I don’t like to shop. I know. What little cool points I had just plummeted. But I never have. It may have something to do with the terribly lit fitting rooms and the fun house mirrors. No matter the outfit I always feel wavy and jaundiced.
For me, shopping is finding a styled mannequin and purchasing everything on it. Shopping is liking a shirt one of my friends is wearing and asking them where they bought it. I like to shop four times a year. Once at the start of each season. I buy in bulk and then hope I don’t have to go in another store until the weather changes again. I buy traditional staple pieces and I wear a lot of black, white and gray. I pretend it’s my thing. Really, it’s a lack of interest in combining colors and patterns.
However, I’ve found I do enjoy shopping for Patrick. I find it much easier to pick out clothes for him. I know blue and green look amazing on him. It really brings out the color in his eyes. And it’s times like this he wishes he had censorship powers over my writing. I know his pants size and I know there is a good chance pants in that size will fit him no matter the store. I range anywhere from a 2 to an 8 in pants depending on the store. Dear garment industry, how is that possible? Overall, shopping for him is just a much better experience physically, mentally and emotionally.
On the Sunday of P’s birthday weekend of no plans, the birthday boy wanted to go shopping. His birthday cash was burning a hole in his very old pair of jeans. I let him pick the destination. Of course, my fiscally responsible husband chose Legends Outlets. I should have taken an antihistamine in anticipation of the very probable hives from just walking around there.
I started to feel claustrophobic the instant we pulled into the parking lot. So many people. So many cars. So many stores. So many cars. So many poorly lit fitting rooms. Still so many cars. Not many parking spots. The anxiety was quickly overshadowed by nausea. I have a slight motion sickness problem. And by slight, I mean I get motion sick while driving myself down a straight road. My hypochondriac-self has done a great deal of research and, according to WebMD, my inner ear, eyes and other parts of my body are sending conflicting messages to my brain. It’s like my brain is some poor dude at a bar who is getting all sorts of mixed signals from the chick standing in the corner. Nothing good can come from it. My medicine cabinet is filled with Dramamine, Tums, all natural scented anti-nausea oils, and acupressure wristbands. I usually have one of the four with me at all times. WebMD also noted that symptoms of motion sickness are difficult to stop after they start. Can I get an AMEN?
As we made our fifth circle around the same four rows of parking spots, I had to open the window. After our tenth circle, a few awkward exchanges with individuals walking through the parking lot (Are you coming or going? Yes? No? I don’t know what that hand signal means? Yes, you are leaving? Yes, you are going shopping? Whattttt?), I hung my entire head out the window gasping for fresh air.
P: Hang on, babe.
P: I think I found one.
P whipped his trusty Toyota Camry into a spot about as far away from the stores as you could possibly park. Whatever, just give me room to breathe so the world will stop spinning.
Three steps away from the car, P held out his keys. It’s the same thing every time we get out of the car.
P: Will you put my keys in your purse?
P: Will you put my wallet in your purse?
P: Will you put my sunglasses in your purse?
P: Will you put my phone in your purse?
Me: You need your own purse.
P: I would if it was socially acceptable.
P calls whatever bag I have with me my “Mary Poppins’ Purse.” And this leads me to a question I have been dying to ask.
Men, where do you put your keys, phone, wallet, gum, random other belongings when you don’t have a woman’s purse nearby? Please do not read this as being sarcastic. I’m genuinely curious. Do tell.
With my bag five pounds heavier, we waltzed into Polo.
Me: So what are you looking for today? What do you need?
P: Um, I don’t know. I could use some shirts.
Me: That’s a very general statement.
P: Ok. I would like to buy a new pair of jeans and a shirt and sweater today.
Me: Alright, I can work with that.
We walked through every square inch of Polo.
Me: What about this?
Me: How about this shirt?
Me: What about these jeans?
P: They’re ok.
For a boy who loves Polo, he was being very indecisive. It was like I was watching myself shop. I suggested we move on to the next store.
We hopped over to Banana Republic where we grabbed two pairs of jeans from the shelves and he headed to the fitting room.
Fitting Room Attendant: Are you two sharing a room?
Me: Um, what?
Fitting Room Attendant: Are you going back with him?
Me: Um, no, I’ll just stand right here and wait.
Don’t mind the awkward married lady creeping outside the fitting room because she didn’t go in with her husband. For the love.
The jeans were a no-go. Next!
We hit up Gap in hopes we would find something. Anything. We did find a style he really liked, but they didn’t have his size. Apparently a lot of other men liked the style, too. I wandered over to the clearance section to sift through the jeans hanging on the rack.
Me: P, here’s a pair in your size. Oh, I really like this wash.
P: I’m flattered you think my thigh would fit in those, but not going to happen.
I had picked up a pair of Vintage Slim Skinny jeans. I don’t even think my thigh would fit in them.
P’s manly thighs and I strolled into J.Crew next and again headed straight for the jeans.
Patrick looked through a rack while I perused the folded jeans on display.
P: (loudly) I mean, I’m all for a simple design, but these look like someone just chopped off the top off a pair of overalls.
The lady manning the door gave us a strange look. I just walked away. P hung up the jeans and followed.
As I looked at some potential outfits for my nieces in the children section, P found himself a shirt he wanted.
Me: What’s that?
P: It’s a Henley.
Me: It looks like a shirt you sleep in.
P: No, it’s a Henley. That’s a type of shirt.
Me: Yes, but that one in particular looks like something you would sleep in. It’s folded next to the pajama pants.
P: No, it’s a Henley.
Me: It looks like it goes with those flannel pajama pants. You aren’t getting that.
P: But it’s a Henley.
Me: Let’s go.
P: I’m going to be making a formal complaint about their product placement.
Yes, it was a Henley. Yes, I still thought it looked like something he would sleep in. There is no winner here.
We finally found two pairs of perfectly fitting jeans at Levi’s. And while P tried them on, I had the pleasure of watching an old man try on a pair of jeans I thought the world stopped selling in 1996. They were total “dad jeans.” Boxy. Light denim. Stopped around the ankle. He was asking the uber-trendy attendant which pair of “dad jeans” would shrink less. I couldn’t believe he found two different pairs of “dad jeans” in the store inventory. And I could see having to sell those jeans was slowly killing this teenager attendant’s soul. Dear children of the man buying the “dad jeans,” I’m sorry I didn’t intervene, but it would have completely altered the universe as we know it. And I can’t be responsible for that.
With two pairs of jeans in tow, we made one more stop to make. I had a secret plan of getting P to purchase a chambray shirt. After a completely uncharacteristic moment reading fashion blogs, I became obsessed with finding him one.
And in a yellow dressing room, I accomplished my mission.
He really wishes I hadn’t posted this picture. Too bad, so sad.
Two jeans and one shirt. Not the exact items we came for, but a good haul. The shopping for clothing was complete.
However, P had one more item on his list for the day. We climbed back in the car and headed over to JCPenney.
As we walked through the JCPenney parking lot to the front doors, I held out my hand in anticipation of P handing me all of his belongings. P laughed.
P: It’s like Pavlov’s purse.
Me: It’s a good thing you’re cute.
I can’t remember the last time I was in a JCPenney. But the item he wanted was on sale at JCPenney, so there I was standing in a Christmas-infused department store surrounded by shoppers in various colors of windpants. I also couldn’t remember the last time I had seen a pair of windpants. I think it was elementary school on the day I fell down in the snow and it looks like I had wet my pants. Never again did I wear windpants. Nor do I think anyone over the age of 10 should wear them in public. Sorry if you are reading this and wearing windpants and are now offended. Just a personal preference.
P immediately headed back to the Home section. He was on a mission. We wound our way through the Keurig displays and precariously placed shelves of ornaments.
P: There it is. Isn’t she beautiful?
Alright, Clark Griswold.
I found myself standing in an aisle at the very back of the store staring at a meat-slicer. And no, not the hand-held, mandolin type of slicer. It’s the real thing. It’s the Bella™ Meat Slicer to be exact.
Product description: Bring the deli counter home with this professionally inspired meat slicer. Select your desired thickness and watch your family delight over their freshly sliced favorites.
Me: Why do we need a meat slicer? We don’t eat deli meat.
P: We do now.
P: Just think. We can buy big pieces of meat and slice them. I can smoke tenderloins and briskets and slice them. We can buy cheese and slice it. The possibilities are endless.
Me: Why can’t we buy already sliced cheese?
P: Because, now we can slice it ourselves.
So, we are now the proud owners of a professionally-inspired, giant meat slicer. And it now is taking up the majority of my kitchen counter. The Moss Delicatessen is now open for business.