Tag Archives: Fashion

A Penny Earned Is a Penny Spent

9 Oct

by Roger White 

Powerful thing, motivation. Think about it. With proper motivation, master sculptor Gutzon Borglum led a small army of workers from 1927 to 1941 to transform a stark South Dakota mountaintop into the 60-foot high carvings of presidents Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt, and Lincoln we now know as Mount Rushmore. With an amazing store of motivation, Latvian immigrant Edward Leedskalnin took 28 years to single-handedly construct the astounding Coral Castle in southern Florida, a bizarre collection of more than 1,000 tons of limestone monoliths—all fashioned together so intricately and mysteriously that the estate is a major tourist attraction today.

Yet more unbelievable than that, given the appropriate amount of motivation, a 14-year-old daughter who normally wouldn’t deign to put her dirty dishes in the sink is now dynamo girl—washing the family cars, plucking weeds from the yard, sweeping sidewalks, and (gasp) even cleaning her room. To fully appreciate the (gasp), one must experience this room for one’s self. But if I shared an actual photo of this, this…place with all of you ones then this one would surely be shunned by our young one for a long, long time. And we might risk a visit from a certain one wearing a CPS jacket. But I digress.

Borglum’s motivation was fame, spiced with a hefty dose of national pride. Leedskalnin was inspired by mad genius. Our kiddo? Cold, hard cash. And the fact that she’s been coveting some $100 pair of shorts that she simply must have because “all the girls are wearing them.” Personally, I think shelling out a nice, crisp Ben Franklin for some scant fabric that will likely be passé within three months time is ridiculous, but who am I to argue fashion? I still have a leisure suit in the closet. A green leisure suit. And saddle shoes. Besides, if I can spring for a fiver here and there to avoid yardwork, I say give the kid some real-world responsibilities. Heck, she’s even learning the fine art of negotiation. You should have heard her working her grandmother; she would have made a used-car dealer proud.

Bubbie: “Jamie, I hear you’re needing some money. I’ll pay you five dollars to wash my car.”

Jamie: “Five dollars? Your car’s filthy. Look at it. Twenty.”

Bubbie: “You’d charge your dear, old Bubbie twenty dollars? I’m on a fixed income! Seven.”

Jamie: “It’s a mess! How do you drive that thing? Fifteen.”

Bubbie: “Eight.”

Jamie: “Ten, take it or leave it.”

Bubbie: “Do the windows and hubcaps?”

Jamie: “You’re a hard one, Bub. Deal. Cash up front.”

I must say, watching our entrepreneurial offspring make sky-high stacks (as they say on “Breaking Bad”) has now motivated Mom and Dad. Thanks to our beneficent Bubbie, who has grown weary of her massive collection of mint-in-box Barbies, we’ve recently found ourselves in possession of several hundred anatomically exaggerated blondes in everything from Bob Mackie gowns and Queen Elizabeth garb to Harley leather. Our first instinct was a giant garage sale, but Bubbie scolded us into submission. These are collector’s items, she insisted. Look them up!

So we did. Sweet ghost of G.I. Joe’s grandma, she was right! Apparently, the first edition Harley Davidson Barbie goes for about seven hundred dollars. Another one in that same series lists for almost as much. Whole bunches of these tiny babes sell for pretty pennies, based on how many they made and how hard they are to find. And then there are the variations and errors. On some models, they may have run out of brown paint for Barbie’s eyes, so they made five or six of that line with blue eyes. Or a certain doll may be mistakenly looking left instead of right. Or a certain Ken doll may accidentally have three testicles. To true collectors, these rare gems are the golden fleeces of Barbie hunting. And these crazed toy hunters are willing to pay beaucoup bucks to get them.

OK, I was joking about the Ken doll. Stop searching. But hey, if you need your weeds plucked, I know a kid…

 

Roger White is a freelance writer living in Austin, Texas, with his lovely wife, two precocious daughters, a very fat dachshund, and a self-absorbed cat. For further adventures, visit oldspouse.wordpress.com.

Who Wears Short Shorts? Apparently Everybody Now.

8 Sep

by Roger White 

 

So while I’m waiting for the pain meds to kick in, let’s talk about dad radar for a bit, shall we? Mind you, dad radar is generally not nearly as potent or vigilant as mom radar. To compare, mom radar is somewhere on the scale of the National Weather Service’s gigantic Doppler Array systems—you know, those things that look like monster ping pong balls perched atop our nation’s tallest mountain ranges—while dad radar would be likened to the handheld jobs used to clock baseball speed or thereabouts. Dad radar works, but not nearly on the same level as mom radar.

That being said, my little detection gun did sound recently when wifey and the girls came back from their Annual School Clothes Shopping Safari at The Mall. I was anxious enough as it was, watching the smoke rise from the wife’s purse, knowing that where there’s smoke, there’s an exhausted MasterCard white hot from all the day’s friction. The anxiety level only increased as my girls, a sophomore and an eighth-grader-going-on-college, began exhibiting their safari trophies.

Note to dads everywhere who have daughters: (1) a blouse is not a shirt, so don’t call it that; (2) same goes with a skirt—it’s not a dress, it’s a skirt; (3) girl clothes and accessories, although by and large much, much tinier than boy clothes and such, are exponentially more expensive—quantity of cloth and/or plastic used to make a girl thing does not equal price of girl thing; and (4) if you have no idea what it is, just say “very nice.”

That’s not the high anxiety part, however. No, this episode began when the girls modeled their new shorts. And when I say “shorts,” never has the word had a more appropriate meaning. The smidgens of clothing I witnessed having a god-awful time trying to do their job were so minuscule that my radar gun melted before it ever had a chance to make a sound.

“They’re volleyball shorts, dad. Everybody’s wearing them.” That was the explanation I got for all the skin. And here’s the weird part: As I stood there, open-mouthed with my dad radar gun melted all over my shoes, the wife just smiled happily and said she liked the color.

The room started to swirl.

“They’re a little, uh, short, aren’t they?” was the best I could muster.

“I think they’re cute.”

“Well, sure, dear, Bettie Page was cute, too, but…”

“Who’s Bettie Page?”

“Never mind. It’s obvious you were never a teenage boy.”

And there’s the rub. Nobody in that room, except for me, had ever been a teenage boy. And I know how teenage boys think. There are only two things on a teenage boy’s mind, I told wifey later, teenage and girls.

“Oh, they’re all wearing them,” she said. “You’re being way overprotective.”

This from the woman who makes the girls walk together to fetch the mail.

I spent the remainder of the evening arguing with the wife, the debate meandering from fashion and hemlines to morals and health class curriculum back around to clothes and the evolution of the school dress code.

“Well, in my day, the assistant principal measured the length of girls’ dresses and shorts with a ruler,” I huffed. “What do they use today, a toothpick?”

“You’re sounding old again, dear.”

“Well I am old, dammit. Why does everyone insist on showing so much skin these days?”

My whole line of reasoning was immediately sunk, however, when I tuned into the ESPN Classic Channel’s broadcast of the 1975 NBA playoffs. I’d conveniently forgotten how disturbingly tight and skimpy the shorts were then; jeez, Rick Barry was showing enough skin to frighten off Hannibal Lecter. I flashed back to my high school sophomore year and my purple crushed-velvet hip huggers. Man. How did I get any circulation?

Ah, well. Guess I need to get a new dad radar gun.

 

Roger White is a freelance writer living in Austin, Texas, with his lovely wife, two precocious daughters, a very fat dachshund, and a self-absorbed cat. For further adventures, visit oldspouse.wordpress.com.