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Sweatpants

January 23, 2012

in marketing at work

Is it just me or does he have boobs bigger than mine

 

(Disclaimer: This post was written at airport lounge while I sipped on my 2nd and 3rd Bloody Marys. Also, it is posted in lieu of the Chinese New Year of which I have nothing to blog about. I am NOT celebrating it as I am on a business trip for the next three days… #ChineseWeGetNoRespectAroundHere)

I want to go to there.

To inside the website pages of Abercrombie & Fitch and Hollister. A la The Purple Rose of Cairo. (Incidentally one of my favorite movies that made me cry uncontrollably when I was going through my emo years…)

Yeah yeah yeah. I know the shirtless models from the teen store are old news for you hipsters out there. But I have never really paid attention to the brouhaha back when concerned citizens complained about the half-nekkid men in Abercrombie’s marketing campaigns and sometimes, if you’re lucky, inside their stores. As you can see, the protest has since died down and forgotten, and Abercrombie continues to use sex to lure in the real credit card holders (aka moms). Business obviously is thriving otherwise how can they command the kind of prices they do? Really. Why would any teenager need a hoodie that costs $200 or a winter jacket made of cotton and nylon for $600? (For that price, you’d better be wearing some dead animal. Just sayin’)

Even in my obsessive search for pants, I did not set foot in A&F. In fact, I made a deliberate effort to turn my head away when I walked with my son past by it in the mall. It was on the back of my head: I wanted to steer absolutely away from the potential accusation of being a leering dirty old lady. How wrong is it to lust after the models advertising clothing to your own children? It feels at the very least questionable. Aren’t you all surprised that I am a closeted prude?

Because I have never even taken a good look at the store, I was in for a shock of a lifetime when late one night I decided to check out A&F: I was desperate because the sweatpants from Aeropostale are now reportedly too short for my teenager.

So I opened up their front page…

Oh my. Come to mama!

I am sure my pupils were dilated and my mouth turned into a wolf snout. I quickly looked around to make sure my kids were not around even though it’s already past midnight. I felt… dirty.

Now did y’all know that in the world of these headless, shirtless models, “sweatpants” is a category on its own? SWEATPANTS. A category on its own!

 

Not only that, like fancy jeans, there are different styles that you can choose from. For your kids, of course. Of Course. Behold the glory from both A&F and Hollister (another store I have never set my foot in esp. since it is so deliberately dark and dance-club-hip, I just want to run in and go, “Where is the fucking bar?!”) Anyway, you are welcome.

 

Now that I have had a chance to stop staring and regain some blood back to my brains, it kind of made sense: sweatpants are a big deal for teenage boys. My son has been wearing a short-sleeved t-shirt and sweatpants ever since he became a teen, no matter the temperature outside. (He wears jeans when we ask him to “dress up”…)  But no worries Internet, I did not capitulate to the lure of headless shirtless men with their nether region almost showing. I was not about to pay $60 for a pair of sweatpants.

I hesitated before I clicked on Underwear, expecting to have nose bleeds from getting too excited. But was relieved, ok, fine, mildly disappointed that there is no image of models demonstrating the goods. Thank goodness though David Beckham came through (for H&M). And seriously, him? Fair game, imo. I have no problem ogling that old man.

 

 

By the way, how many of you, like me, chuckled at “Classic Straight”?

Straight fit. All the way down. Thou doth protest too much.

What is Classic straight anyway? Rock Hudson?

 

And… I am not done yet. At the end of day, I do have to admit: A&F website is a much greater pleasure to browse with a cocktail in hand than its competitors. I checked out American Eagles. All I can say is, Really, really?!

 

First of all, they are all wearing shirts. The nerves of those men! On top of that, what is up with that posture? Something wrong with your back and knees? Is that supposed to be sexy? Someone needs to call American Eagles and set them (and those legs) straight.

 

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Confession: I have been obsessed with this website I came across from my 13-year-old’s Facebook wall. It is aptly named “I Waste So Much Time“. Unfortunately for my reputation, it is not a philosophical statement born from my existential angst. They omitted “On the Internet” in the name. This website is “curated” for middle schoolers… And I spent two hours the other night reading the posts and laughing out loud to myself when I should have been in bed. What can I say? Deep down I am a 15 year old boy. *cough* (Only that I do not “take long showers”…) Anyhoo, I saw this post, and it gave me pause.

 

 

This was of course said with pride. On this website and the others popular amongst the Facebook teen generation, such as My Life is Average, being normal means boring, a conformist; being weird means you know who you are, awesome. In fact, the kids who post on MLIA are so unabashedly geeky, smart with a great sense of humor, (and granted, a bit Harry-Potter-obsessed, but hey, they all hate Twilight and that means a lot to me) that I often read those posts to give myself some hope: “These are our future. Maybe one day high schools will not be dominated by drones of jocks and cheerleaders.” And that makes me want to give all those kids a big giant non-creepy bear hug.

I once thought too I would be the weird, cool parent. How many of you thought the same?  I did not even think. I just assumed. No way was I going to be like my parents. My kids are going to love me for how cool I am and we are going to have so much fun together!

The reality is, of course, my kids do not really want cool parents. Or rather, they do not want parents that out-cool them.

They do not appreciate being told that rad was a term popular even before my time.

They do not want you to teach them the correct pronunciation for Meme. (And definitely not the history of it. Who cares that Richard Dawkins came up with this idea in 1976 in his book The Selfish Gene?)

They do not want to admit that you introduced them to Spotify.

They do not want to listen to the cool songs you share with them. But of course they told you about “Pumped Up Kicks” a week after you sent them the song on Spotify.

They do not want your playlists.

They do not want to hear about the latest YouTube sensation from you.

They do not want you to be better at fixing computer than they are. Or to know how to use iTune.

They do not want you to know how to use “I took an arrow to the knee” correctly. (My apology to Skyrim players who are pissed by how this meme has been conveninetly co-opted by those who, like me, have not earned the “right”… Blame websites such as knowyourmeme.com, they have made it way too easy)

They do not want you to know every single Meme or Internet joke or LOLcat, and definitely not before they do.

They do not even want you to be able to say LOLcat correctly.

When you twirl like a crazy child in the living room to whatever music they are playing, they eye you with a bemused expression and possibly even shake their head, and for one moment, they look older than their age.

When you think you are being cool and awesome, you are actually being weird, weird, like really weird, not the cool weird, and you embarrass them.

“Why can’t you be like the other parents?”

They eye you with suspicion or confusion when you slip in a few “youth-oriented” lingo in your conversation.

Do not try to be that cool parent because then you are just a try-hard.

It’s what demarcates the “boundary” between youth and age. We’ve got the experience. We’ve got the dough. We’ve got the authority. Without the coolness factor, what’s left for the young to claim as their own?

 

I have been pondering on these for a long time now but am not able to formulate a cohesive thought around this subject. As I was working on this draft, my 13-year-old walked by and read it out loud, “Our generation today will be the weirdest grandparents… Yup. That’s true.”

“You know,” I said, “When I was your age, I thought I was going to the coolest parent.” Just to burst his bubble (because that’s how we show love in this household).

He laughed. There was a silence.

“Well, you are kind of a cool parent.” He said quietly.

I was made speechless.

Well played, young padawan. Well played.

 

 

 

On a related note, I saw this posted inside the high school my son will be going to. Somehow I know that he will be ok there.

 

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Earlier today I learned of these numbers today from Mature Landscaping:

Salary of retired US Presidents ……………$180,000 FOR LIFE
Salary of House/Senate ……………………..$174,00​0 FOR LIFE
Salary of Speaker of the House …………….$223,500 FOR LIFE
Salary of Majority/Minority Leaders …… $193,400 FOR LIFE
Average Salary of a teacher ……………….. $40,065
Average Salary of Soldier DEPLOYED IN AFGHANISTAN $38,000

 

I had been feeling unsettled by a gnawing sense of guilt and shame ever since. That’s probably why when we caught a glimpse of the evening news, I suddenly blurted out,

Did you know how much a soldier that is currently fighting in the war is paid? A year? $38,000. That’s how much!

The boys immediately were feeling just as outraged. “That’s not a lot of money right?” The Teenager got a bit emotional. “And they are risking their lives over there!”

8-year-old Mr. Monk got up on the coffee table and pontificated as he’s wont to.

You know what? What we need is for the economy to get better!

I swear I have no idea where he got this (or any others). We seldom watch TV, let alone news. I wonder whether this has anything to do with his endless viewing of The Simpsons. In fact, he watches The Simpsons so much he’s able to quote some of the episodes the way The Husband is able to quote The Princess Bride.

You know how you can tell the economy is getting lower?

(He is, after all, only 8 years old…)

The free ice cream at ______ Burgers is now so small that you only get the bottom part. It used to be as big as the Dairy Queen’s!

Hold the thought while I contact The Economist about the Ice Cream Index idea.

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