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COLUMN: The social politics of the clothes closet
There’s an advantage to having a daughter that I had not anticipated years ago, but I’m certainly aware of it now.
She does not borrow my clothes.
That may seem ridiculously obvious now, but it simply wasn’t something I would have thought of as a new father. I considered all sorts of pros and cons in terms of the gender of my offspring – which we didn’t know in advance, and became utterly irrelevant when she arrived – but clothing wasn’t among my musings.
This unimagined factor is at the forefront now, mostly because of the frequent, frustrated laments coming from our bedroom closet, as my wife searches in vain for her jeans/tops/tights and/or some other piece of apparel gone AWOL.
The reason said item cannot be located, is that it in all likelihood is adorning our 14-year-old daughter who, like most teens, works on the principle of what is yours is mine, particularly as it applies to her mother’s clothing.
Now, you may be thinking to yourself, wow, how is it that your wife wears the same clothing sizes of her teen?
And the answer to that is a genetic inclination toward the wispy side of slim, a race car metabolism, and a disciplined exercise regimen to keep it that way.
In other words, nothing a mere male mortal such as myself is ever going to experience.
If we had a 14-year-old son, he would not be borrowing my jeans.
a) They would not fit.
b) The other characteristics I do not possess are enduring tolerance and patience.
I subscribe to the corollary of our daughter’s outlook on possessions: What’s mine is mine, so keep your mitts off!
The girl does have a point though, when she tells my wife, “If we’d combine our stuff, look at all the selection we’d have!”
On the other hand, the Soviet Union tried to follow that dogma for decades, and it was ultimately defeated by human nature. In fact, the communists tore down a big high, concrete wall to get American jeans.
I’m thinking I may have to construct something similar around our walk-in closet to protect my wife’s wardrobe.
I don’t know why this is an issue at all, really. I mean, the teen has her own walk-in closet, which is not exactly bereft of garments.
Yet, ask her why she has yet again pillaged her mother’s clothing stock, and the response runs the gamut from “mine is in the wash; can’t find my own; this matches my shoes; or, hers fits better.”
Like most things feminine, I try to stay out of it. Nothing good can come from an unsolicited male perspective on mother-daughter dynamics.
I once suggested to my wife that a sure-fire solution to the issue would simply be for her to put on a few pounds, and move beyond the teen’s size range.
That earned me one of those female looks that can microwave a man’s liver at 50 metres.
I excused my poor sense of humour and beat a hasty retreat to the garage until the radiation dissipated.
There are a couple of other options available, although I haven’t put them forward.
When we see the teen coming, I distract her with an AE discount flyer, and the wife rescues an armload of her favourite fashions in a dash out the back door.
Or, here’s an even simpler approach.
Steal the kid’s clothes.
.. wait a minute ... aren’t those her jeans you’re wearing?
—Andrew Holota is the editor of the Abbotsford News