Thursday, March 24, 2011

Embarrassing My Daughter

"What are we gonna do today, Dad?" asked my 15-year old daughter Lindsay.

"Dunno.  What do you have in mind?"

"Can you take me to Forever 21?  I need some new clothes."

I know what this means.  It means, "Can we go to the mall and spend a few hours looking at clothes, and when I can't decide which outfit I like the best, I'll give you the 'You're such a nice father and, admit it, I'm a pretty wonderful daughter too' look, and you'll sigh and make a brief and ultimately futile attempt to make me decide, but in the end we both know you're going to buy me two or possibly three outfits and probably a pair of shoes."

"Well, Linds, uh . . . "

"I have a gift card."

"Oh, okay, great!  The mall it is."

We arrived at Forever 21, and the browsing began.  As is the case with every female I've known in my entire life, Lindsay entered the store with only the vaguest idea of what exactly she wanted.  "A long skirt and top" is how she put it, and if we're going to be honest, this is actually more of a "plan" than most women have when they embark upon a shopping expedition.  Normally, it's "wander around aimlessly for a few hours and maybe we'll find something to spend money on.  Or maybe we won't.  But shopping is fun!"

Men do not see it this way.  Men do not "shop."  We know what we need to buy before we leave the house, we decide which store will carry this item, we drive there, we go into the store, we remove the item from its display rack/shelf, we take it to the cashier, and with the least amount of conversation possible we make the purchase and return home.  In fact, just this morning I went back to the same mall -- don't worry, we'll return to the Lindsay story in a minute -- because I needed a new pair of sneakers.  Drove to the mall, went directly to Famous Footwear, quickly decided between the Nikes and the New Balance (Nike won), took them to the counter and bada-bing, bada-boom, I was outta there.  The entire event took maybe forty minutes including drive time, and that's only because I stopped by Wetzel's Pretzels on my way out because one does not visit the mall without having a hot Wetzel's Pretzel.

So we browsed the racks at Forever 21.  Lindsay rummaged through blouse-and-sweater rack while I checked out the rack on the twenty-something cashier.

Ha!  I'm kidding, of course.  That would be inappropriate.

Actually, I didn't mind helping Lindsay find a suitable outfit.  She gave me a few parameters (long skirt, lots of colors, and a simple top to go with it), and the hunt was on.  As we shopped(!), I noticed that the piped-in music had an 80s theme to it.  I starting singing along quietly, because you just can't help singing along with Duran Duran, Dexy's Midnight Runners, or Quarterflash.

"Her name is Rio and she dances on the sand . . . "

"DAD!"

"What?"

"You're embarrassing me."

"Oh, I embarrass you?  You want to talk about being embarrassed?  Remember that time when you were three, and we went out for breakfast?"

"Uh, no Dad, I don't.  I was three."

"Well, trust me, when you threw a handful of scrambled eggs at the waitress, it was plenty embarrassing for everyone involved."

"I did that?"

"Why do you think we don't go to IHOP anymore?"

"I'm very sorry.  I'll never do it again.  If you want, I'll call IHOP tomorrow and apologize, just stop singing."

"You think my singing is embarrassing, how about this?  Have you ever seen me do The Knock?"

Heavy sigh.  "What's that?"

I demonstrated my classic dance move, where you pretend you're knocking on a door with one hand, then switch to the other, and so on.

As Lindsay looked on helplessly, another teenage girl walked by with her mom.  Mom checked out my style and said, "Very nice.  I remember when this album came out.  I loved Duran Duran."

"I was more of a Police guy myself, but you gotta love the eighties."  I looked at Lindsay.  She was rubbing her temples with a pained expression on her face.  "See, Linds, I'm not the only one who likes this stuff."

"Yeah, that's great."

Lindsay and the other girl then engaged in a complete conversation using the version of American Sign Language that requires only the use of facial expressions.

"Wow, you have one of those parents too?" asked the girl, by way of one raised eyebrow.

"You have no idea," eye-rolled Lindsay.

"You should probably get him out of here as soon as possible,"  head tilt.

"Sadly, we're not done shopping yet," smirk at the right corner of Lindsay's mouth accompanied by a slight shake of the head.

"Come on, Dad," said Lindsay, taking me by the arm and leading me to another area of the store.  Quickly.

I noticed no discernible difference between the section of the store we were now in and the one we'd just left.  More racks, more clothes, more shopping.

"Hey Dad, what do you think of this one?"

"Jenny, I got your number, I need to make you mine.  Jenny, I got your number, 867-5309 . . ."

"DAD!"

"Huh?  What?" 

Lindsay held up a knitted pink top that required less yarn than a pot-holder I made in seventh grade Home Economics.

"Not a chance in hell are you wearing that."

"I know, I'm just messing with you."

"Speaking of which, anything new in the boyfriend area?"  How's that for a subtle segue?

"Not really.  There's this guy in band that I've kinda been hanging out with, though.  He plays the tuba."

As every father knows or will someday discover, having a teenage daughter is a terrifying experience.  This is because we've all been teenage boys.  Between the ages of thirteen and twenty, I was basically a giant hormone in Vans checkerboard slip-ons, so I knew only too well the perilous waters Lindsay would soon be navigating, if she wasn't already.  Still, I was happy to hear her say, "he plays the tuba."  Boys are boys, of course, but I've never once seen a headline that read: 

POLICE DISCOVER YAMAHA TUBA IN RAID OF RAPIST-MURDERER'S APARTMENT

"Are you guys a thing, or just friends?" I asked.

"I don't know.  Just friends right now, I guess."

"You guess?  What does that mean?"

"It means we're just friends, okay?  Hey, look at that mannequin, there's the outfit I want!"

It was pretty nice.  A multi-colored skirt that looked like Jackson Pollock designed it (that's not a bad thing, I love his work), and a beige-and-green striped sweater.  Ankle-length skirt, high neckline on the sweater, two key selling points as far as fathers are concerned. 

She emerged from the dressing room.

"What do you think, Dad?"

" . . . and if I stared to long, I'd prob'ly break down and cry.  Oh, oh, sweet child o' mine."

"DAD!  WOULD YOU PLEASE STOP SINGING!"

d

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24 comments:

laughingmom said...

My 15 y.o. daughter hates to shop. YOU would be more fun to shop with than her!!!

Tony Van Helsing said...

I hate it when my wife goes into the changing room and I have to join the group of males who are hanging around waiting for their partners. We all look vaguely furtive as we try not to look at the displays of bras.

SherilinR said...

that was great! they're practically handing us a microphone & asking us to sing when they put on those great 80's tunes, aren't they? i think it's required.

TessaLeFae said...

Took my 13-year-old son to the mall to buy "cool" shorts. The funnest part was making him crawl under the dressing room door b/c no one came to unlock it. I also enjoyed making him jump up and down to see if the shorts fell off. You know the baggy-assed gangsta look makes me wanna slap their mamas. Fun at the mall!

Quirkyloon said...

I love it! You know I LOVE to sing outloud in public, especially when I put an operatic twist to it.

Good work, Dad!

Nice pic of the two of youse!

Homemaker said...

That was very cute. Did you do the Axel shuffle while you sang Sweet Child?

Tanya said...

I hate shopping but that causes me to wander around the store aimlessly which makes me take too long. I'm very thankful for Amazon.

On the other hand, my husband also hates shopping but can wander around Best Buy for an hour just looking at stuff. When I go to an electronics store I get in and get out.

Fred Miller said...

Get a pair of boxers that stick out the bottom of your shorts. See what she thinks of that old deal.

Eva Gallant said...

what a great post! And a totally cute photo! Enjoy that daughter while you can; too soon she'll be throughly grown and gone!

Steph said...

Long skirt! Awesome! You have a good kid!

J.J. in L.A. said...

My man must be a girl because he loves to browse. I'm the one who wants to get what I need, not talk to the cashier and get out asap.

I don't get how 15 y.o.'s can be so hung up on 'guys'. Then again, most 15 y.o.'s probably don't have 5 older brothers to annoy them.

The Police were good, but I'm a Queen fan. If I had kids, they'd be begging me to stop singing along to Bohemian Rhapsody.

And I LOVE the pic of you two! Especially the 'pained' look on your daughter's face. Too cute!

ReformingGeek said...

I love the photo.

She doesn't get it yet but you're a cool dad.

:)

Kage said...

haha! i love that photo. you both look so thrilled, lol.

and i got my magnet and stickers today! thank-you :)

injaynesworld said...

This is such a charming piece. I would have loved to have had a father like you -- singing and all.

Phillipia said...

What a great post and pic:)

Murr Brewster said...

I dunno. I hate to shop so much that if I don't do a laundry by Thursday I have to call in naked on Friday. And if I had a teenage daughter, I'd buy her lots of clothes and make her wear all of them at once.

Boom Boom Larew said...

Nothing says "good time" like embarrassing your child in public! Good luck with the whole tuba player thing.

Danger Boy said...

Most excellent. We exist to embarrass the young, it's our only form of revenge. Such is the price for civilization. :)
Congratulations on decoding the facial sign language, too.

Anonymous said...

My brother took his still-developing daughter shopping one time. She had to buy underwear and was browsing a table display while my brother wandered to a different aisle. From across the lingerie floor, he holds up a LARGE bra and shouts to her, "Hey Carli! Is this this the size you need?"

K in NJ

IamLittleJohnny said...

I am soooo fortunate that Mrs. Little Johnny shops like a guy.. into the mall with a plan, get what you want and get out! Also, we don't dress up to go to the mall...we go to the mall when we DON'T HAVE nicer clothes...dressing up to go to the mall is like taking driving my new car to go buy a NEW CAR

BTW- not interested in hijacking this blog but it is odd that one of my points this week deel with my teenage daugther's fashions and my thoughts on them

Kris said...

Two things?

1) I shop like a man, according to your definition. List in hand, I zoom to where the needed items are located, get in line, pay, and then go home. I hate shopping without a clear purpose.

2) My husband and I live to embarrass our children. It's something of a blood-sport around here. Eve the smallest bit of public dancing or singing causes our two tween daughters to DIE of embarrassment.

So much fun.

Loved this post!

Brooke Amanda said...

Kudos to your daughter for even wanting you to come along in the first place. I NEVER would have asked my dad to come shopping when I was her age. And not all women aimlessly wander around. I LOATHE shopping and always have a game plan in mind when I absolutly have to go.

lime said...

this sort of thing is our revenge for when they were 3 and threw eggs at the IHOP waitress.

my personal favorite is singing and dancing down the aisles when "love shack" comes on in the grocery store.

Mariann Simms said...

I pretty much have to force my daughter to shop for clothes...she goes to a private school so we don't have to be trendy. When not in school she usually wants a black skirt and some top without any print on it. She hates prints of any sort. She also dislikes pants of any type...jeans included.

But, yeah, I think it's nifty that she drags you along.

I, too, always sing along.

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