“Mom, I want all new clothes for the new school year.” I couldn’t tell if this was a legitimate (meaning sincere) request from my son, or if he were just sending up a trial balloon to see which way the wind was blowing.It didn’t matter. He might as well spit into the wind. It wasn’t going to happen. It couldn’t happen. And even if I had the means, it shouldn’t happen. Based on the diminishing respect my 13-year-old’s been showing me lately, he’s lucky I don’t start making his clothing myself – sewing together old, plastic mesh cat food bags so the “Special Kitty” el cheapo brand name is emblazoned across the front.
Of course, then he would complain that the other kids in his grade were wearing plastic mesh cat food bags that had the brand “Fancy Feast” or “Iams,” (the cat food equivalents of Hollister or Aeropostale) written across the front.
“You embarrass me when you send me to school wearing a cat food bag that has less natural flavor, more meat byproducts and killer fillers!” he would yowl. “People size up my nutrient panel and find me lacking. This is child abuse.” I’d throw him a bone in the form of the ASPCA phone number so he could report his mistreatment.
With this going through my mind, I also had a fleeting thought that he might be right. I remembered a middle school classmate wearing a car seatbelt in place of a real trouser belt several decades before that actually became briefly fashionable. That trip was far enough down memory lane that the streets were made of cobblestone, the men owned dress clothes, and people still said “trouser belt.”
No, I was quite sure I wasn’t launching my son off to school in garb that would get him beaten up. If I were, I would at least be a good enough mom to feed him a breakfast of raw meat and yell “Them’s fightin’ clothes!” as I shoved him out the door, itching for a self-defense bout with someone wearing a trendier cat food bag.
“But I just bought you some new clothes!” I reminded.
“Socks and underwear don’t count,” my son said. Except in this case they should. Regular underwear would no longer do, he informed me as we surveyed the unmentionables in the “I’m Too Big For Kids’ Britches, But Not Yet a Man” section at Kohl’s. He claimed he couldn’t live without “compression shorts.”What, exactly, are these modern marvels? Spandexy, Under Armourish, thigh-length version of women’s control top panty hose. Oh, they compress, alright. That’s why some young males report wearing them as a libido-disguising/limiting layer. In fact if there’s an upside to this relatively new garment, it’s that it helps prevent things from heading that direction.
According to Wikipedia, “Compression shorts are designed to keep the muscles warm to prevent muscle strain and fatigue, and wick sweat away from the body to prevent chafing and rashes.” The same source adds, “They are also used as a way to keep the male genitalia in place.” Bonus!
According to my son, compression shorts are so performance-enhancing he cannot possibly expect to compete athletically unless he owns several pair. I compromised and bought a two-pack, plus a spare to wear at home. By my calculations, they possess the power to help him finish household chores in record time. I imagine my son snagging Olympic Gold in the dishwashing competition.
“Mom, they’re no good for that kind of thing,” he spoils it. “You just don’t get it.”
No, I don’t. Just like he won’t be getting the new jeans for which he’s been begging. Compression shorts cost more than jeans. So I suggest my son wear his new compression shorts OVER his old jeans. And leave out the price tags as status symbols. He declines.
I’m back to scouting Salvation Army and Goodwill for jeans. Maybe some ultra-cool guy has died from the power surge of simultaneously wearing compression shorts and compression socks and his parents just donated his clothing to one of those used stores. It could happen.
I’ll be there to cash in on them. But better keep clipping the cat food coupons, too.