Saturday, December 27, 2014

44 Days to the Grammys: A Tale of Two Shoes

Sooooo, we’re less than two months away, and Li'l Miss Hobbit is growing apprehensive. Suffice it to say that the dress doesn't fit and the incoming Christmas candy haul is not really working in our favor.  Nor is the two-week holiday hiatus from boot camp, but let’s admit it- these whinings about ill-fitting garments and shredded Spanx are getting just a little bit old. But, as I reminisce longingly about the days that I once slid gracefully into a flowing gown (circa 1993), I find myself taken back to the days when I was preparing to slip into last year’s frock.
And, yes, the shoes were dyed to match.

That brings me back to this fun little story about Grammy prep of days gone by. So for no reason other than the fact that I don’t want to talk about what a poor fit this year’s wardrobe remains, here’s a fun little story from about a year ago.

So, last year roughly around this time, I had purchased my dress but needed to go get all the finishing details. Now, this may sound pretty decent.  After all, the dress was done, yeah?  So, I should just have to grab some shoes and off we go.  No.  That’s not how this works, men.  Turns out my shopping had barely gotten started.  I didn't know this, of course, because Hobbits don’t even wear shoes.  Let alone accessories.  And, I waited until two (yes, two) days before I had to leave to go “grab my shoes.”  This turned out not to be a good idea.  Because I had put this last shopping trip off for so long I had mere hours before I had to get on a plane and try to blend in among the elves and fairies that float along the red carpet.  There was only one way to go: stroller shopping trip.
I knew these wheels would be good for something.

Let me explain something to those of you who don’t have children:  There are few experiences in this life worse than having to take your child shopping.  Those shelves with their enticing brightly colored objects dangling just within your baby’s reach, those windows with their flashing lights and dancing toys designed to get them to beg you for “just one, pleeeeeeease,” those sugary-smelling snacks filling the air with their cinnamon-y goodness beckoning as the only sustenance for miles… all of that is controlled using a careful algorithm designed to break a parent’s spirit at the exact moment when their resolve is the weakest.  Now you add the exponent of having to strap your kid into a rolling cocoon while he fills his pants at will and demands that you whip off your shirt to feed him every half hour or so, and you've got yourself one big ol' recipe for suck.

This exact scenario is what that cold, rainy day in January brought to me and my son.  Alas, babysitters cancelled, but pumps had to be purchased.  So, off to the mall I went with the kid.  We did pretty good for the first three hours or so. I had found shoes, backup collapsible shoes (yes, really), undergarments, under-undergarments, makeup, jewelry, hair jewelry (yes, really), designer duct tape for restraining the kid-feeders, and all I had left was one. last. thing: the bag.  I had broken the bank already and all but decided to use my husband’s tux pockets in lieu of a designer clutch when I realized I had to pass one more accessories department on my way out to the car. This accessories department was of course in the most expensive store in the entire mall so my hopes were infinitesimal if existent, but as I had to walk right through the center of the brightly lit counters I figured it couldn't hurt to swing my head from side to side and check out the wares as I passed by.

You can guess just how much my 15-month-old son loved all those shiny, sequined handbags.  I grabbed one from the clearance pile ($486) and handed it to him to stuff his pacifiers into while I quickly scanned the counters.  Behold, nestled among the diamond-encrusted clutches and hand-tooled hoboes I saw THE PERFECT BAG.  

So perfect, in fact, that I did the unthinkable: I flagged down a shop-girl and swallowed my pride and asked the price.  WHAT?! This thing was only forty bucks! It was displayed next to a $1200 wallet! I couldn't believe my luck. I pointed out a scratch on the gold detailing and politely asked for the bag’s unscathed twin on the pedestal next to it.  While shop-girl ever-so-slightly-snootily bent over to make the switch I engaged in a quiet and barely noticeable wrestling match with the kid to reclaim the beaded purse I had given him and slide it undetected under a pile of studded belts (Yep, I’m THAT mom).  By the time shop-girl had begun to ring me up, kiddo was back to masquerading as the perfect little shopping partner, happily chewing away on the foam sole of my new collapsible shoes.
Just let it happen.

As is inevitable during the wifi-wait for my card to be approved, the conversation had to be had about “what’s the occasion” for which I would need such a lovely and specialized accessory.  This, let’s be honest here, was what I had been secretly waiting for.  It’s impossible to answer that question without a teeny tiny little non-Mennonite spark of pride puffing up the chest ever so slightly as I ever-so-casually toss out, “Oh, I’m going to the Grammys,” and wait for the follow-up.  It’s not that I expect people to fall down at my feet in admiration or anything, but this little announcement usually brings about some sort of reaction akin to the “I’m engaged,” “I’m pregnant,” or “I just won the lottery” sort of banter- it’s a conversation starter.  And, let’s face it, I come out looking all right in this one.  So, I answer her and wait to see where this (usually fun) repartee will take us.  
Something close to this.

She pauses from wrapping my bag in protective paper (can’t have another scratch on the trim), gives me a quick up and down, and without even attempting to mask her contempt, responds with: “Oh, is your husband in the music industry?”




Now let me be clear here.  I’m all Mennonite and whatnot.  I’m all on board with the whole good old family values and woman-heart-of-the-home and even man head-of-household crap.  I’m probably old-fashioned to a fault, I embrace my role as a mother, and I don’t even bother enough with feminism to know which amendment gave women the right to vote.  But LADY.  REALLY.

But is the only REAL solution to this puzzle that my husband must be the one to have pushed open that door?  That somewhere behind every successful man is a haggard-looking woman tagging along trying to look cool?  That somewhere in front of every tired mom is a detached, successful dad who lets her hitch her wagon to his star?  Yeah, that’s not right. 
What, boys? There's someone behind me?

So I brushed the crumbs off of my shirt onto her perfectly polished counter, said “No, I am,” gathered my young ‘un and our wares, and pouted myself out of the store.

As I made my way to my minivan, I thought: Maybe I should clean up just a little, trade up the sweatpants for some jeans, cover up the grays some highlights, consider getting some bangs...

Naaaahhhh.  Too much work.  Pass the bunny slippers.

The BentBeat Team
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