Most of the time, I thoroughly enjoy…and maaayyyybe take advantage of, a little bit (or, you know, “as often as humanly possible”…or whatever) being the only female in Casa WestEnders. But occasionally I have to admit that it can be somewhat…confusing. For example, as the designated Purchasing Agent for our team (makes it sound much more glamorous than Target-Costco Drone, yeah?) I handle such scintillating tasks as…procuring socks and underwear for everyone. Now, you’d think this would be sooo simple, right? I mean, I’m the only one who should have to weigh her options and make choices—what with the variety of fabrics, cuts, and often inexplicable sizes a woman must navigate through, just to cover her bum in a manner that she finds satisfactory, for crying out loud. (Don’t get me started…and BRAS? Pffttt….fuhgeddaboutit!)
So, we (that would be “the royal we”—otherwise known as “I”, of course) reached an agreement on our Sock Policy a long time ago. This can be summed up as: Nothing White. E-V-E-R. Therefore, each of the male persons gets black ones, and I try to distinguish them by buying 3 different brands, so when the laundry contains, oh, approximately 300 socks (Okay, that may very well be a gross exaggeration…but as the person who also manages the bulk of Operation Clean Clothing, it's totally within my rights…) we can fairly easily sort them to the correct owner.
As far as…their unmentionables...wait, they’re GUYS, so they don’t give a hoot if we talk about their undies, right? Well, how about we don’t tell them anyway, just in case? Deal? Right, moving on…Husband’s generally a “briefs man”, so his are easy to separate out from the pack. Then the boys decided--somewhere after the end of the diaper phase--that they preferred boxer briefs…but while they settled on the same manufacturer, fortunately they are happy with different…models? So the bottom line (Ha! Sorry…) is that it’s pretty easy to tell which ones belong to each member of the Male Posse, and for me to obtain more of them when they wear out, without having to take any extraordinary measures to do so. (Oh, don’t worry, you’ll see what this means, shortly…).
And then, Riley has to go and throw a monkey wrench into the whole, smoothly-running system. One day he comes looking for me and says, “Can I get some new underwear?” Well, sure--not a problem, son…except that he had a peculiar look on his face that warranted further questioning. So I asked, “Whyyy, what’s up?” With an expression that was...maybe part embarrassed...part sheepish, he answered, “Can I get something that’s like what I have now…but…looser?”
“Ummmm…ohhhkaaay—are you just talking about a size bigger?” He considered this for a moment, then replied, “The ones I’m wearing now are tight around my legs, and I don’t like the way that feels.” Oh, boy. (Ha! Sorry again…)This is perhaps when I should have directed him immediately to go talk to ANYONE ELSE IN THE HOUSE because, they’re, you know, “your people”. But I’m the mother, and therefore it’s somewhere in my unwritten contract (or it could be just my ridiculously stubborn disposition…yeah, it’s probably that one…) that I never duck from a challenge. Thus I assured him I’d try to find something that would function, to comfortably accommodate his…manly parts…and whatnot. (Ay yi yi…)
But first we had to have a conversation about what, exactly, he wanted in his undergarments. (Heaven help me…) “How about the briefs that Dad wears,” I suggested, “Since they don’t wrap around your legs at all?” His response was instant and vehement, “Uh-uh. I don’t want those!” Wow...duly noted! Well, then, how about boxers?” I inquired. Not having any prior experience with said apparel, he appeared puzzled, so I found myself describing what they are….and how they…work? (And again: why was it ME having this little chat? Next time I swear I’m sending him straight to the Locker Room…um “his father or brother”…)The horrified look on his face was hilarious as he blurted, “Oh, nooooo, that would be awful!” I’m not entirely sure what he was reacting so strongly to—the undesired…freedom? The vastly increased potential for wardrobe malfunction?The threat of…flapping in the breeze? This is sooooo far out of my area of expertise, y’all…
So after this detailed--if only slightly helpful or informative--exchange, off I went to Target… and simply selected another brand of boxer briefs for him to test drive. However, when I brought them home, Riley declared (in a terribly disappointed manner) “they feel exactly the same as the other ones.” Siiighhhh—Strike One. Clearly, there was only one thing left to do—that which I’d hoped fervently to avoid: drag the child to the store with me, and have him actually try on the dang things to figure out what would please him…and his picky little tushie.
Aaannnd, it went just about how you’d expect. I handed him several packages, representing The Big Two (that would be Hanes and Fruit of the Loom), in a variety of sizes and styles, and sent him off to the dressing room. After what seemed like an inordinately long delay, he emerged, huffily disgruntled, and forcefully announced that NONE of them were right. Furthermore, he didn’t want to put any more effort into it; rather, he’d make do with what he already had. (Reeeaaallly, teenager? That’s all the shopping stamina you got? Calm down, you’re with the Master. We’re gonna Get. This.Done. Even if it kills both of us…)
Next I used my…Mom Jedi Powers…to talk him down off the…sartorial ledge, and promised him that, since we now had a better idea of what we were looking for (which, as we actually still were fairly clueless, was a small, allowable Parental Fib, necessary to continue forward with the Mission) we’d do just one more fitting session before calling it quits. With fingers firmly crossed, I handed him a marginally higher-priced (but still well within reason) “premium” Hanes version, in Medium and Large, and sent him off to give them a whirl. This time, when he exited the testing zone, a smile had replaced the scowl, and he announced a WINNER. (And the waiting choir took their cue to belt out a heartfelt “Hal-le-lu-jah”…or maybe that was just me…)
So it may have been a...marginally traumatic event...for the both of us…but the end result is that the child is quite content with his fresh, new…agreeably accommodating?...underwear. And as far as I’m concerned, I’m now buying him that exact same kind until he moves out of the house and starts doing his own blessed shopping! So there!