and wonder of wonder they fit and, wait for it, I didn’t have to do the turbo gut suck in.) my Ann Taylor Loft blouse and my Kohl’s sandals. I will say I don’t participate in the purse parade because the day I spend 4 figures on a purse is the day that my husband will schedule my competency hearing.

I enter the Mom Coffee purse-less with my car keys in my pants pocket adding a little thigh bulk I really don’t need. I will share that I”m one of the only mothers that eat at the Mom Coffee. Yes, I walk in the door head straight for the dining room table and have myself a merry little carbfest. I’m just a girl that can’t say no to coffee cake. After very adroitly piling a double-decker of baked goods on my plate and politely stuffing my face I survey the room for friends. (Yes, shockingly a few brave souls claim me as a friend.) First though I have to say howdy to the hostess Mrs. Simply Splendid. She has a maid, get this, dressed in a maid outfit, you know, the black dress with the little white apron, opening the door for guests. Hello, It’s not 1932 and we don’t live on Park Ave. I find Mrs. Simply Splendid and comment on the maid outfit. I very innocently ask if she got the costume from the Halloween Superstore that just opened up in the abandoned Wal Mart? “Really,” she says all breathy, “How gauche.” Well, that I am, so what to do, but smile and continue my promenade through the house to find a friendly face. Before I even make it to the kitchen the P.T.A. president rings a bell to quiet the crowd so she can say a few welcoming words. Right when she gets to the part where she begins hitting everybody up for money someone shrieks “Bitch!” from the back of the living room.

I’m thinking awesome a middle-aged chick fight and follow the fracas while trying to figure out how to work my phone’s video camera. Oh dear, alert Milan, one mom has asked another mom if her Prada is a “Frada”. Now, that’s hitting below the couture belt accusing a woman of trying to pass off a fake Prada as the real deal. In the big picture of life, really who cares. But, in this slice of suburbia, right at this moment, I care. (Shame on me, I know.) It’s like Real Housewives live and uncensored. I give another mom an elbow, when that doesn’t work I step on her toes so I can move closer to the action. Drat, no hair extension pulling - yet. The argument started when one mom pointed out to the Prada carrying purse mom that her Prada did not have the characteristics of a real Prada bag. Apparently those characteristics are the Prada logo plate which this bag had, but it was huge. Advantage - Prada Purse mom when she shot back that her bag was vintage and that the logo plates was bigger back in the day. Oh, I liked that, good comeback, I’m thinking. Then the accusing Mom blurts out, “Vintage, as in outlet mall, maybe.” Ouch and then I thought to myself really there’s a Prada outlet, road trip! Mrs. Simply Splendid and the P.T.A. president step into the fray to try to restore some order to the meeting. The president says she’s an expert on Prada and volunteers to judge the authenticity of the purse. There’s not a sound in the room. (Except for me eating another slice of coffee cake I grabbed on my way to the action. I couldn’t help myself it has an incredible brown sugar crumble topping.) The President takes the purse and begins her examination. She’s really taking her verification duties seriously even going over the stitching inside the purse lining.

I look away from the purse C.S.I. team and see a friend across the room looking distressed. She mouths “do something” to me. Now, about this friend. She is so good and so kind that light emanates from within. She probably glows in the dark. Why she chooses to be my friend, who knows? I think I could possibly be a charity case for her or a project to see if she can heal my evil ways. That said, I would do anything for her and she’s visibly upset about how the alleged Frada purse owner is being treated. So, this is where I chime in and interrupt the handbag forensics, “Ah, excuse me, but I know for a fact that the purse is a vintage Prada. It’s from the 80’s. You know big hair, big should pads, big Prada logo.” Mrs. Simply Splendid looks over her shoulder at me and sneers, “How would you know what a vintage Prada purse looks like?” “Well, of course,” I say, “I’m no authority on designer leather goods, but my mother-in-law has one just like it and it’s so valuable she’s left it to my sister-in-law in her will.” The mother-in-law line was the perfect fib. If I had said mother, no one, taking one look at me, would have believed that I had grown up in a household with a woman who took a Prada to the Piggly Wiggly. My mother-in-law on the other hand lives (thank you higher power) 2,000 miles away and no one has ever met her. It’s conceivable that I could have married “above my” station and have a mother-in-law that’s a purse connoisseur. In reality her idea of high cotton is the Burlington Coat Factory and I totally love that about her. The kicker - the line about leaving it to my sister-in-law. Everyone in the room can see my mother-in-law leaving me her vintage Tupperware, but a Prada, not so much.

The Prada/Frada purse owner takes my statement as the chance to grab her purse back out of the P.T.A. President’s hands, she does a head swing to the mom who challenged her handbag’s orgin of birth and looks her straight in the eye and says, “jealous?” It was so perfect I started clapping my hands and abruptly stopped when I quickly realized no one else was. The Frada/Prada mom then gracefully exits the house swinging her purse. It was as if her handbag was giving everyone the middle finger. I don’t know this mom, but, I think I like her, a lot. And this my friends is just one of the reasons why you don’t dare miss the Mom Coffee.

Tomorrow's installment: Act III - The Room Mom (It will be posted late in the day on Friday. How dare my job interrupt my blogging.)

*Thanks for visiting Snarky Town. To stay up-to-date on new Snarky postings you can go to Facebook type in Snarky and the Suburbs and then click on like. I twitter on occasion @snarkynthesuburbs.

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