After our last excursion, we went home happy and content—me with $10 earrings I snatched up on sale, Valerie with a $19 ring, also on a couldn't-pass-up markdown. But more importantly, we started analyzing our pheromone high. It wasn't our purchases that made us giddy with glee, it was the experience of looking at lovely things—the shape and drape of an exquisitely tailored jacket, the smooth, buttery feel of a gorgeous handbag. It's not that we had to own these things to appreciate and enjoy them, but we did love talking about them all the way home.
Then by coincidence, I found the explanation as I read Lance Hosey's recent piece, "Why we love beautiful things," in the New York Times. OK, maybe I'm taking a big leap here, but stay with me.
In the article, Hosey builds a scientific case for why we are attracted to good design. He says studies reveal that the sight of an attractive product can trigger the part of the brain that governs hand movement, making us instinctively reach out for pretty things.
I can buy that theory, and it actually makes me feel better that there's arty appreciation at work here, and not just retail lust when I touch and feel my way around a store, pulling out a dress whose lines and color move me or fingering a shoe for its graceful, sculptural shape.
Now comes the dangerous part. Hosey also says that so-called "magical proportions" and shapes can draw us in too, including the simple form of a credit card! So before you pull yours out to buy that thing of beauty, count to that nice round number 10 to be sure it's arty appeal is not just a fleeting, transitory thing that will give you buyer's remorse tomorrow!