It’s pitch dark by maybe 4pm and unfairly cold out. You know what that means—it’s hunting season! Ok, the average New Yorker may not be focused on obliterating Bambi and chasing wabbits, but we’re not talking about the food chain, we’re talking about the perennial excuse to buy gear that was not originally meant for us city folk.
Utilitarian looking clothes that are modified for yuppies are always bad. Case in point: cargo pants that zip off to make shorts should be illegal. On the other hand, high-tech gear made for burly, self-sufficient woodsmen are delightful when appropriated by oblivious girls. At least, according to us they are.
I got an early start this summer when I found myself in a tourist-y beach town in Maine for four days. Since the restaurants closed around nine, I decided that a 45-minute drive to the LL Bean store in Freeport would make for perfect post-lobster nightlife. The LL Bean flagship store, which consists of two buildings, is, inexplicably, open 24 hours a day. On one side of the parking lot, there is the giant emporium complete with an indoor pond where real live trout swim, perhaps fooled into thinking they’re in their natural habitat. Further perpetuating the myth that you are in the wild is a rock on which shoppers can test out their climbing shoes. Clearly, I had no interest in climbing a rock—real or fake—or perusing an endless array of khaki pants and mock turtle necks in colors like “soft mauve”.
Over three million people visit the flagship every year, but it’s safe to assume that the majority are interested in the first building, with its familiar apparel for outdoorsy New England types. My focus was on the other shop, which exclusively houses a delectable selection of hunting and fishing gear, including a lovely array of guns and ammo. Of course, I was relegated to a small boy’s section, but I was grateful for even that. This being August, I was wearing a white sundress with lace at the bottom, and it looked so fantastic with a puffy bomber jacket covered in a leaf camouflage that I had to buy it immediately. As I gazed at my ingenious contradiction in the mirror, I realized a rotund, bearded grandpa type was staring at me with great curiosity. I smiled. He asked me where I did my hunting, and I told him New York City. To further confuse him, I picked up a waterproof tote bag from the fishing section, and headed out the door.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on October 25, 2005