Tricounty News

School Shopping on Mars and Venus



By N.M. Fredrickson

I'm not a fan of pop culture explanations by so called 'experts' on human behavior. That being said, I have to give kudos to John Gray, the author of "Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus." Shopping with my 12-year-old daughter and 17-year-old son provides a textbook example of how vastly different the opposite genders are ... at least when it comes to shopping.

The other day (I say 'the other day' for any thing that happened anytime between yesterday and the Mesozoic period) I took my kids to the mall for the yearly 'thank God the kids are finally going back to school' shopping trip. Usually my wife takes them for this annual event, but I wanted to spend a little more time with my offspring and Holly, after being with them all day long - all summer long, wanted to spend a little less time with them.

Anyone with children will tell you that life can get more complicated as the young'ns get older ... especially with daughters (at least from a father's prospective). Teenage boys, on the other hand, are about as complex as the plot from an Arnold Schwarzenegger movie. Their needs are very simple and can be easily met with a cool car and a never-ending supply of frozen pizza.

After shopping in every store in the mall that possibly sold clothing and some that didn't, we made our way to the department store at the end of the mall. At this time I would like to provide you, the reader, a snippet of the conversation, which gives insight into the vast difference between the shopping experience I had with my daughter and the one I had with my son.

Daughter: "This skirt would go very well with my cream-colored jacket. You know the one, dad, it has sequins on it and I wore it last Tuesday when we went to Mark and Debbie's for dinner (of course I did NOT know what cream-colored jacket with sequins she was referring to).

Son: "Pants fit good. Me buy!"

Daughter: "This purse is perfect, dad. It has pockets for lip-gloss, a cell phone and even a compartment for my iPod. And it matches the skirt I bought to match the cream-colored jacket with sequins that I wore to Mark and Debbie's last Tuesday."

Son: "New wallet good. It hold money. Me buy!"

Daughter: "Ohmagosh, Dad! I can't believe how perfect these shoes are! They match the skirt I bought to go with the cream-colored jacket with sequins that I wore to Mark and Debbie's last Tuesday. And look at how they compliment this purse?"

Me: "But they don't look very comfortable, honey."

Daughter: "But, dad, they match the skirt that matches the cream-colored jacket with sequins I wore to Mark and Debbie's last Tuesday, and they match this mega awesome purse, which looks even awesomer ...."

Me: "I don't think 'awesomer' is a word, sweetie."

Daughter Ignoring Me: " ... and all I need now is the perfect shirt to go with the skirt that matches the cream-colored jacket with sequins I wore to Mark and Debbie's last Tuesday which goes perfectly with the purse and these shoes!"

Me: "Honey, those shoes look like they sort of hurt."

Daughter: "Dad, they fit fine. I'll only limp until they are broken in a little.

Son: Shoes fit good. Me run fast in shoes. Me buy!"

Me: "How about this shirt? I hear the 'Little House on the Prairie' look is really hot right now."

Daughter: "Ohmagosh, Dad, that is SO Amish."

Son: Shirt fit good. Double as napkin. Me buy!"

After helping my daughter painstakingly discover a new shirt to match the skirt to match the purse to match the shoes to match the cream-colored jacket with the sequins that my daughter wore to Mark and Debbie's last Tuesday, I asked my son if he needed anything else before we headed for home.

"Just one more thing," he said. "Father, I wish to importune upon your munificent nature and ask that you grant me a boon."

"Huh?" I said, concerned my son had possibly exhausted the entire supply of multi-syllabic words he would use until Christmas.

"Speech team starts in a few weeks and I need a new tie." www.nmfredrickson.com.

© 2009, N.M. Fredrickson. All rights reserved.