Last week we went suit-shopping for The Pony. We met the #1 son at J.C. Penney to guide us in our fashion quest. He always looks sharp. People have noticed, ever since that first school picture in kindergarten, when he refused to leave the Mansion in anything less than a white shirt with a vest and tie.
I asked if we would be meeting him around back, near the catalog pickup area, or in front. "Oh, we'll meet in front of the store." Said #1. So I walked all the way across the parking lot, into the store, and around a maze of yellow-brick-road-like white tile, to arrive in the mens clothing area at the back of the store, near the catalog pickup area.
#1 and I debated for a bit over the merits of various styles and shades of gray. The Pony stood by patiently, awkwardly shoving his arms into a suit jacket when commanded. Finally he was sent to the dressing room. I moved across to the shoe department and scammed a seat on one of their chairs. The Pony finally came out and stood uncomfortably while #1 and I re-dressed him with our eyes. "Those pants look too tight. I think he needs a bigger size. Here, Pony. Give us the jacket, and go put on these pants. Now let's look at shirts."
Of course the shirts I liked were declared cliche' by #1. He was for a check instead of a solid. We found a couple to present to The Pony, who finally came out in the bigger pants. We got his approval on a shirt, and sent him back to dress himself again. Then we searched for ties. "Mom. These ties are buy one, get one half off. Will you buy me this bowtie? I have the shirt in salmon that will just match it." Yeah. I would.
We (and by we, I mean #1) chose several ties for The Pony's approval. Of course he went with the one recommended by #1. What does a Pony know about ties, anyway? Then we sent him off to try on the shirt, because we were unsure of his neck size. Funny how it takes a Pony twice as long to put on a shirt as it does to put on a complete suit.
"Mom. You'll never find shirts cheaper than this sale they have today. You might as well get him another shirt. I'll pick one out." That meant another tie. I went to sit down again, since it seemed that The Pony and his shirt were not going to make an appearance this side of Christmas. When he emerged, only to be sent back with a smaller neck, after much huffing through flared nostrils, I checked the time. We had been there an hour already. Like Tina Turner, you know, #1 never does anything nice and easy.
We finally headed to the counter (back up front, of course) with a suit, two shirts, and three ties. #1 asked about any specials, and saved us another ten dollars off the half-price suit "sale" by using his smartphone to look up a barcode.
Contrast that excursion with today, when I took The Pony for a new pair of shoes. Not fancy dress shoes. He already has a pair in black and a pair in brown. He needs another pair of everyday Asics for prancing around Boys State and his Jackling Intro to Engineering camp.
"I would be fine with a pair just like these," said The Pony. "I like them, and they're comfortable." Not exactly cutting edge in fashion, that one.
We went back to the store where we got those shoes. Walked inside. The sales guy was on us like a freshman boy on a free cupcake. "Is there something particular you're looking for?"
"Yes. A pair of shoes like the kind he has on."
The guy showed us down the long aisle to the side wall. "Here are Asics. And some Nikes. They're all that style. Let me know if you need anything."
The Pony picked up the shoe on display. "This is it."
"That's exactly like the pair you have on. Don't you want a different color?"
"No. This is it." The Pony was already picking up the first box under that display. "That's my size. Let's go." Let the record show that I made him try one on, just in case. That shoe fit like a glove. We paid and left. Couldn't have been in there more than five minutes.
"Don't you like shopping with me better than shopping with #1?"
Yes. I think I do.