Perceptive parents would never resort to putting impersonal gift cards under the tree for their teen’s Christmas present.
So, of course, that’s what we gave one of our son a few Christmas’ ago, and I refuse to apologize for not comprehending the inner workings of that kid. The year before he was wearing wide skater shoes that featured little green skulls and neon shoelaces. His colorful underwear was typically on display because his pants rode precariously around skinny hips. He high-fived people and carried a 24-ounce AriZona Grapeade around in the pocket of a red hoodie. Faded lettering on the front of this sweatshirt said, “I have multiple personalities and none of them like you.”
By the next year, he had pulled up his pants, replaced the sweatshirt with a plain black jacket and wanted a pair of Carhartt Romeo Work boots similar to those worn by men in the beer commercials. These are muscular men who chop down trees, give each other energetic handshakes as they toss back a cold one.
Is my son moving from the fist bump crowd to the thump each other heartily on the back after swigging a Bud Lite crowd?
Last time I’d bought him clothes I had been forced to endure those specialty shops that cater to the teenage demographic. Rap music blares from hidden speakers while a flat-screen TV shows the latest musical poet rapping about real life. For example, while my son was trying to find shoes that would clash with his underwear, I heard this thought-provoking insight into life by a Grammy-nominated American rapper called Cam’ron.
“Sometime y’all get crimey crimey, grimy grimy but those with a tiny hiney they get whiny whiny.”
Of course, most of the lyrics I heard aren’t family friendly. The noise was so loud that within minutes I was ready to snatch ever pair of skull-covered shoes, throw the nose-studded girl my debit card, and rush out into the mall hallway where I could converse with the cell phone salespersons about how rotten my present plan is.
Clothes for lumberjacks who star in beer commercials are not sold in stores with insightful rap music. My son and I took the gift card and without using sign language or yelling we discussed whether he should buy black or brown work boots. The saleswoman who helped us find the right size of Levis had no jewelry in her tongue.
Oh, we might have been shopping in a different place, but the boy wasn’t totally transformed. He wanted me to buy him a couple Christmas shirts that were 75% off because they hadn’t sold before the 25th. One featured a string of colored lights one end of which was in the mouth of an electrocuted cat. Another t-shirt depicted a small puppy peeing on a snowman. The caption read, “Ha pee, holiday.”
And then, of course, he couldn’t leave the store without trying on a “hat” that would match his boots.
Originally published on HerViewFromHome.