thief of time

Monday, December 20, 2004

Shopping Misery

One of the rules in a family should be that you never take your teenage son out shopping for clothes. I’m sure a lot of teenage sons would also subscribe to that rule.

It’s not that my son is totally uninterested in clothes, but it isn’t top of his list of priorities and he’s not into brands at all, thank goodness. He’d be just as happy to receive clothing as presents, chosen at random from within his limited parameters of acceptable clothing. There are, however, certain things that you actually have to have him there to try on to make sure that they fit--thus, the times of extreme unpleasantness for both him and me.

To say that my son is uninterested in shopping would be to vastly understate his dislike. As far as he’s concerned, if you have to do the dread deed, you go in, grab the first thing that looks suitable, try it on and if it fits that’s that—no need to try anything further and no need to browse around a bit to see if you can get something similar, but at a better price or not even to see if you might see something else that he might like better. For him, near enough is good enough.

Now, my daughter is at the opposite extreme. She’ll go into a changing room with twenty items of clothing in similar, but slightly different colours, styles and sizes and perhaps find one item, perhaps not, and then on to the next section of the store, or on to a different store. To shop with her is an exercise in endurance and you have to be prepared to keep going for most of the day.

With my son, if you can drag the exercise past thirty minutes, he’s not impressed and soon makes his displeasure felt. Then, if you happen to see something else that you’d like him to try on that wasn’t part of the original plan for getting him out on this wild goose chase, you have to do some mighty fine begging. My son is a pretty good exponent of erosion—he can keep going over something, until you give up in despair and he exercises this to a fine art so as to leave shopping as quickly as possible.

Motherhood is a very wearing role. Add this little job to the annual Christmas shopping frenzy and you have a real recipe for fun.


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