If there was a montage of clips from every shopping trip of my youth, it would be set to The Rolling Stones’ “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.”
There are a few simple reasons why:
- I was (and in many ways continue to be) very flaky when committing to one particular style. I wanted sparkle-encrusted shirts. I wanted flowy boho skirts. I wanted one of those weird shirts that stretches to fit all sizes, but actually just shrinks up and exposes your stomach at church. (No? Just me? K, cool.)
- My mother was much too practical to indulge my interest in trends. She refused to entertain our desire to be on the bandwagon, unless the bandwagon was rolling past knockoff brands on the 50% off rack.
This often backfired on both of us, because I would stubbornly decide that this was the only article of clothing I had ever wanted and we absolutely HAD to have it. And yes, mom, I’ll wear it ALL the time. And I know I said that last time about that butterfly shirt, but this is more me! I’d get so caught up in convincing my mother to switch her automatic “No,” that I’d fight and fight and fight for something I’d only kind of wanted in the first place.
(Remember the notorious Limited Too Shirt situation?)
And of course, my mother was usually right. If I won, we’d bring my trendy new clothes home, I’d wear it once, decide it made me look like a weirdo, and never wear it again. If I lost, I’d sniff dramatically as we drove home because my mother didn’t want me to be cool, and then I’d promptly forget that I’d ever wanted name-brand Uggs.
There are only two things I’ve ever begged for, not gotten, and still remain incredibly bitter about.
One is my high school off-campus lunch pass. (Cue reel of me eating lunch alone in the cafeteria when all of my friends hightailed it out of that prison.) Mom claimed I “didn’t want it enough.” Then she bought my sister one a year later. I will continue to bring this up at family gatherings as evidence that I am not the favorite child until the day I expire.
The other is those sweet clear plastic jelly sandals that epitomized the height of elementary school fashion in 1999.
I spent weeks trying to convince my mother that these were a worthy purchase. These were my way into the elite group of “popular” kids in my class. (These were the days when being popular meant getting first choice of markers and having the other girls in your class fight over who got to sit next to you at lunch.)
My only real argument was “THEY MAKE SPARKLY ONES.” Her counterpoints were that they made your feet sweat and slide around, and that they were too expensive for literal pieces of plastic.
But, folks. It looks like it’s time to put that bitterness to rest, because I, an adult, have just purchased my own pair of jelly sandals.
And I don’t care if my feet get sweaty and slide around in them. And I will find a way to wear them to work. And because, according to first grade law, I am one of the “cool girls” now, I expect first dibs on any projects involving markers now or in the future.