On our third day of this American life, the professor and I found ourselves in Target, alone; our progeny basking in grandmotherly adoration. I peeked at the women’s clothing clearance racks. Because I can’t resist the urge to sift through dozens of ‘no-one-wanted-to-buy-this’ shirts, in the off-chance a gem is hiding in the shadows of the fashion don’ts.
It happens less frequently each time I go, but still I persist. And this time, I was rewarded…..sort of.
I found a pile of discounted jeans stacked carelessly upon a shelf. They were 75% off their original price: $4.98. I may have drooled a little, until I saw that they were of the dreaded skinny-jean variety – those tapered, clingy pants I vowed never to wear. In a size worn only by preteens and celebrities.
I was deflated. Until I saw a pair in a rather large size. I was somewhat appalled by the number, but drawn to the low price. So I put them in my cart. Along with a pair of seven-dollar cargo skinny pants.
We meandered along to the shoe section where I found a pair of Converse sneakers in a size almost as large as my jeans for $7.48. I wasn’t sure I liked Converse sneakers, but I figured I could be convinced….at that price. I found a pair of shoes for each of the boys for less than that amount.
I was in clearance heaven.
And then I got home. I pulled on my skinny cargo pants and tiptoed out to the porch where the professor was sitting with my mother. I was unsure. The pants did fit. But they were of the unflattering-on-mere-mortal variety. But they were $7.
‘What do you think,’ I asked the critics, bracing myself for their response.
They looked at me. And their eyes grew wide in a puzzled sort of way. And not-a-sound emanated from their mouths.
‘I like the shirt,’ my mom changed the subject. And I turned and walked out of the room while the professor may or may not have tried a halfhearted ‘it looks alright’.
I tried the jeans on next, and offered myself up to the ‘what-not-to-wear’ judges. ‘I like those better,’ my mom opined. And the professor concurred.
So I kept both. As I told my mom, ‘I don’t even know if I like them….but they cost $5.’
We took the boys to the playground and I wore my skargo pants and my Converse sneakers. With pseudo confidence.