Sunday, May 30, 2004


Providence presents itself well, at least in spring and summer, when brilliant landscapes and dramatic Waterfire events make one forget its ongoing corruption problems and the crack habit nibbling at the edges of its downtown.

But in keeping with my tradition of critiquing saplings to avoid the grandeur of a forest, I found one thing worth ribbing the city about (that is, aside from the cutesy references to being “downcity” as opposed to “downtown”): Where Westminster and Eddy streets meet, visitors will be thrilled to find a store conveniently combining the wares of Dress Barn and Dress Barn Woman -- which implies what? That plain ol’ Dress Barn is for men?

Actually, Dress Barn is for females and Dress Barn Woman is a coy way of marketing to the “plus-size market,” or females wearing sizes 14 to 24. But this doesn’t impress me, because I have a tendency to sneer at any commerce that sells the delicate and precious by transplanting it into the cold and industrial: The Cheesecake Factory. Lingerie Mart Warehouse. The Dress Barn.

It’s like, why not eat tonight at, you know, The Souffle Sweatshop?

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