Saturday, December 18, 2004

Homework: The gift of popularity

For this week's homework, Scalzi asks:

Weekend Assignment #39: Tell us about the toy you had to have for the holidays when you were a kid, only to find out it was kinda disappointing once you had it.

There was never really a toy I had to have.  My parents taught me, at a pretty early age, to be skeptical of commercials, so I knew that the dancing Barbie wasn't really going to dance around the living room of her own volition.  Being cynical about advertising was very nearly a game we'd play -- when we'd see an ad, I'd try to guess how the words in the ad -- while technically true -- were describing something much less desirable than they implied (much like reading personal ads today).

But there was one thing I absolutely had to have.  It wasn't a toy (and it wasn't for the holidays), but boy, I wanted it something wicked:  designer jeans.  Man, if only I could ditch these embarassing Toughskins and walk around Junior High with Vidal Sassoon's name on my butt -- my humdrum existence would fade and I would instantly be part of the Popular Kids.  My pants were keeping me down

My mother refused.  Absolutely refused.  In her mind, having Gloria Vanderbilt's name on your back pocket branded you as stupid enough to dump twice as much money for a pair of jeans, and she was having no part of it.  When we went school-clothes shopping, it was back to Sears for me.  I even offered to pay the difference -- she could just give me the cost of the no-name jeans, and I'd pay the rest out of my babysitting money.  (To this day, I think she should have accepted the offer.)  But, no.  No kid of hers was going to waste money on these things.

And then... one day, a family friend took me school-clothes shopping.  And she bought me (gasp) Chemin de Fer cordoruys.  OK, they weren't jeans and they didn't have a top designer's name scrawled on the back -- but they came from a designer and you could tell because they had a little train on the button.

I showed that button to everyone at school.  (Yes!  Yes!  Look at my fly!  See how I'm wearing designer pants!)  And the people who were my friends anyway thought it was really cool that I had a pair of designer cords.  And the popular kids who'd ignored me before kept right on ignoring me. 

Lesson learned.


mom23nca said...

This story brings back memories for me.  When I was 12 I took my birthday money to The GAP and bought myself a pair of nice jeans.  They cost $18!!  I got home and my mom made me return them because she said it was a waste of money.  

mavarin said...

My mom refused to buy me any jeans at all. She believed that the only suitable clothes for a girl/woman were made of polyester.  You can imagine how THAT went over at school. My only compliments came from a 65-year-old English teacher. My first jeans (Levi or Wrangler) came from Joel's mom when I visited them over spring break.  After that I bought my own--almost always Levi or Wrangler. - Karen

fabshels said...

Your story reminds me of the time that I haaaaddd to have the Gloria Vanderbilt jeans. HAD TO! So Mom caved in and bought a pair. I got them home, wore them to school once, some boy commented on my butt and I never wore them again!!! HAD TO HAVE them though is what my Mom would say the next time I wanted something like that.