What does a nun need leather for? Really, that’s what I asked myself when I saw two nuns in the leather section of our New York store. It’s really not uncommon to see gay men, actresses, models even your average everyday mother or sewer fawning over our leather selection. Heck, we even fawn over it ourselves.
So I did a triple take watching these two nuns – wearing white veils – fingering some suede, specifically some fuchsia suede, the kind of thing you might see on Beyonce’s backside, Madonna’s front side or even Boy George’s wrong side, but never on a woman dressed in a black habit and a white veil.
Naturally, I was curious, as was half the store staff. I mean, the conversation dropped a decibel or two. Everyone, including Swatch who had his ears perched way up, wanted to hear what these nuns – who had to be in their late 20s, early 30s – had to say about exactly what they were doing. I mean honestly, it’s rare we get anyone in the religious life in our store. I could understand one or two slipping into that church down the street, but here? Is Mood Fabrics not the epitome of all that’s wrong in the world? The vapid materialism? The ugly side of capitalism? Do we not contribute to the overstuffed closets (not to mention stashes) of men and women worldwide? I mean Pope Francis hasn’t mentioned Mood Fabrics, let alone New York City in his rants on unbridled consumerism, but I’m just waiting for the day he says something about the fashion in the U.S.A., and suddenly all the cameras, including the ones at Project Runway, will focus on Mood Fabric and the Garment District.
So these nuns, now maybe they don’t directly report to Francis, but you would think they would….I don’t know, I just don’t think they would come to Mood Fabrics, let alone the leather section to shop, don’t you? I understand back in the day there were religious orders that made their living sewing lingerie, but women don’t wear handsewn lacy underthings the way they used to….does that mean women of the cloth now have to survive by sewing leather accessories?
I approached these two women, sweetly and kindly as I can. I really don’t know any nuns. Nobody in my generation does. Nuns, sisters, they’re all the same in my Kindle book. Didn’t Whoopi Goldberg do an ace job playing one in a movie? Or what’s that move that was filmed in New York City with Meryl Streep and that redhead? Doubt, I think it was called?
“Ladies, can I help you with anything?” I said ever so sweetly.
One with eyes so sky blue she will never need any eyeliner looked up. “Oh hello,” she demurely. “We were just wondering what kind of needle and sewing foot you need to sew suede.”
“Is that all?”
“No, not really,” they giggled. “We’ve never sewn with leather, let alone suede. But we were going to sew a —-”
Just then the fire alarm went off. Everyone had to leave the store. Bolts of fabric went flying onto the floor, mothers with toddlers screaming in strollers made a frantic dash for the stairs since we couldn’t use the elevator. Drinks perched on the front counter spilled onto the carpet, I think I slid on a slippery patch and cursed, hoping the nuns wouldn’t hear. Shoppers squeezed down the narrow stairs to flee the premises. I saw the sisters behind me assisting an elderly fashion designer with a walker.
Once the entire store – Swatch included – recongregated across the street to watch the fire trucks pull up, I looked for the nuns. They were nowhere to be seen. I scanned the masses for the fashion designer, who had been wearing a sparkling cobalt number head to toe to go with her sequined sneakers. Nada. I mean, this was mere minutes after I saw all three together.
None of the three reappeared in the store later that day. Even a year later, I’ve yet to see any of these three return to Mood Fabrics. Yet to this day, someone on the staff who was there when the nuns were shopping, nearly every week asks me: “So what did the nuns buy? What were they making?”
Excuse my poor French, but it bugs the h-ll of me that I don’t know the answer. Sometimes late at night when I’ve had too much to drink, I think, “What did those nuns want with that leather?”
On those days, I think maybe I’ve spent a day too many at Mood Fabrics and it’s time for me to enter a religious order.
So I ask you, my dear reader, what were the nuns doing in the leather section that day? What were they going to sew? (Now this is a family-friendly blog, so keep your responses clean, if you know what I mean. If it’s not fit for your Aunt Eunice to read, then don’t even dream of putting it on this site. I thank you and this blog’s moderator thanks you.)
(P.S. This fictional foray was inspired by this blog post by Beautejadore.)