“Are those real or fake?”
I clapped my hands over my mouth after the horrifying question had already flown off my tongue. You don’t just ask someone if her flowers are real or not.
If I were a less-rude person I might have tried to quietly determine their mortality by digging my thumbnail into the leaves. If it left a sappy mark, I’d have my answer. Since I was raised in a literal barn, however, I accidentally vocalized what the rest of us were thinking and thus my poor manners exposed the flowers and my friend.
Usually I can spot a faux orchid from a mile away (pro tip: if they’re dead, they’re real — no one can keep those asshole flowers alive). But I wanted to be sure because these fakes were particularly convincing. Their bright white petals stretched outward while the pink and yellow centers puckered up like lemon-faces, yet it was their decidedly un-plastic green stems that tricked me.
My next question was, “Where did you get them?”
Fake flowers aren’t anything to be ashamed of. I, for one, am not waking up at 5 AM to visit the local flower market so I can pick out the freshest begonias of the season. (Mostly because I have no clue what a begonia is, also because I’m not spending more on plants than dinner.) But for some reason there seems to be a quiet stigma attached to them…similar to the idea of wearing a knockoff designer bag from NYC’s notorious Canal street.
Maybe it’s because floral arrangements are currently “the new food” of the fashion world — a trend I’ve gleaned via Instagram wherein peony center pieces are now posted with fervency once reserved for macarons. And it makes sense when you consider fashion and flowers’ similarities: Instagram being one, the fact that trends and flowers die almost as quickly as they’re posted, being number two. Both are for pure aesthetic pleasure; they’re extensions of emotion and mood. To style a bouquet, Leandra pointed out, takes just as much skill as a perfectly layered outfit. And mark my words — there are judges of taste in both arenas.
Will the Suzy Menkes of the flower world please stand up.
My own fauxrchid anxiety stemmed from that of an old boss. She was very, very chic and devastatingly stylish, and she cringed at the thought of orchids’ fabric variety. When she had her second baby and I wanted to send her flowers in congratulations, the amount of panic that went into selecting the right arrangement felt as if I’d forgotten to study for my final exam in botany.
I clearly failed.
Upon my suggestion of a certain bloom-on-bloom-pairing, the florist assisting me raised her eyebrow so high that it was almost as if I’d asked her: “Your boobs. Are they real, or are they fake?”
I ended up dropping 200 dollars on my boss (who was worth it) and a bouquet that may have very well not been. Because while I can determine various shades of runway green, my own thumb remains a rather pathetic flesh tone. I’d love to be the woman practically drowning in vases of cherry blossoms and tulips, but I’m probably a lot more apt to splurge on designer shoes, all while relishing in the fact that I got my orchids from Zara.