My home is far from luxurious, but everything in it has a purpose and a sense of style. My bathroom, for instance is full of lovely and fragrant soaps, all packaged and stacked neatly upon my vintage wrought iron wall shelf. In the weeks preceding and directly after our marriage, as my husband brought more and more of his things into the apartment, I began to sense a threat to the pervasive cuteness and attractive aesthetic I had been cultivating for some years. Giant bottles of store-brand mouthwash turned up in the bathroom, in the vintage wash bucket I used to store things. Ugly shave cream cans with neon green logos and similar containers advertising their deodorant contents appeared in my bathroom as well.
Not only did these items come in containers that completely violated every aesthetic standard that appeals to me, but they seemed to be made of things that were not entirely natural. I, who was used to buying my toiletries in health food stores and the high-end section of the pharmacy, was suddenly face to face with a lot of things I would never have invited into my home.
And then, there was that one thing of which my husband is a huge fan: the store brand item. I, a name-brand junkie raised in the middle class turned natural foods enthusiast, in addition to liking nice packaging was raised with the “you get what you pay for” credo. Sure, I’d gotten my prescriptions in generic brands, but for my headaches and other maladies, if it wasn’t herbal, it had to be name brand. Suddenly I find myself living in a world of Wal-proxin, Wal-buprofin, and Wal-bourne.
As a coping mechanism, when my husband prepares me a glass of Wal-bourne to help with the symptoms of the cold I got on our honeymoon, I have him pretend it’s the name brand as he gives it to me. Eventually, we begin calling it Gucci-bourne, which of course makes me feel even better. This is fresh on the heels of a New York Times article that we’ve read about a study where a group of participants given a $2.50 a day placebo pill fared significantly better than those given a placebo that cost only 10 cents a day.
My response to this piece of information was “Of course!” And, rather than questioning or trying to re-train my subconscious mind, I figure: why deprive my subconscious mind? A girl can use all the help she can get. Enough of this mind over matter stuff, you can talk to me about that when it doesn’t feel like my sinuses are about to explode from the pressure, in the meantime I’ll take whatever help I can get and $2.50 seems like a small price to pay when I’m feeling sick as a dog.
In the meantime, my husband is in the bathroom gargling with his blue dye-saturated store brand mouthwash, and I am getting ready for a good night’s sleep on our Sealy Postur-pedic mattress with the Tempurpedic memory foam top. I sigh and snuggle in deeper underneath the organic cotton flannel duvet-covered LL Bean down comforter.