By Amy Phillips Penn

“I don’t want to own anything until I find a place where me and things go together. I’m not sure where that is but I know what it’s like. It’s like Tiffany’s…That’s right I’m just CRAZY about Tiffany’s.” – Holly Golightly (Breakfast at Tiffany’s)

There’s something so predictably magical about opening that light blue box with a simple ribbon tied to perfection and the Tiffany & Co. insignia.

It glorifies just about everything.

Years ago, I went to see Shakespeare in the Park.

I had a bit of a crush on the lead actor, who was having a miserable time keeping the flies out of his mouth. The lights were on him, and where there were lights, there were flies.

The performance was cut short (I can’t remember if it was because of the swarm or the weather) and was rescheduled.

This time I was prepared to make an impression.

I went up to Tiffany’s and asked if I could buy a large box.

The saleswoman told me they were not for sale.

I think not.

I put on my New York long white boxing gloves, and mentioned that I worked for a society columnist who had written about breakfasts, engagements, and cocktails at Tiffany’s.

Voila! A great blue Tiffany box with an extravaganza of ribbons arrived at no charge.

The next night I went back to the park, with the giant Tiffany box filled with tissues, a card with my phone number in it, and a can of serious bug spray.

At intermission, I handed it to him.

He looked perplexed.

He went back to the stage before I could see him open it.

The next day at work, my boss’s maid told me that some man had called me. She couldn’t remember his name or phone number. That was the end of that, but not the end of Tiffany’s.

I truly love Tiffany’s. Over the years, I’ve been given a trinket or two, and even a wedding band shaped in gold bamboo.

My friend Wendy worked at the Elsa Peretti counter and wore as much Peretti as she may have sold. W loved her.

Peretti was then the rage: the hearts (both silver and gold), the beans, the leather belts with emblems, the silver cuffs, and the mesh earrings.

My friend Remi sold to celebrities in the major league diamond department. She had one bejeweled hand helping a customer and the other one on the phone, talking a perfect and enticing Russian with friends like Nureyev and Baryshnikov.

She didn’t exactly receive tenure for these conversations.

I was living at home when my mother had a call from her mother, who was having a heart attack. She asked my mother to come quickly.

My mother dressed in the fastest slow-mo ever: a pleated skirt, a pretty cashmere sweater and then she slowly wrapped a gold Tiffany zodiac on a chain around her neck. It was a Libra coin that she had given me for my birthday; as we were both Libras, we shared it.

It was a symbol of grace under extreme pressure and potential tragedy, meant to soften the potential pain; this traditional emblem of beauty and a sign of the stars: Balance, the scales.

Que será, será.

No plans for Valentine’s Day?

Try breakfast at Tiffany’s and a heart-felt hunt for Cupid’s golden bow.  You just never know!


Featured image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

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