I participated in a small focus group discussion for a market-research company last Friday night. It was at a posh hotel in Makati, very convenient; we had free dinner (which was relatively good--I always like lamb chops, although I am particular to Cafe Mediterranea's version) and got some gift cheques from Rustan's (which I promptly turned over to my mom and told her it was my contribution to noche buena -Christmas Eve- dinner).
I'm not really a talkative person but I think the person that conducted the field interview with me and some of my officemates a couple of months ago had good timing and found me in my element. Last Friday night, I wasn't all that comfortable, especially since I was mostly with a bunch of pretty and sosy girls. The moderator was veering us towards trends and everything, and that made me a little uncomfortable because I've never been a trendy person. However, I saw that I was also into some of the stuff that they considered trends.
They considered badminton a trend, because it's just gaining popularity now; but then I've been playing badminton for quite a while already. Friendster was included in the trends; as well as bars with ambience and acoustic bands. So I figured I was still in the loop. Got thrown a curve when they asked about clothes and accessories, though, because heaven knows I think that Ps.1,500 is too much to spend on an item of clothing unless it is a gown. So with all their answers about Mango, Nine West, etc., I just said, "Hey I get my clothes from Greenhills." With a wide grin.
Apparently, the target market for whatever product they were researching is an upscale one; of which I'm just on the outskirts. I don't consider myself as really upscale although thanks to my friends I'm a little trendy because they introduce me to a lot of stuff--like nicotine, videoke, and those nifty bars in Salcedo and Legaspi Villages. I've developed a taste for West Ice, Tequila Rose, Mediterranean cuisine and Starbucks.
I've realized that if I were more of a hermit (read: antisocial), I wouldn't be into most of this stuff. I'd be pretty much the same way I was in most of Grade School and High School, either with my nose buried deep in fiction or typing away. I know that I've been able to juggle work, play and my literary apetite, but lately I haven't been giving the books much of a chance. I've had to experience being a social animal and witness the sordid underbelly of the Pinoy middle class life for myself and not have to read about it. And that's fine with me. I still don't buy my bags at Coach, or Kate Spade. I still only have ten pairs of shoes (for a woman my age, sadly below the lower limit). I still don't consider myself trendy. And I still yearn for a couple of hours uninterrupted when I can continue reading the next novel on my list. But at least I know I'm not clueless.
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