Thursday, August 25, 2011

Boys, Shopping, and Fashion Unconscious

You may recall me complaining mentioning the Shopping For Sandals epic earlier this summer.  Well, you might remember.  I, however, apparently suffer from short term memory loss because I decided to take all three boys shoe shopping again.

They each needed what I would call tennis shoes, though that may be a regional term, since I can assure you that none of us play tennis.  The pair Tate is currently sporting are still recognizable as play shoes.  Gunnar has been wearing an old pair of Wyatt's soccer shoes for months.  And Wyatt?  Well, his are held together with duct tape, which he thinks is the epitome of cool, but tends to give a false sense of alarm to those who know that Kerry has been short on work lately.

The truth is, I've procrastinated because I just hate to go shopping, especially on sunny days. (I know, female jaws around the web are dropping in shock.)  All my friends know I'm not a girly-girl.  I don't do my nails.  I don't spend more than five minutes a day on my hair, and that includes the shower.  And my make-up kit consists of some tinted chapstick and an old tube of body glitter from Y2K (that the tooth fairy occasionally borrows to sprinkle pixie dust on the boys.)  Compared to other females of the species, I think I must be missing some genetic material.  Like the shopping gene.  But I could put it off no longer, so with grim determination we set off to the maul mall to hunt shoes.  (Hail the conquering hero, yada yada yada.)

You'd think this would be a good time to shop, what with everyone else's kids heading back to school, but I was obviously delusional.  The stores were packed with people, not bargains.  Oh, and what genius at Stuffmart decided that this would be a fabulous time to remodel?  Helloooooo!  Everything is in a different place, for crying out loud!  I mean, would it be so difficult to put three-ring binders with the other school supplies that are on sale?  Do they really belong in the garden center?  I think not.  But we managed to find a few items and escape quickly.

But the shoes... the shoes.  Besides tennis shoes, Wyatt and Tate also need black dress shoes to go with their Air Force Blue Dress Uniforms.  (Yes, blue uniform, black shoes.  Get over it.)  That's easier to deal with because they're not exactly going to be putting a lot of wear on them.  In other words, cheap is just fine.  But the everyday shoes?  I'd like a pair that won't wear out in a week, y'know?  And I'd also like to put shoes on six feet without requiring a payment plan.  Good golly Miss Molly, what child needs eighty dollar shoes just for walking around the halls of the local government insitution?

After plodding through six different stores my head was about to explode and the boys were equally frustrated.  And by plodding I mean we were moving like a commando group on a tight schedule.  Because, as Winston Churchill said,

If you're going through hell, keep going.

But, WA-WAAA!  We finally found the bargain aisle (which still exists, but apparently has gone incognito) at Big 5, on our second pass through the store.  This is Frugal Mom Nirvana, because everything on the rack is twenty bucks or less.  Quickly, because my eyes were glazing over, I scanned for something - anything - acceptable, and threw a couple of boxes in Wyatt and Tate's general direction.

Over the years I have tried to train the boys that we are not label-conscious.  I will sometimes pay more for certain brands if the quality warrants it, but we're not chasing fads.

I may be an over-achiever here.

Tate has virtually no preference at all regarding color or style, (either that or the look in my eyes frightened him).  I think he'd wear clown shoes if that was what he was offered, as long as they were comfortable.  Wyatt, on the other hand, gave me a nervous, slightly apologetic look.  He wasn't crazy about the running shoes I'd tossed in his lap.  He likes skate shoes (like Vans) and - hallelujah - on the other side of the rack we hit a winner.

That left Gunnar - sweet Gunnar - to deal with, as he doesn't fit men's sizes yet (the twenty buck rack) and we were coming up dry in the kids' section.  All he asked is for something other than black.  And guess what color most boys' shoes are?  Yah.  Or neon and truly bizarre.

Thankfully, a dark gray pair (not black, dark gray, ahem) with orangey-yellow accents and laces saved the day.

And my sanity.

Until the next time.


Ann said...

I finally started wearing make-up about seven years ago - well, when I'm going somewhere that I think warrants it anyway - but I still don't have the shopping gene. Every year I thank the Lord over and over and over again that 1)we get hand-me-downs and 2)my girls still like things that I sew. Shoe shopping is almost all we have to do, and that is more than enough!

leah said...

The thought of going shopping with my boys gives me a tic. I still need to get a couple of things before school starts, and I am dreading the excursion to the store! They're pretty good, but there is only so much shopping a boy (and mom) can take.

I'm glad you managed to find all the shoes you needed without having to take out a small loan! Sheesh - some things are way too expensive these days!

Rebecca D said...

Good luck with that "brand" stuff as they become teenagers... I thought it was just girls but my friends tell me their boys are just as bad. (And yes, I'm talking about homeschoolers.)

Ruby said...

This is a great post and a great story! I hope you have recovered. I had one of "you buy it, I'll wear it" variety and one "it's too scratchy, too heavy, the tags rub (you name it)" variety....until recently. Suddenly as a teenager my young men "must have". Funnily, it is mainly with their basketball shoes. Must be peer pressure down at the stadium?

Felicity said...

I know ALL about that (lacking) shopping gene..!!
Summer is almost here, and guess what all my boys need??? Yup - shoes!

tammy said...

Thanks for the morning laugh over your shoe shopping expedition! You are hilarious. I'm so thankful that neither of my kids are label conscious either, which btw, is not from me, and sometimes I wonder whose kids they are. lol Ryan hates trends and when we went shoe shopping, I picked up a pair of tennis shoes and he picked up a cheaper pair and said, "these will do." Can't argue that!

PS - Thanks so much for your comment on my blog about him the other day. You made me smile. He is pretty amazing, even in these hard teenage days. Think I'll keep him. : )