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Lord save us all from The Mom in a shoe shop. I do not, nor will I ever, truly understand the strange thrill she gets from buying a new pair of shoes. I hate shoes. I hate wearing them, I hate purchasing them, I hate how uncomfortable they are, and what I really and truly loathe is that more often than not, women’s shoes are in no way, shape or form, shaped like one’s foot. My foot is not narrow and it does not come to a sharp point at the toe. It just does not.

The Mom’s does. And perhaps this is why she enjoys shoe shopping so much.

Though I have never fetishised a pair of shoes, I have, in my younger days, been known to hanker after an item of clothing or two. Sometime in junior high, penny loafers and pea coats were popular. All the cool girls had them. And so I told The Mom that I, too, would like to have them. Thereupon a large, long argument ensued, resulting in my acquiring both things having promised to wear them until I was dead, or something close. Funny thing is, turns out I don’t like penny loafers. I realise none of us are shocked by this admission. There is nothing I ought to like about them, the sole is not soft, nor is it made of cork, the leather is stiff and cuts into one’s soft skin. They are not shoes made for shuffling, which is a problem because I really only shuffle. Anyhow, I got the shoes and the coat, put them on, wore them out, and returned pronouncing that both items were fool hearty and rubbish.

The Mom remained unimpressed. And this is when I learned that I don’t actually care to fit in. Having the things that everyone else had, I had thought, would make me feel part of something bigger than myself (yes, I thought like this as a child, that happens when you read existential French literature from a young age and I cannot recommend it), that I would fit in and be cool. It took me another year or two to realise that I neither wanted to fit in nor be cool, but there you are. I came to understand that I wanted to be different or at least like different things and not give a flying f*ck about what other people thought when I met the coat of my dreams.

In the same way The Mom goes weak-kneed over shoes, I go a bit funny over coats. I love me a good coat. The frumpier and more like a lab coat the better. I have been known to purchase a new coat whenever the moment strikes. I have more coats than shoes. I don’t know why coats are so important, The Mom reckons it’s because I’m always cold and am a bit spectrum-y when I’m thinking such that a big sloppy coat feels like a protective casing. Either way, eventually I met the coat of my prepubescent dreams.

It was puffy, bright yellow and had, on the blue flannel lining pheasants. It was absurd, as far as coats go. It was nothing like what anyone else was wearing. But it was so brilliant, soft and enjoyable to wear that I didn’t give a rat’s ass if everyone else was wearing pea coats. I had a bright yellow coat.

As for the wedding The Mom mentions, well, I remember that too. I’d gone many, many years without wearing a dress. Didn’t care for them, too fussy, and you couldn’t get much done in them. So when The Mom announced that me in a dress was going to happen whether I liked it or not, I ended up bending to her will. But it came not without its consequences, namely that I coerced The Mom into bribing me. The purchase of the dress would cost her a surf t’shirt. Me wearing it would cost another. When The Mom started talking about hair and makeup, my prices went up dramatically and those passing fancies ceased.

In the end, when I go home on my twice yearly visits, The Mom and I end up going shopping of one kind or another. It used to be for clothes, but now she’s got L’il Sis around to do that with, she and I can focus on my new favourite thing: grocery stores.

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