We parents spend a lot of time trying to teach our kids stuff, but sometimes we're the ones who have to be taught a lesson.
My wife and her friend had hair appointments Sunday afternoon. Our daughter wanted to go with them, but I could tell from the look on my wife's face that mama needed a few hours of time with just the grown-ups, so I tried to convince our daughter Madyson to go off with me instead. It went something like this:
"What are you going to do?" Madyson asked.
"I have to go buy a new belt."
"That's boring. I want to go with mama."
"You know, where daddy is going, there's also a Justice, and I have a coupon for $15 off," mama said.
"I want to go with daddy."
Now for those who don't know, Justice sells clothes for girls. I'm guessing they cater to little girls up to "tweens" and younger teenagers, but that's just a guess because as you'll soon see, I know very little about such things.
So I get the coupon, tell my daughter we'll get one, maybe two things at the store, and off we go.
It's only after we're on our way that I realize what I'm doing - my trip to buy a belt has turned into a shopping trip.
But hey, I think, it's a father/daughter afternoon, right? How bad can a few minutes in a girls' clothing store be anyway?
The answer in a moment.
The trip started out great. As luck would have it, there's a guitar store I'd always wanted to go to on the way to this particular shopping center, so we made a side trip.
Then it was off to my store for the belt. If you'd been in the Casual Male in Commerce at approximately 5 o'clock Sunday afternoon, you'd have heard this:
"Daddy, how about this belt? Daddy, this suit would look good on you. Daddy, you should try on this shirt. Daddy, what size belt do you wear? Is this belt the right size? How about this one? Daddy, are you going to try on this suit? What about this coat? Do you need some shirts? You should get one of all of these. And then one of these ties. Then, when you need to dress up for your boss ... Do you have a boss? You have a boss. Do you have a big boss? When you have to dress up for him you'll look soooo cool."
For 20 minutes. She might have taken a breath at some point, but I can't be sure.
We finally left with the belt and headed for her store.
This is not a place for middle-aged men. When you walk in you are assaulted by bright colors, bright walls, bright floors, bright mirrors and bright music. And men, listen to me: If you think for one moment you will retain any bit of authority once inside, think again.
She ran for the jeans. The sales lady came over and before I knew it we had a stack of jeans, most with flares here, embroidery there, sparkly things and yes, holes pre-cut into them.
The first pair Madyson tried on fit and were affordable. We're done, I thought, mistakenly.
She tried on lots of jeans. They'd changed the way they do sizes at this store and nothing else that was supposed to fit actually fit. She went back and got more. She got distracted. She looked at things we were not there to buy, like sparkly diaries, sparkly hair clips and a lot of other things that sparkled.
And she ran around. A lot.
Once she'd picked out the jeans she wanted (the ones with the holes, of course) I told her she could pick a shirt to go with it. Cue the running around again. She found a shirt that fit, but she wanted a different color. At this point, I had no idea what size she even wore anymore, how much this shirt cost and I was beginning to lose my grip on reality from trying to keep up with her. I made a vain stab at regaining control of the situation.
She stopped, sort of.
"Slow down a minute so I can see what size you need, then we can pick a color. Let's do this in an orderly fashion."
She sighed and looked at the sales lady. "This is why daddies and daughters don't go clothes shopping together."
And I don't have to be told twice.
E-mail Nate McCullough at email@example.com. His column appears on Fridays.