Today, I’m going to the mall with my daughter to buy her some back-to-school clothes. In case you’ve never shopped with a teenage girl before, you should probably know that there are usually a few rules to go along with this type of outing. Every family is a bit different, but typically, it’s pretty strict. It’s like being in jail without the actual bars. I thought I would outline the “Raynor Family” rules for you. If I don’t come back alive, you will at least know what I’ve been through. OK, so the above rule #1 – no holding hands – is a joke. As if. Now let’s get serious…
1. Don’t be a bitch. This refers to me. And it means don’t try to tell her to “hurry up” or “stop spending so much”. Not sure I’ll abide by those guidelines, but they’ve been painfully set in place nonetheless.
2. We must plan to arrive at the mall as soon as it opens, thereby giving ourselves a good two hour cushion before the rest of the teenage world shows up to shop. Obviously, my daughter doesn’t want to be seen with me. I think this rule is pretty universal.
3. On the way there in the car, we will be listening to my daughter’s music, because the stuff I like is old and lame and just plain shit. It’s a good thing I like JJ Money. Who am I kidding? No I don’t. I thought I might sound cool if I said I did. My daughter says that no matter what, I am NOT cool.
4. As for what I’ll be wearing, my outfit should no doubt, be very nondescript. In case any other teenagers have gotten the same idea to shop early, my daughter wouldn’t want to draw any unwanted attention to us. I think she has picked out a grey shirt and my Gap khakis for me to wear I can’t look too “out of it”, but I also can’t look too “with it” otherwise I may be deemed “trying too hard” and that would be bad – very bad. Furthermore, I can’t wear shorts. Apparently, NOBODY wants to see my aging legs. And there will be no jewelry either. That could make me look slutty. Lastly, I have to make sure I bring my glasses so that I don’t end up looking like a complete idiot when I go to buy something and I can’t read the card machine’s instructions. I had to ask my daughter to help me last time. I couldn’t see which one was the “savings” and which one was the “chequing” account. She almost blew a gasket afterward. “That was so fucking embarrassing,” she fumed. I nearly pushed her out of the moving car.
5. We will drive past the skate board park on the way “to the mall” and on the way “back from the mall” as well. And no, there is no one in particular that she is on the lookout for at or near there. Yes, it takes us longer to get to where we are going if we travel that route, but it is way more scenic. We get to drive through an industrial complex.
6. I shall not speak to her once we are inside the mall unless she speaks to me first, and then, only in short, one sentence answers. “You always talk so loud. Be quiet for once in your life.” Of course, I talk loud. That’s what happens when you are used to no one ever listening to you – your voice just gradually increases in volume over time. Isn’t that why old people yell? And you thought it was because they couldn’t hear.
7. Upon arrival at the mall, we will park within fifty feet of the door even if it means driving in the opposite direction down the one-way in the parking garage, or going around and around a few times until a spot becomes available. No way in hell is she gonna walk those twenty extra steps. Are you fucking kidding her?
8. She will ask me at some point in our travels to buy her a treat – like a muffin or a donut or something. This is a test. I repeat – THIS IS A TEST! Even if she says, “Are you trying to make me fat?” upon approaching the counter, I will STILL do it. Remember, I have already been bound by the laws of “not being a bitch” to deny her such indulgence.
9. I will spend the amount of money that we agreed upon – plus probably double that – to buy the things she needs because her “body has changed these last two months and nothing fits her anymore”. This will include three pairs of pants, a pair of shoes, a few t-shirts, a cardigan, and a new bag. I will be prepared to spend the extra on miscellaneous items without inquiry or complaint, because I know that “girls go through a lot of peer pressure when it comes to wearing the right clothes” and “I do NOT want her to be an outcast or worse, have her do something very bad to herself because her self esteem could get to an all time low”? Jesus, was I like this when I was her age?
10. If I see anyone I know, I must put my head down and walk very fast straight to the exit. If I can’t get away in time, and the person ends up talking to me, my daughter has said that she WILL NOT do any work for her allowance for the next three months. I guess then nobody will put their shoes in the mud room instead of at the front door, like that is such a hard job.
11. NOTE: This is a very important rule. WHAT HAPPENS AT THE MALL, STAYS AT THE MALL. This pertains mainly (but not exclusively) to money and/or to arguments about money and/or to her behaviour. If asked, I will tell my husband (her father) that it was a GREAT bonding experience, and that we only spent $50. We wouldn’t want him to have a bad impression of his precious daughter, thereby not taking her friend Samantha (name has been changed to protect the innocent) on the trip at Christmas, now would we?
12. Lastly, but no less importantly, when we get home, I must not ask her to help make dinner. She will be tired from the stress of trying stuff on and from riding the escalators. I should just make her a cup of hot chocolate. She will be waiting impatiently on the couch for it. Oh, and that rule about eating bad does not apply at home. No one can see her there. Why do I always have to ask such stupid question, thereby making people’s lives so difficult? Never mind, I’ll just shut up and do it. Then I’ll be going to bed…for a week..at least. My head hurts already.