(Copyright 1997. All rights reserved.)

The Tattoo

--- Making a Permanent Impression Since 1994 ---

September 8, 1997

--- Essay---

Worse than shopping with your mother

Tattoo Staff Writer

Attention Teens: lock-up your parents and hide
in the basement. That's right, it's ...dun, dun,
dun... Back-To-School Shopping Time.
For those of you not able to make it to safety,
write your will, pick out a coffin, and get in
the car. You're going to the mall.
As if that weren't enough, your mother is going
with you.

But wait. At least you get to wear real clothes.

As a student at St. Paul Catholic High School, I
have to wear the required school uniform. I get
all the aggravation with none of the fun. I
don't get to choose real clothes, just the sizes
I want. That's it.
I would love to go through the trauma of having
jeans that make my ankles look fat or shirts
that make my earlobes look too big.

I guess I should be grateful I don't have to go
through the dreaded back-to-school shopping
scenario, but I'm not. Having worn school
uniforms all my life, I've never had the

My mother's fashion blunders are nothing worse
than choosing the wrong shade of khaki pants, or
too small oxford shirts.

Just for fun, I've dreamed up my own back-
to-school shopping experience:

I'm at the mall, which looks like a modern
torture chamber. It's time to shop. And shop I
There are shoe stores, department stores, and
just about any other store I can think of.
Hmmm. Maybe it won't be that bad. Irquote ve got
a walking credit card (Mom) and an entire mall
at my disposal.

Unfortunately, the credit card speaks. And she
speaks loudly, voicing her outdated opinions on
fashion for the world to hear.
While I'm busy assembling the perfect
outfit, I hear the unmistakable shriek of the
walking fashion disaster. "Wouldn't this pink
blouse look adorable with red pants and green

Loud sirens announce the arrival of the fashion
police. They've come to arrest my mother and
free me from her mismatched follies.
But wait. She hasn't paid for my clothes yet.
So, swallowing my anger, I rescue her from the
well-dressed officers and make my way to the
fitting rooms.

Five hours and millions of outfits later,
I'm ready to stab my mother repeatedly
with a hanger, a shoe -- anything to make
her stop.
Now I remember why I vowed never to go shopping
with my mom again. It is also, by the way, the
same reason my father hides under the bed when
she suggests cleaning. One word. Nag.

So far she's told me the pants are too big, too
long and too frayed. The shirts are too tight,
too revealing, too boyish, or too wild. 

I've had no better luck with any other clothing

What happened last year, I wonder. Somehow I
ended up with decent clothes that even my mom
liked. How? What was that magic word? Ah, yes.

With that, my mom and I head back into the store
and select some more clothes. Finally, I think,
this torture is ending.

Not yet, it's back to the fitting rooms. 

Oh no. The first pair of jeans make my butt look
big, the flares make my calves look huge, and
the carpenter jeans make me look like Shamu. 

On to the shirts. One makes my shoulders look
padded, another one makes my stomach look huge,
and the next one...well, let's just say, move
over, Babe.

I finally find some clothes that don't emphasize
or add to my weight. After shopping so long,
I'm just happy to put on my own clothes
and leave. 

So what if the jeans make my ankles a little
pudgy, and one of the shirts make my arms look
Exhausted, and somewhat content, Mom and I
trudge home, where she will stay until Back-To-
School Shopping next year.

You might think this is a nightmare, but it
would be a lot better than having no choice at

Personally, I don't know what you guys are
complaining about.