Sunday, August 17, 2014

Back-to-School Shopping Hell

Here's the dream version of how it would go down:

I take both smiling, happy boys to a few stores. They pick out stylish new clothes and shoes, try them on willingly, and then we go to the register where everything is on sale. We leave the store with bags in hand and cash in wallet and they return home to clean their rooms and get ready for the next school year to begin.

Ha! Yeah, right. Obviously, that would never happen. No school kid is this excited.
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I wasn't prepared for the full rebellion. I would absolutely love it if someone took me shopping every year for a new wardrobe. No complaints here. But I'm not a teen or pre-teen boy, obviously. I had to endure eye-rolls, giant sighs, and whining. (I forgot to mention that my husband came with us.)

My older son didn't mind having new clothes thrust upon him, he just didn't want to actively choose them. He couldn't believe I'd ask him to walk around some racks and pick out things he liked. What a terrible mom I am. And then, when I told him to go try stuff on? You'd think I was putting him in a torture chamber instead of a dressing room!

"Why do I have to try these on? Medium looks like it fits fine."
"I'm not buying this unless you try it on. What if it's too small?"
"Fine, then just get the large. If it doesn't fit me now I'll wait until it does."

Um, how will that give you clothes to wear for school? You'll just wait until November to attend class when your clothes might fit you? Come on! 

He did get excited about some items. He wants all of the tee shirts with rude, sarcastic sayings or questionable images. I'm not paying for that kind of first impression. Teachers don't need a shirt to tell them you're sarcastic and snotty.

My younger son was somewhat easier. He doesn't mind shopping or trying on clothes. It's his fashion sense that concerns me. If I'd let him, he'd wear super-tight skinny jeans with neon compression shirts. I'm glad he's not self-conscious, but nobody wants to see that much physical detail if you know what I mean. And yet, you can't quite look away either.

When we'd found some acceptable shirts and shorts we headed to the shoe department. My older son tells me, "I didn't wear socks." Sure enough, he had his flip-flops on and his toenail talons on display for the world. The disposable stockings the store offers were no help. They barely covered half of his foot, and he wasn't going to be slipping into heels anytime soon. So, he surreptitiously tried on a few pairs in his bare feet - I know, gross! But listen, I was ready to get the hell out of there and I knew I'd never be able to drag him back to a store before next year, so no judging!  

We slumped out, defeated, with large bags of mostly-overpriced clothes that they may or may not even wear. You'll probably see my kids in exercise shorts and tiny shirts all year. Because even though we've had all summer to clean out the closets it hasn't quite happened yet. Heck, we might even find new clothes from last year when we finally get around to hanging stuff up.

It's the ritual of the back-to-school shopping that's important. It'll leave my kids with nightmares for the rest of the year. And I wouldn't know how to start a new school year without a headache and a hangover from all the "therapy" I need to make it through.

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