shopping with teenagers: know when to quit

1960's - 445
Your inappropriate friend wearing perfect shoes, age 3.

How will you know when to head for the parking lot when you’re shopping with teenagers? Their illogic will overcome you. Case in point: My teenage daughter is going to her first high school homecoming dance. Logic dictates you figure out what shoes to wear within 24 hours of the dance. It goes without saying the optimal shopping experience includes the added pressure to find shoes RIGHT FUCKING NOW. You appreciate the additional stress if you chauffeur four teenage girls around for hours. After all, only the perfect shoes will do.

ARE YOU maximizing your time shopping with teenagers?

Fifty stores might offer the exact fit and the agreed color, height, shape, style, cost, texture, comfort and cool factor. These eight factors alone, however, don’t render the shoes “perfect”. The shoes must also meet that unnamed factor that no one can name. Clearly, I’m not chiding the girls for wanting the perfect shoe. I have orchestrated entire outfits around a pair of smokin’ heels. By the same token, I believe Shoes ARE the mirror of the soul.

baby wearing adult shoes

Perfect shoes for teenagers is an oxymoron

I didn’t understand at first how I ended up on the Target shoe department floor with one of my daughter’s distraught friends. Her sweet eyes brimmed with tears because she couldn’t find any shoes. Also, this was her ONLY chance to get shoes in time. Her self-worth hung in the balance. My daughter knew I would not leave a fellow shoe soldier behind. We had one hour as Contestants to accomplish the improbable feat. Adding to the challenging, said friend wears a size 9 1/2. Her feet were also maybe two inches wide. The teen’s tears pierced my heart like daggers. She could spend no more than forty dollars. Regardless, I prepared to make up any difference with my own money. I had to make her happy.

2004 Fall - 04

Ergo, I succumbed to complete tunnel vision. I must procure the perfect homecoming dance shoes for my daughter’s friend. Satisfaction depended on opening every shoe box from size 8 1/2 to 10. Even if I found the right size, the style was wrong. In any event, she wasn’t allowed to wear heels. Did I agree with that rule for my teenager? No time to ponder.

No rest for the shoe weary

time with teenagers

I made my daughter’s friend try on shoe after shoe. Despite my herculean efforts, Target was a bust. We left without shoes for the teenage friend. I lost track of what my own daughter was doing in the store. This neglect explained the 4 1/2 inch heel hooker pumps I inadvertently bought my 14YO offspring.

It didn’t matter. In a last ditch effort, I stormed DSW dragging teens in my wake. We opened boxes and littered the floor with tissue paper. Eventually, I slowly declared defeat. I readied myself for the inevitable teen drama backlash. I’d lost myself in the process. I forgot I was the adult with the bank account and a drivers license.

pre teenagers wearing stilettos

Turning my attention to my own daughter and her stilettos, I offered, “I don’t mean to burst your bubble, sweetheart, but you will not survive 10 minutes in these shoes. I couldn’t even wear shoes this tall and I’m used to wearing heels. I think you might even sprain an ankle if you tried.”

“Oh, okay, mom. We can return them. I can wear a pair of yours.”

“Really? Just like that? Are you actually agreeing with me?”

“I don’t really care about the shoes. I’ll only have them on for pictures.”

“You said you couldn’t go to the dance without the perfect shoes! I’ve been running around like a banshee for you. And, what do you mean, ‘only for pictures’?”

“All the girls take off their shoes after we pictures.”

I wanted to scream. This precise moment I knew I was spending too much time with teenagers. And then again when the girls decided they would all wear combat boots.

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  1. Jennifer McCoy

    Ahhhhh, boys! It’s funny because my own daughter, usually cripplingly indecisive, found what she wanted fairly quickly. It was her friend who sent me over the maternal edge! It takes a village…

  2. Michael

    Love this. My son took all of 20 minutes to find a suit, the salesperson got his shirt, and he picked out a bow tie in another 5. It took longer with the tailor than the selection. I still love this story, though.

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