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The PENANCE: Volunteering for Food Bank of NYC or City Harvest
Staff a soup kitchen or stock the warehouse or take one of the many other jobs devoted to making sure some of NY's hungry get something to eat — something that's not drizzled in gold.
The INDULGENCE: Ruby-Studded Underwear
Victoria's Secret asks $15 million for its Red Hot Fantasy Bra and Panties, made of red satin and rubies, which the company introduced at the grand opening of an Upper West Side store. We're wearing a pair right now. (It hurts.)
The PENANCE: Donating Underwear to Immigrant Prisoners
Operation Panty collects clean undergarment donations for immigrant women detained by Immigration Customs Enforcement, which sometimes forces women to wear the same pair of underwear in which they were arrested for weeks. Even you change your underwear more often than that.
The INDULGENCE: Diamond and Edible Gold Dessert
Serendipity 3 and jeweler Euphoria New York teamed up (finally!) to create Frrozen Haute Chocolate, which blends some of the most expensive cocoas around the globe, infuses edible gold, and is served in a goblet lined with edible gold, and a gold bracelet with white diamonds. It's topped with more gold, a side of truffles, and eaten with a gold- and diamond-encrusted spoon.
The PENANCE: Cookies for Kids' Cancer
Or you could organize a bake sale through, or buy cookies from, Cookies For Kids' Cancer, which raises funds for pediatric cancer research with non-gold-and-diamond-infused baked goods.
The INDULGENCE: Mayorlust
For a cool $85 million, in 2005 dollars, you could buy the mayoralty of New York City like Mayor Moneybags oh-vuh hee-ya.
The PENANCE: Helping the Rev. Billy Campaign
Or volunteer for the Rev. Billy's Green Party campaign for the same office. In Billy vs. Goliathberg, one has a bold pompadour; the other is a balding lizardface. The choice is obvious.
The INDULGENCE: Futuristic Facial
$500 at the Cornelia Day Spa will get you a Microablation and Triphasic Combination Facial in which "aestheticians wave an electromagnetic wand over the skin to stimulate collagen, minimize lines, reduce acne and ease chronic irritation (like emphysema or rosacea). They then use a triphasic resonator that relies on heat, vibration and therapeutic electrical force to contour and sculpt the face." You will be very pretty after all that.
The PENANCE: Helping Child Victims of Disasters
Meanwhile, while you're propped up on the spa chair, thousands of children across the country are huddled in shelters, having lost homes and/or family members to mine disasters, hurricanes, tornadoes and school shootings. Coloring Away Pain is a charity that donates coloring books to these kids, to alleviate the tedium and misery of their victimhood.
The INDULGENCE: Costly Massages
For $250, massage therapists at Bliss 57 will give you a two-hour "Ginger Rub," which involves a mix of grated ginger root and oils, a foil wrap, a 20-minute soak, a 100-minute massage and a sense of serene self-satisfaction.
The PENANCE: Anything Else
Few things scream self-indulgence more than a $250 massage with edible food; pick up litter on your walk home from the subway and ask your significant other for a quick back rub. And give one in return. And suddenly the world is a much better place, without the exchange of currency for goods and services.
The L sought out virtuous New Yorkers and asked them what vices they indulge in, mainly to feel better about ourselves. And we do. Feel better.
May 13, 2009