I write what I know.
I know boys.
I should know boys, as I have five of them, ages 20, 19, 18, 7, and 6. Now, I get told alot that I look too young to have kids that age, and I’ll be the first to agree. I AM too young to have boys that age, I started early, as I seem to have done with nearly everything else in my life.
I thought I was ready for puberty, as I’d read up on all the things to do and not to do with boys, so I believed
truly and without one doubt I was fully prepared for every extingency.
To say I was proven wrong is a gross understatement.
Oh, I was right about the stench I’d been warned about. That developed around age 11 or 12, a mixture between wet dog and rotting compost that made me throw towels at the boys and beg them to take showers. A not so fond memory among many, is nearly passing out when I bent down to pick something up in front of a shirtless boy who had apparently not discovered deodorant, though I had purchased and pressed it eagerly upon him. He thought my reaction was hilarious, as I backed away reeling from the fumes his budding hormones were putting out. I thought later I should’ve immediately pegged him in the head with a stick of deodorant, but I admit, I wasn’t brave enough to risk the loss of consciousness in getting that close again.
What I was stunned to discover as we got past the wet dog/rotting compost smell was that boys equal, if not excel, women wanting to look their best. Over the course of their puberty, I realized they actually primped more than I did at their age, and as I grew up in the era of curling irons, teased hair, and tons of hairspray, that’s fairly impressive.
Mall trips meant three boys furiously running to see who could get to the shower first, the one left out muttering angrily to himself, and threatening the other two when they emerged, smelling nice for a change. I observed, totally dumbstruck, on more than one occasion, all the boys standing in the kitchen after a shower, sniffing one another’s wrists to determine what cologne would fit the occasion best.
Having to go out and run errands with the boys one day, I ran downstairs to find one boy with a baseball cap on backwards, teasing the hair that stuck through hole in the ball cap with hair gel. This wasn’t limited to preparation at home, as I endured standing beside the men’s bathroom more than once to wait for someone to dampen their hair down, or dampen the mousse, gel, or pomade they were using to make their hair stand up.
Trying on clothes became a real chore. I think the ladies out there reading this blog know that trying on clothes can be a frustrating, lengthy process, that doesn’t necessarily wind up being a win/win situation, but more often a crushing, self esteem deflating trip, with those mirrors and that lighting. Trying on clothing is still a hellacious process for me, and I want to take a minute to thank Mom for these hips and thighs, they make the experience so….NOT rewarding. (Mom giggles every time I thank her)
Whatever hell it is for me to try on clothing, I never imagined what hell it would be to go clothes shopping with newly minted, hair-sprouting-in-weird-places, hormones raging, boys. The hours spend in front of mirrors, the conferences on if their ass looked good in these jeans, (holy shit, men CARE about that…I never knew) if they should go with the plaid or the patterned shirt, and then to my horror and dismay, accessories came up, and they ran to grab some to compare and contrast with the offerings available.
At that point, I lost it. I ran over to the ladies department and grabbed all the tassled, faux leather, and gaudily colored lingerie I could, and with my husband standing on, grinning, I pelted them over the doors of the dressing rooms, so they rained down upon my offspring. Needless to say, it wasn’t appreciated, as other school shopping, trendy boys were there, but it got the job done, I was able to go home, after the obligatory argument at the cash register over which kid could borrow what from whom, and so on.
This wasn’t the worst thing, however. After my husband and I endured the stench, the self involvement, and dire warningsif they didn’t have the must-haves (which they did NOT always get), they stopped caring. Closets stuffed with things they previously would’ve DIED if they didn’t have, all three suddenly started wearing the same pair of jeans and ratty tshirt, day after day, to school as I observed, aghast. When asked why they weren’t wearing more of the plethora of stuff I had purchased, I was told that this was their favorite thing right now, and I should be happy they loved what they were wearing.
To say this didn’t sit well is a understatement. I went through their overstuffed closets and prepare a yard sale that would rival some small department stores. I gleefully thought THIS would teach them their lesson, but how wrong I was. They merely asked if they could get some return on “their” investment. I refuse to print exactly what I said, but if you’ve heard my radio show, you can imagine it wasn’t pretty. I will say it involved stuffing the cash made from the yard sale so far up certain orifices, I could use each and every boy as my own safe deposit box…and I warned them gloves that covered my entire arm and industrial strength lube would be involved in the withdrawal process.
Fortunately for me, the oldest three are all on their own now, and responsible for buying their own clothing. The happiest day of my life so far was when I accompanied my oldest son on his first shopping trip for the basics, jeans socks, underwear, shoes, and all the items you rather need to get a job, or to just live comfortably. As I watched him casually throw things into the shopping cart, I feverishly speculated with no small amount of glee what his reaction would be when we got to the register, and I was rewarded even more handsomely than I’d imagined.
When all was rung up and my son saw the total for the first time (it was $125) he SCREAMED, (I kid you not, he did scream)”Oh my God!!!!” and turned paler than the time he ran into a moving vehicle (let me be clear here, HE ran into a moving vehicle, the vehicle did NOT run into him) on his bike. The cashier, the lady waiting in line behind us, and myself all dissolved in helpless laughter, as I had announced before it was all rung up that it was his first shopping trip where he paid for everything on his own dime.
I am thankful that my oldest three are able to get their own clothing, apartments, start college and basically make it on their own. But from the distance time affords, I can say I miss some of the more hilarious moments they provided me with, and really wouldn’t have traded it for anything else.
That said, check with me in four or five years.
I have two boys left.