This Mother And Son Are Hardly A Well-Matched Pair

, , , , | Related | August 29, 2020

When I was a stroppy teenager, still not financially independent of my parents, my mother used to accompany me on my shopping trips for clothes. This was consistently one of the most acutely embarrassing experiences of my life because she never understood men, particularly teenage boys.

It was bad enough that every time we were buying trousers for me, she would announce in a strident voice that “he’s rather big in the bot,” but the stupidest ever was shoe shopping.

My mother found one of the ugliest shoes I’d ever seen and decided she was going to buy it for me. She thrust it at a young man who was not much older than me — this was a Saturday, and in those days, practically the entire staff of a shop in our town was school students earning their pocket money — demanding that he find the other one.

The poor guy was already overwhelmed by being one of a very few people in a heaving shop, he was being run ragged, and he was not having a good time of it. He rushed off to find the matching shoe, and when he came back I could see that, while similar in shape and colour, the details were different; the trim was different, the treads were different, etc.

Me: “It’s the wrong shoe.”

Mother: “It’s perfectly adequate; stop fussing.” *To the worker* “We’ll have these, then.”

Me: “But they don’t match; they’re not the same shoe!”

Mother: “They’re close enough, you silly boy. Stop making a fuss and upsetting the staff.”

By this time, the shop worker has noticed that yes, indeed, perhaps the shoes don’t actually match, so he really shouldn’t be selling them as a pair. Overwhelmed as he is, he thrusts the shoes in the direction of a colleague, who happens to be female.

My mother crows in her posh, overbearing Karen voice.

Mother: “Oh, don’t go giving them to a silly girl. Just sell me the shoes!”

Fortunately, the girl is on top of her game and competent, and she asks ME which is the shoe I want.

Me: “I don’t really like either of them, but this one was the one we were getting.”

Female Worker: “Don’t worry; it gets better.”

And she twirled off to go and get the proper mate for the shoe.

I wondered at the time what she meant when she said, “It gets better,” but I got my head round it a few years later, when I finally was able to do my own shopping.

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