When out for a peaceful, contemplative stroll, it is best to avoid crossing paths with small- to medium-sized groups of teenagers. The same goes for taking an angry stroll as well–steer clear of teens. They can be too loud, and are always yelling dumb things that don’t make any sense, even to themselves. There is nothing like the power of a group of unruly teens to shatter one’s tranquility. Besides having to abort the self-fertilized fetus of great ideas developing within oneself, such encounters can make one really dislike teens. In the worst of situations, the dislike can become so great that it can infect one’s love of strolls–which in turn makes one dislike teens even more. It is a vicious cycle, one that unfortunately starts when teens inflict their damage upon innocent strolls everywhere.
On one such occasion, I was on my own perfectly innocent evening walkabout. With purposefully rhythmic walking, at a brisk pace just below the sweat threshold, I was really gliding. Upon turning a corner, teens.
Teen1: “Hey nice shirt.”
Me: “Thank you.”
Teen2: “Your Mom’s got good taste.” (Some quiet teen chuckling sounds)
Me: “No…She has GREAT taste.”
Now, I could have substituted an “Unlike your mom’s,” or “So does yours” kind of ending to the encounter, or even a positive “Stay in school!” but the goal was to get out of the situation as quickly as possible, without violence or some kind of never-ending mom-related insult back and forthing. Luckily, they were caught off guard enough to saunter off in search of a less weird victim.
You might be asking, “What, besides the temperature-appropriate perfectly fitted shirt itself, gave you the power to defend your choice against tasteless teenagers? Was it the confidence of knowing that you and your mom were on the exact same men’s style wavelength?” Yes, to the second question. And then that one answers the first one!
When a man and his mom are unified stylistically, no sarcastic teen can break that bond. Some people might disagree with the practice of a man’s mother occasionally buying him clothes, citing it as something that a man grows out of on his journey towards becoming a Fully Grown Adult Male. But, it is not the practice that men grow out of; rather, it is the lack of great results that is tiresome. How many gentlemen have suffered under moms who were unable to pick out the right clothes? And if those failures kept repeating, who can blame the man for giving up? At some point one has to put a stop to it and go off on one’s own. And many do. Some succeed, some fail. But even among the successful, I feel a great loss when imagining what they could have become, what they could have looked like, with their mom on their team as well.
So, how did mom and I get to that point of being on the “same men’s style wavelength”?
Part One: The Mimic
In the beginning, it’s hard for a mom to know what kind of clothes you will like as a Fully Grown Adult male. You’re your own big man now, an independent entity. You do your own laundry, or you pay someone else to do it. You’ve been buying most of your own clothes, and the observant mom’s first strategy is–wisely–to mimic. Now by copying the choices you’ve already made, she learns the subtle stylistic differences between what appears to the mom to be, “the same thing.” As in, “What’s wrong with this shirt? It’s just like that other one you have.”
Part Two: The Thrill of the Sale
Clothes can be expensive, and if you’re trying to help out your offspring by clothing them–an important part of parenting–one has to spend wisely. Here is where the smart mom’s mastery of sales, discounts, coupons, etc., comes into play, and enables her to carpet bomb a Fully Grown Adult Male with a variety of cost-conscious clothing options. One of those options is bound to explode on him in the right way.
Part Three: Mind Meld
The adept mom eventually understands your clothing likes and dislikes so well that she can predict future tastes. It is a skill developed over time, and is constantly being refined. Sure, sometimes there’s a misfire, and a weird item shows up (“It was on sale!”), but the speed with which the observant mom adapts is incredible. Most important to keep in mind, however, is that these acts spring from pure generosity. Moms have millions of things to do; yet there they are, keeping an eye out for slim fitting fifteen-and-a-half thirty-five white Irish linen dress shirts with double front pockets and a medium spread collar, on sale.
So be thankful, and respect your ally.