In case you haven’t heard, it’s been two months since my girlfriend proposed to me and just one month since I proposed to her. We’ve already settled into engaged life, chosen a wedding date, a venue, a caterer and someone to marry us. It’s amazing what two underemployed lesbians can do with google, an excel chart and two Macs. We even started a couple of wedding registries because apparently when you get hitched, people want to give you stuff. I’m not arguing.
So last night my now fiancée and I stopped by Crate and Barrel to check out some items for our registry in person. It wasn’t until we left that we took a closer look at the brochure and noticed something that caused us to shake our heads vigorously, make strange wounded animal noises and question whether we wanted to register there at all.
Ok, first of all their brochure is filled with images of nothing but young, skinny, straight, heterosexual hipsters. Fine. Not a shocker. But on top of that, each pair of models — I mean, engaged couple — matched each other exactly in skin color and (perceived) ethnicity. A perfectly trendy Asian couple stood hand-in-hand amidst the bedding items. A guy with a goatee and a Fedora wrapped his arm around a dark-haired beauty between potholders and dishcloths. An olive-skinned pair was caught mid-romantic moment in the decor section and a medium brown couple grinned from ear to ear between pasta cookers and double boilers.
This last couple irked me the most because I am so sick of seeing mixed race people clearly used to satisfy the black quota in advertising. I think we all know that if a person’s skin resembles a cup of coffee with about twenty tablespoons of cream, and that person is not an albino, they are probably not one hundred percent black. So if you’re gonna go this tired route, why not throw a couple of espresso-skinned people in there? What are you trying to say, Crate and Barrel? Black people don’t get married? You don’t think their families can afford your sixteen dollar water pitchers?
The best — I mean, worst — part of the whole thing was the cover. In an astounding nod to conventional, mainstream, imperialist, commercial conformity, they slapped a preppy, white couple on the front page. But they decided that it was ok for white couples to have different hair colors, as long as the girl was blonde.
I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that C&B had a few meetings about how to make money off — I mean, appeal to — every race, color and ethnicity in their registry pamphlet. I just can’t believe THIS is what they came up with. Last time I checked interracial marriage was legal, and not that uncommon. And news alert, same sex marriage is now a thing.
When we realized the extent of the distance between C&B’s worldview and ours, we decided that we couldn’t ask our family and friends to spend their money there, nor did we want those artisanal, robin’s egg blue, hand-antiqued plates that badly. No matter how well they matched each other, they didn’t match us.
We are aware that almost every gigantic, national chain store is more interested in profits than people, but here’s a clue: try to fake it. And if your ads look anything like this: try harder.