June 01, 2007

Dawn of the Dead

I hate shopping for clothes; I'd join a nudist colony in a heartbeat if it weren't for such things as mosquitoes and poison ivy. But I'll be traveling for the next two weeks, and my trip will include an academic conference and some formal occasions where nudity is not exactly the social norm. I looked through my closet to see what I could pack and found – well, not much at all. My summer wardrobe consists mostly of cotton shirts, denim shorts, and a bathing suit. My daughter looked at me incredulously when I tried on the shoes I wore to a summer conference two years ago.

Daughter: Are you serious?
Me: What?
Daughter: You can't wear those.
Me: They're sandals. People wear sandals with skirts.
Daughter: I don't care what you plan on wearing those with. Skirt, shorts, lingerie - you just can't.
Me: Why not?
Daughter: They're so...what's the word I'm looking for...religious.
Me: Huh?
Daughter: You know, like Jesus of Nazareth sandals.
Me: Really?
Daughter: Really.
Me (producing a pair of shoes): Okay, here's my other option. How about –
Daughter: Good God. Where did you get those?
Me: I don't remember. It was years ago.
Daughter: They are just so awful.
Me: You don't like them?
Daughter (shielding her eyes with her hands): God, those really are awful. No seriously, I don't even know what else to say.
Me: Well, I think I bought these before you were born.
Daughter (sarcastically): Really? I couldn't tell by looking at them.
Me: Well, this sole has kind of crumbled away, but the other one's still intact.
Daughter (rolling her eyes): You want to drive to Big Mall Named After Horses that Bob Up and Down — or should I?

Luckily, my daughter is an efficient woman who is able to guide me through the confusing mall. She patiently listened to my standard complaints about the kind of clothes that we saw in some of the stores. I tried to keep my rants to a minimum, but it's hard to stay silent when I see stores selling expensive jeans with ugly wrinkles at the tops of the legs or holes in the legs or worn spots on the butt. Why would anyone pay money for the kind of clothes most reasonable people would wear when they paint the garage?

Smart Wonderful Beautiful Daughter rolled her eyes when I picked out a brown shirt that looks exactly like the last five brown shirts I've owned. Well, there was one difference. As we stood in line at the cash registers, she noticed the monogramming.

Daughter: Do you mind the initial?
Me: Is it a letter? I wondered what that was.
Daughter: It's the letter G.
Me: G for great? G for goddess?
Young Man at Register: Swipe.
Me: (Trying hard to think of a goddess named Swipe.)What?
Young Man: You can swipe now.
Me: Swipe? That doesn't begin with G.
Daughter: He means swipe your credit card.
Me: What?
Daughter: Through the machine.
Me: Oh, right.

Really, I am not as clueless as this makes me sound. The young man at the register was soft-spoken and had made no gesture toward the credit card I was holding. My daughter was laughing, but the unsympathetic young man, who was young enough to be one of my sons but not nearly smart enough, told me helpfully that the G stood for the name of the store. Did he think I didn't know that? Sheesh.

With my daughter at my side, I braved a shoe store and several clothing stores, before we went to reward ourselves with a pretzel and lemonade. I bought a skirt, two shirts, and a pair of summer shoes that seem comfy. I'm good now for another twenty years.


Rana said...

I have to laugh, because I am so bipolar when it comes to clothing. I can't decide whether I want costumes (things to match every mood and season) or uniforms (things that are basically identical and require no thought). My clothes, therefore, are a mix of both.

Shoes... shoes drive me bats. I love so many kinds, but I have such cranky feet, and I have almost no tolerance for uncomfortable shoes. Currently I'm going insane because I have realized that I have NO perfect warm-weather shoes; every single pair has some issue or other (chafes, sole gets sticky, no padding, too informal, heels too high...). I really wish I had a pair that was equivalent to my winter-fall shoes, which are comfy and go with almost everything.

Traveling is interesting, because about a third to half of my luggage ends up being - sigh - shoes.

BeachMama said...

I think your wonderful beautiful daughter should plan a twice annual shopping trip for you. Just to update the essentials and keep you going. The only thing is that she needs to make sure you get rid of the shoes you bought before she was born. Treat yourself and enjoy :).

(I totally agree about the jeans though, ridiculous prices for ripped and torn jeans)

luolin said...

I think I know that mall or one named after the same horses. Once I was there with a very petite friend and I told her there was this store that had both our sizes, because I had been there to look at plus size clothes and noticed a bunch of size 1 shirts in the front of the store. The salesclerk took one look at her and told her she was in the wrong place. I hadn't realized that 1=1x and so on. I didn't go shopping much in grad school.

Jenevieve said...

This is wy I take my friend Kayla shopping with me. I hate clothes shopping so much that I usually just grab things I think will fit without even trying them on. Kayla makes me slow down a bit, and I usually wind up with things I will wer more than once!

Xtin said...

Weird shoe issues are the mark of a superior mind. Last week, I bought a pair of red suede platform high heels from Italy for £129. For 99.99% of the rest of my life, they'll live in a box with tissue paper stuffed into the toes while I wear my £40 Birks (when hot) and five-year-old Camper boots (when cold).

It was so totally worth it.

PPB said...

Well, your daughter does sort of owe you, right? I assume at some point in time you purchased and approved her clothes. Although from the sound of her level of disapproval, my guess is that ended at about 7. (I think my sister was 10 when she suggested my mom wait in the food court until she was needed for the credit card.)

I'm most impressed that you can make a pair of shoes last 20 years. With the exception of the fancy ones that are just for weddings or whatever, I run through mine in a year or two...I just wear them into the ground.

jo(e) said...

PPB: That's because I don't wear "shoes" very often. My normal footwear is sneakers or hiking boots. Those need to get replaced every year.

You're right on the mark with your guess about the age. She started picking out her own clothes at about 7.

Marie said...

Could you loan me your daughter?

Yankee T said...

Well, after you played "The Lion, The Bitch and The Wardrobe" she had to take you shopping. She made you throw out all the good stuff!

I take Older Daughter clothes shopping with me, too. It's much more palatable with her company.

listmaker said...

Ugh, I hate shopping and I'm totally intimidated by that mall.

When I find something I like, I usually buy multiples of it. That's why I have the same t-shirt in all different colors and the same pants in every color they come in.

Zartman said...

I would like to see a picture of the Jesus sandals.

adjunct whore said...

i now understand completely why i read you all the time: you hate shopping for clothes. almost nothing depresses me more.

at least you have a savvy, loving daughter to guide you through. my daughter is still in the i can't be seen with you, mom, phase.

Rev Dr Mom said...

I hate malls...internet shopping rules my world.

delagar said...

Heh. I hate shopping so much that my mother never stopped buying my clothes -- never. She just fetched in a new pile ast week. And now she's buying all the kid's clothes too. (She also knows, though, if she buys what I don't like I just give them to the Paralyzed Vets, so she buys what I'll wear -- which is khaki trousers and plain polo shirts.) I do buy my own shoes, at least, even though I really hate that too. But I only buy like a pair every two years. If you buy really good shoes they'll last that long, I find. Birks and Bjorns. God, I hate shopping.

Unless it's for books. That's different.

Kyla said...

I love stories about you and your daughter. The exchanges are wonderfully entertaining.

Picky Mick said...

Dear jo(e),

I just read that the average age at a nudist colony is 55. They're offering discounts for younger people to join.