Thursday, July 11, 2013

The Hissing Contest

Lucky and the "gateway purse"

A couple of Sundays ago, I went outlet-mall shopping with my grown daughters. One of them was headed to a special wedding and needed an equally special dress. 

We found the perfect garment and were celebrating our success over lemonade and ice tea when Older Daughter noticed my new purse, a gift from a friend. "Let me see," she said, leaning in for a better look. The purse is a shoulder bag made of fabric that has the look of a tribal print. It's eye-catching. In the center are two stylized cat figures. 

"It's a gateway purse," Older Daughter said.

"A gateway purse?" 

She nodded. "If you're not careful, pretty soon you'll be wearing cat earrings and cat pins."

Younger Daughter laughed so hard, she snorted iced tea out her nose. 

"I don't have cat earrings or pins," I said. Something about the expression gateway purse danced at the edge of my memory.

Of course! Roughly two decades ago, I'd described cigarettes as a gateway drug to Older Daughter. At the time, I'd have adopted a look of concern identical to the one she wore now. I probably spoke in the same uber-serious tone. 

"I suppose you think my Eccos are gateway shoes," I said. Older Daughter hates my sensible, black, great-for-walking-on-cobbled-street flats.

Clothes and accessories bond and divide mothers and daughters. When she was thirteen, I'd argue with Older Daughter about her skirt lengths and taste in clothes. In retrospect, her choices showed she was growing up and changing. My protests showed I wanted her to stay my little girl.

"I like my gateway purse," I said. 

"It's fine," she said, "just don't start wearing cat tee shirts."

Inside every middle-aged person is a thirteen-year-old rebel, and mine now wants a cat tee shirt. When Older Daughter sees me in it and narrows her eyes, I'll say: "But everybody's wearing it."

Mothers change, too. And payback's a saucer of cream.

Your turn: which of your possessions/items of clothing triggers the most scorn from the younger generation?


Anonymous said...

Well, I was watching a rerun of a Bee Gee's concert (which I was enjoying immensely) on TV recently and received contemptuous glances from a younger nephew and other looks of bewilderment and general disgust.

I used to make fun of my father for watching Lawrence Welk and I still get "sick" when I see some of those reruns on Saturday night cable T.V.

I still enjoy "Saturday Night Fever" and of course, the music from the Bee Gees that's in the movie!

- Patrick

Lark Howard said...

Step away from the cat shirt, Pat!! My husband, a brilliant, hip designer (and somewhat younger) is the voice of the younger generation in our house. He cringes when I put on my walking sandals although he admits they're excellent for hiking on hot days. He cheerfully goes along on important shopping trips and ruthlessly critiques in the dressing room. Unfortunately, he also encourages me to try on and buy more upscale and extravagant items than I would on my own--as in Prada boots and a Valentino jacket/pants ensemble. Still, the things he picks out are usually my favorites.

Sheila Seabrook said...

LOL! Pat, I want to see that cat t-shirt and hear about your girls' reactions. My boys couldn't care less about what I wear. I currently own one pair of "going out" pants and have been trying to convince myself to go clothes shopping. Ugggg.

Anonymous said...

Not related to your thread Pat, but thought you might be interested. "Who Ruined the Humanities?" in today's WSJ.

- Patrick

Lynette M . Burrows said...

LOL. In my house, I'm going to the dogs - dog earrings, dog sweatshirt, :) Payback IS a saucer of cream and I love every lap of it! :> Great post, Pat.

Coleen Patrick said...

My kids don't care what i wear--yet. I think we are in the mom is invisible stage right now. :)

Pat O'Dea Rosen said...

Hi, Patrick,
Thanks to your comment, Stayin' Alive's my current ear worm.

Pat O'Dea Rosen said...

Ooh, Lark, is that a hint you're wearing Valentino to the RITA/Golden Heart award ceremony at RWA 2013? Have an excellent time!

I can't wait to see Amy's face when I show up wearing a cat tee shirt. Seriously, I can't step away from a chance to embarrass her.

I walked in sandals last weekend, and my ankles kept wobbling. What kind do you wear?

Pat O'Dea Rosen said...

Hi, Sheila,
You and I share the shopping-averse gene, but I'm dying to see my older daughter's face when I turn up in a cat tee-shirt. Have we already established your "going out" pants are, like mine, black?

Pat O'Dea Rosen said...

Hi, again, Patrick,
I enjoyed the article. Thanks for sharing it.

While I don't agree with everything the author said about the study of literature, i know I read and write to make sense of things and to slip into the shoes of others. Can we teach those skills? I tend to think characters in the books we connect with do the teaching, but I owe much to the teachers who pressed books into my hands, assigned them, or put them on summer reading lists, knowing three-quarters of the students wouldn't read everything on the list. The list was a gift for the other 25 percent.

Pat O'Dea Rosen said...

Hi, Lynette,
I want to see a photo of the dog earrings and dog sweatshirt!

Pat O'Dea Rosen said...

Hi, Coleen.
I remember the invisible stage. This current stage is teasing rather than critical, and I get a kick out of it. You will, too.