Hello, sister, fellow goddess, owner of similar luxury overalls. Thank you for entering my boutique. Did you think it was a coffee shop from the outside? Ha-ha! How silly. That bistro table is there just to display small rings for your fingers, even smaller rings for your toes, and some impossibly small metal hoops that look like rings, to hold and wonder about. The chairs? Simply ambient. Welcome.
Looking for a Mother’s Day gift, are we? Beautiful. I’m certain we have a body oil, facial oil, or oil-adjacent serum that will make your mother feel like the queen she is. Don’t tell me anything about her, it’s simply not necessary. We have just the thing for her, because there are only five acceptable gifts now! Please select from candle, hanging plant, iPhone accessory, ostensibly feminist art item, or linen. I’m kidding! There’s so much more. Kind of.
Why don’t we begin by taking a deep sniff of the air? After all, the shopping experience begins in the nostrils. Once the delicate combination of rose elixir and culturally appropriated herbs hits those olfactory receptors, it’s time to shop! We invite you into the store nose-first, then further invite you to give us $37 for a bundle of dried leaves tied together with what might honestly be floss.
Now: trays. Your mum might have told you she doesn’t want anything, or that she’d rather just spend quality time with you, but she’s lying. She wants a small ceramic tray with the moon on it, to hold earrings, coins and other woman’s trinkets. She wants it to say “dream” in calligraphy. She needs it to be made by a “artisan” whose company name promises witchcraft and then does not fulfil that promise in any way. Your mother laboured for hours to bring you into the world; the least you can do is fulfil her every wish by giving her a small shell to place a necklace in!
If dishes featuring “Scorpio-inspired” watercolours aren’t for you, first of all: apologise to us. Then move along to our area of delicate glass bottles. What’s in there? Tinctures! Also essences, loosely defined “potions,” and of course, herbaceous toothpaste that does not work. This is an apothecary, after all! Sure, you’re not going to buy a special Japanese sponge for your own face, but isn’t it something your mother might possibly, theoretically want? They always say a good gift is something she’d never buy for herself, and your mum probably didn’t even know you could make a face cream out of shark stem cells.
Not into the unguents? Then what do you want? Do I need to get out the dictionary here? “Gift shopping” (verb): when a 30-year-old female considers a plant held in pottery.
The agreement is you come into the store, you look at raffia hats, you spend $175 (Dh642) on wooden shoes that seem comfortable but somehow are not. Your mother accepts them supportively, then gets intimidated and puts them in the closet. That is how it works. It’s like, you made the choice to come into this store, then walked right past our signature organic salad spoons and didn’t even touch the Ruth Bader Ginsburg-themed tea towels.
I see what’s happening. You’re one of those people who just wants to buy a “normal present” that wasn’t “made by vegan farm animals.” Maybe you’d rather celebrate your mother with something functional, rather than with “some whimsical objects to place around her desk and nightstand and take pictures of, I guess,” is that right? We’d all like to go to a store that offers more than one size of one kind of T-shirt, but I’m just not sure you’re being realistic.
Why not grab a key ring that says “night bae, dream festival” on it. What does that mean? Who cares. Wrap it in some reclaimed paper and you’ve got a present on your hands! Your mum’s going to look amazing in that raw denim apron. That will be $900.
—Monica Heisey is a writer and comedian from Toronto.