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Ciara O’Connor

Lily Collins in Emily In Paris

Ciara O'Connor

Ciara O'Connor

Ciara O'Connor

Ciara O'Connor

Ciara O’Connor Opinion TBH: Serious shoppers know there are thrills to be found in a trip to supermarket, chemist or hardware store

The pandemic has seen so much of our identities slowly wear away, or crumble all at once like a chalky cliff face into the sea. But there is one place where our autonomy remains, where we can still express ourselves: essential retail. Without workplaces, pubs, places to go, our cheap thrills have been cut off at the source or forced into the home, where they become merely cheap and no longer thrilling. There’s been no ambiguity for those who love clubbing, for example: they had to go cold turkey. But recreational shoppers have been in a strange limbo. Yes, the obvious thrills are forbidden (bookshops, gift shops, TK Maxx) but serious shoppers know that there’s dopamine to be wrung out of a trip to the supermarket, the chemist, even a hardware store. Here’s the essential shopping that has made me feel alive this week. Fabric conditioner: I know I’m not the only one who, beforetimes, would try on things in clothes shops that I knew I’d never buy, just to see what it would be like (oh! to be somebody else). Now, I mentally caress the bottles of softener — you can look, but don’t touch — the undulating curves of the slutty little black ones which claim to be the work of perfumers. What kind of laundress am I today? What kind of woman am I today? Am I a spring-awakening basic bitch (the Coco Mademoiselle of softeners) or a seasonal spring meadows, straight-up bitch? There are scents that have become completely abstracted from scent itself, but somehow I know what they mean: chic, sassy, happy. They seem a bit literal, like a ‘feminist’ T-shirt or a leopard-print midi skirt. And I’m not sure sass is what I want from my fabric softener — from a limescale-removing spray or a feather duster perhaps, but not my fabric softener. I’ve been staring at the tropical wall for so long that somebody gently asks whether I require assistance: “Sweetie,” I don’t say, “You have no idea.” Screw it, I’ll get one that smells like pink. CDs: Seeing those weirdly plastic-wrapped squares of useless nostalgia in Dealz is a travesty on par with ancient dogs up for adoption. It’s difficult seeing something that you know has brought so much joy (that has more joy left to give!) being abandoned: Robbie Williams (Swing When You’re Winning); Travis; Stereophonics; Red Hot Chilli Peppers (they deserve better than this). I am surprised Shania Twain hasn’t been snapped up by a TikTokker as a piece of vintage ephemera. I’d get one for the car, but there’s nowhere to drive.   

Khloe Kardashian in a still from her Instagram account last week

Actor Blake Lively, pictured with husband Ryan Reynolds in 2019, knows how to tame her frizz

'There have been constant reminders for veteran grievers: a huge fist punches through time to grab you around the waist and pull you back to the very first day.'

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