Shopping for jeans for my older son used to be easy. Every season he grew exactly one size bigger. I could walk into a store, choose the right size, and we were all set.
Not so for a teenager. Here’s why…
- He has opinions. And if I choose it, it is automatically wrong. (This applies to all things, not just jeans.)
- He does not want to stand out. He has to look like everyone else. Except he’s not everyone else. He’s only himself. This is incredibly lovely to me and eternally frustrating to him.
- He is in that awkward in-between stage of boy/man. The boys’ clothes are too small, the men’s clothes are too big.
What my son would like to happen is what always used to happen.
Mom bought him jeans and they magically appeared in his drawers neatly folded and fitting nicely.
He seems unable to comprehend that I am not his personal shopper. I’m not going to buy 15 different pairs of jeans, bring them home for him to try on at his leisure, and then return all the pairs he doesn’t like.
Nor am I his maid. At 13, my son needs to start putting his own clothes away. In fact, if he doesn’t start emptying his laundry basket of folded clothes within 24 hours of it appearing in his room, he’s going to have to start folding his laundry himself.
And, if I find one more article of clothing in the wash that has only been worn for 30 seconds he’s going to start doing laundry from start to finish.
Last week it was a new pair of jeans, wrinkled from being waded up in the dirty clothes basket but clean.
His logic fascinates me…
I take them back to him. “These jeans are clean.”
“They’re way too big!” he says.
“So why are they in the laundry?” I wonder.
“I tried them on and they were too big.”
“So you put a clean pair of jeans in the laundry?”
Big eye roll. “They don’t fit!”
“Doesn’t it take less effort to fold them and put them back in your drawer than to leave your room to put them in the laundry?”
He sighs. “You don’t get it.”
This, at least, we can agree on.
I look at the tag. “You tried these on in the store and picked them out yourself. Now you’re saying they don’t fit.”
“I know!” he says, exasperated with my stupidity. (He is always exasperated with my stupidity.) “I just told you I liked them so we could leave. Trying on clothes is embarrassing!”
“Do you mean to tell me that I spent $30 on a pair of jeans that didn’t actually fit so you could be done shopping?” Now it is me who is exasperated.
“Ugh! You don’t get it,” he says again, and starts to walk away.
I’m not letting him off that easy. “We are going back to the store, and you are trying on jeans until we find something that fits. You can’t wear shorts all winter.”
We go back to the store.
He tries on several pairs, settling on a style that he seems to genuinely like. I make him come out to show me this time, just to be sure they fit.
The whole process is agonizing for both of us.
We agree that he should get two pairs. He hands them to me and we wait in line at the checkout.
The clerk notes that we have two different sizes of the same style.
“Shoot,” I say. “Which ones fit best?” I ask my son.
“I don’t know. Just buy them both,” he says.
“But one is either going to be too big or too small,” I say. “Maybe you need to try them on again.”
“Ugh! It was these!” He grabs the bigger pair.
“Are you absolutely sure?” I ask.
I buy the jeans.
I wash them and put them in the basket with his other laundry to be put away.
A few days later he comes upstairs before school complaining that his jeans are too big…
Copyright © 2019 Sara Beth Wald