Monday, May 02, 2005

You Better Shop Around

Daughter is trying on new tennis shoes. She is prancing around the store happily. I’m a little cross because they are the most low-key tennis shoes in the store, and they still resemble a Rose Parade float. I have, however, agreed to buy them.

QUINN: So, you like them?

DAUGHTER: I love them! They’re so cute and beautiful!

QUINN: If I buy these, you are going to wear them, right?


QUINN: “Sure” is not good enough. This is not the time to humor your Mother. These shoes cost more than the shoes I am wearing right now, and the only way they are coming home with us is if you promise to wear them.

DAUGHTER: I like them.

QUINN: And you’ll wear them often.


QUINN: Please say: “I really like these shoes, and will wear them almost every day. If my feet grow slowly enough, I will wear them to my prom”.

Daughter repeats what I have said and seems to mean it. She even insists on wearing them out of the store. I feel something akin to hope.

I am a deluded sap.

She has thrown herself into a school dress and is eyeing her patent-leather shoes. I swoop in with the nearly-unworn tennis shoes.

QUINN: (Brightly) Here, you can wear your new shoes!

Daughter scowls at me and the shoes.

DAUGHTER: I don’t like those shoes.

QUINN: But…you picked them out.

DAUGHTER: They aren’t pretty.

QUINN: You wanted to marry them when we were in the store. Just put them on.

DAUGHTER: (Dangerously quiet) No.

We stare each other down. It is “High Noon” with toothpaste breath.

QUINN: (Even more quietly) You told me you wanted them. I listened to you. And now you will wear them.

Daughter grabs shoes and runs to stand in her closet.


This is what buyer’s remorse looks like in the under-7 crowd.

I can sympathize. Please don’t misunderstand; she will be wearing those shoes. She wanted the shoes, they were freaking expensive, and her sulking expression holds no fear for me. But I am sorry to say that she might have inherited certain, shall we say, sartorial relationship issues from her mother. Daughter is just learning how quickly we go from gratified to grossed-out. I have moved on to the stage where I just hope to get out of the parking lot before I start hating what I purchased.

Buying clothing is kind of like a little marriage. I do best with the dressing room one-night stand. But, like many people with commitment problems, I blame it not on being unromantic, but being idealistic. Many is the time I have been convinced that I have found The One (The One Pair of Cream Heels Which Actually Are Attractive; The One Pair of Khakis Which Don’t Sit Strangely on My Hips; The One Bathing Suit Which Doesn’t Make Me Cry) only to take it home and discover it possesses no magic at all. Without the three-way mirrors, Kylie Minogue assaulting my ears and the moisturizer samples stuffed in my purse, the clothing no longer transforms me as much as mutates me. Some element of me knows this, but another element still wants to participate in fashion. This is why I have to shop by myself -- I couldn’t possibly hear anybody else over all the voices in my head.

I am alone with two sweaters and two skirts. I try on the first sweater, which is green.

IMPULSE QUINN: This is nice. I should get this.

RATIONAL QUINN: Yes, nothing nicer than a green sweater. This is why you already have three in almost exactly the same shade.

IQ: But, it’s one sale.

RQ: Do you need to see money leave your hands today, is that it? Does your purse feel too heavy with cash in it?

IQ: Okay, how about this yellow one. (Tugging it on) I don’t have a sweater in yellow.

RQ: There’s a reason for that. Shove an oxygen tube up your nose and you could do a Public Service Announcement about the importance of organ donation.

IQ: Fine, let’s look at skirts. I like this skirt, but this size is a little tight around the waist.

At this point, new personality leaps in.

OPTIMISTIC QUINN: We’ll drink that leek soup from that book about how French women don’t get fat! We’ll lose an inch in two days!

IQ: Yeah! Let’s buy leeks! And since I’m going to be so thin, let’s buy those boy-cut shorts I always wanted to wear!

OQ: People will describe me as lanky!

IQ: I’ll get those shorts in five colors! It will become my signature look! Vogue will interview me!

RQ: You look like the Venus of Willendorf in those shorts. And you hate leeks. Just try on the larger size.

OQ: (resentfully) I totally could have fit into the smaller skirt.

Another skirt is tried on.

OQ: This is cute!

IQ: We should get this one!

RQ: A denim miniskirt? Are we rushing a sorority? How old are you two, because I know how old I am.

OQ: Nobody in Quinn’s brain likes you, you know.

RQ: High praise, coming from two cranial cretins.

IQ: You’re the reason Quinn didn’t date much in high school.

RQ: Keep it up, and I’ll drain your endorphin stash.

That’s when the brawl broke out. When I regained consciousness, I was at home. I appeared to have purchased coral lipstick and a small bushel of leeks.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Being five months pregnant takes this shopping hell to a whole new level. I've returned over half of what I've bought so far...and the few things I've actually bought have come after hours of trying things on. I don't know when I've been so flummoxed by cloth.

1:13 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Oh, but the clothing options, post-pregnancy are so great. If you choose to breast-feed, you will be dazzled by the array of beautiful clothes which allow you to nurse in public...
(Giggling too much to go on)

6:26 PM  

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