Shop­ping with a 65-year-old

South Shore Breaker - - Wheels - Les­[email protected]

Shop­ping for clothes with a re­tired hus­band is as hor­ri­fy­ing as shop­ping with a five-year-old boy.

It re­minds me of try­ing to get my kids to eat broc­coli.

“Do I have to?”


“Why? I never go any­where or see any­one.”

“I see you! Ev­ery day, 365 days a year — and I want to rip off that hideous blue sweat­shirt of yours!” “Why?”

“It’s cov­ered with grease stains.”

“I only wear it around the yard.”

When your sweat­shirt is older than your 15-year-old cat, it’s time to biff it.

By some mir­a­cle, I get him to walk into a nice store be­cause they are hav­ing a sale. There is no way he will ven­ture in oth­er­wise. I quickly grab dif­fer­ent kinds of sweaters and throw him in a dress­ing room.

“Try these on.”

“I don’t like that.”


“It’s too bulky.”

I throw that one in a pile and pass him an­other.

“I don’t like that.”


“It’s too thin.”

I throw that one away too and pass him an­other. “For my sake, will you just try this on be­fore you dis­miss it?”

He rolls his eyes and sighs, like I’ve asked him to plow an acre of farm­land. He re­luc­tantly takes off his jacket and ball cap and wig­gles into the sweater.

Nat­u­rally, I like it. “Now, that looks great!” “I hate it.”


“The col­lar is up to my chin. I hate some­thing around my neck.” He low­ers the col­lar to his shoul­ders, which just looks ridicu­lous.

“You can’t wear it like that! It’s sup­posed to be sexy.”

He shakes his body around like a lit­tle kid. “It’s stupid.”

“You’re stupid! Take it off then.”

We try three more sweaters and his hair is full of static, which is ap­par­ently my fault. Now I re­mem­ber why I hate tak­ing him shop­ping. He just pooh-poohs ev­ery­thing un­til I give up. But this time I’m de­ter­mined to get him a sweater and we even­tu­ally find one that he doesn’t to­tally de­spise. That’s good enough for me.

Now, on to slip­pers. He’s des­per­ate for a new pair. I drag him over to the dis­play.

“I don’t want open backs.” He said this in 1976 when we were first mar­ried and he has said it ev­ery year since. This in­stantly knocks off half the se­lec­tion — the good-look­ing ones — but I man­age to find a few newer-look­ing spec­i­mens.

“These are nice.”

“They’re puffy.”

“They look warm. Try them.” The or­deal of tak­ing off one boot is as painful as till­ing an­other acre of soil. And now he has to deal with a long elas­tic hold­ing them to­gether, four tags that keep fall­ing in­side the slip­per and stuffed tis­sue paper in the shoe it­self. Even I am fed up.

He gets it on his foot. “This is too small.”

“But it’s a 10.”

“My toes are scrunched.” “Re­ally?”

He lifts his head. “Yes, re­ally. Why would I lie?”

To get out of do­ing this, I think. I pass him a size 11.

“It’s still too small.”

“That’s be­cause you have thick wool socks on.”

“I wear socks with my slip­pers.”

Oh, right. He does, more’s the pity. It’s a great look, but not as ridicu­lous as when he wears socks with san­dals in the sum­mer.

I reach for an­other pair, hop­ing he won’t no­tice the price tag — but, nat­u­rally, he does. “$45! That’s ridicu­lous.”

“That’s about right,” I say. “Things cost more.”


“John, we are at an age when we can af­ford a few ex­tra things and spend­ing $45 on a pair of nice slip­pers for you is some­thing we should be do­ing, now that you’re re­tired.”

“Baloney. I’m go­ing to Wal­mart.”

So, now we’re root­ing around the back of Wal­mart in the slip­per sec­tion. All I see are the plaid slip­pers my grand­fa­ther used to wear. He picks one up and crams it on his foot.

“Great! Comfy, not tight. Just the right size.”

“Glo­ri­ous. I’m glad you’re happy.”

“Are you go­ing to ask me how much it costs?”

“No. You’re go­ing to tell me.” “Fif­teen bucks! Fif­teen bucks!”

He’s got a big smirk on his face, like a typ­i­cal five-year-old kid.




Buy­ing some­thing as sim­ple as a pair of slip­pers can be a strug­gle.

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