It started when I tried on a mink coat at a yard sale, just to see what it would feel like. Even, perhaps especially, on the inside it felt great. Silk lining and oh so heavy and warm. I didn’t buy it. I am anti-fur coat. It is one of the very few attributes that would allow you to mistake me for a super model.
But the feeling of the fur stayed with me and before I knew it I was researching second hand skins on ebay. I fell for a coat once owned by Doris Chaput (her name was stitched in the lining). It was just my size. I placed an experimental bid and began to imagine what it would feel like to own Mrs. Chaput’s cast-off. I realized I could save a fortune in electric bills for the only opportunity I would have to wear the coat would be behind drawn drapes in the privacy of my own home. I could turn off the central heating, pop on my pelt, and channel Mrs. Chaput while I counted my savings. Why the coat would pay for itself in weeks…
It looked very much as though the fur would be mine. As the bidding ticked by, I began to worry that the warmth of the fur could not protect me from the froideur of friends. I had a dream in which my sister sarcastically referred to “Tarka the Topcoat”. Did I mention that the fur in question was Otter?
This morning, I read a piece in one of the British papers about how otters, after years of dedicated conservation effort from champions of the countryside, are no longer threatened with extinction in the UK. In North America, loss of habit and pollution has reduced their numbers in the wild, but in some regions they are still farmed for fur. I felt slightly ashamed. Just as well I was outbid by $2.50. It won’t be me that takes home Tarka.