I can go into any drugstore in the known world and buy condoms, athlete’s foot creme, Vagisil and tampons, and feel not a jot of shame. If they sold horse lube and bananas, I could buy those in concert and not worry that anyone was judging me (although I would certainly make note of such an unusual drugstore!) I could buy with a pregnancy test and a pack of wire coat hangers and make direct eye contact with the clerk the whole time.* I am too damn old and too damn busy to worry about anyone’s opinion of my sex/fungal/menstrual life, and also I know the great secret of retail, which is that if you’re not an asshole, they couldn’t pick you out of a line-up thirty seconds after you leave the store.
But god help me, the stamping aisle of the craft store still fills me with intense shame. I worry someone will think I’m a scrapbooker. I fight an intense urge to grab passers-by and yell “No! It’s ok! I’m a REAL ARTIST!” which is probably not true and certainly horribly judgmental and anyway, it’s not like we have ID cards with our height, weight, favorite media, and yearly income from art printed on them to prove it (and all that would prove is that we are commercially viable, not that it’s any good, and god knows, Martha Stewart’s net worth makes my operation look like a lemonade stand with the “E”s written backwards, so that’s no proof anyway.)
I know this makes me a bad person. Even thinking such things is dreadful of me. Scrapbookers are often very lovely people who make very pretty things and are certainly much better with brads and glue sticks than I am and the line between scrapbook and assemblage art is thin and the line between good and bad assemblage art seems to mostly hinge on how ironically you use vintage photographs, and so I slink out of the craft store clutching my serif lowercase alphabet with numbers that I need for this really great idea that I have already realized is WRONG WRONG WRONG WRONG and I am going to do it HORRIBLY WRONG and oh god, how dare I call myself an artist, at least the scrapbookers have nice photos of family vacations adorned with hilarious pre-printed thought-bubbles asking who farted, all I have are bunnies covered in zeros and why didn’t I become a medical test subject when I had the chance and how, in this day and age when I can buy condoms and horse lube without shame, can I still be such a snob?
*Oh, relax, I wouldn’t DO anything with them, other than hang clothes. I don’t consider my uterus to be a user-serviceable part, and would make an appointment with my doctor forthwith.