Man-Child I recently ventured to the Spring Carnival. This was the second year he’d attended the races, this year on his own with some mates. Off he went looking every bit the dandy – gel in hair, pink shirt and tie and his navy pin-striped suit. A suit that cost him $20 at the opp-shop – don’t you love it!
Of course when the idea of the races was initially raised, it was first of all about securing a ticket. And not just any ticket, of course it had to be one that got you into the member’s section, and all the right car parks. Fortunately, my father is a member and so was able to purchase one for him – so step one of the plan was achieved.
Second step of the plan was what to wear – no questions here. Every 14-year-old boy in the members is decked out in a suit – and Man-Child I had similar intentions. Unfortunately for me, the suit he’d worn two years ago was just a little too tight owing to a massive, but natural growth spurt (even Warwick Capper wouldn’t have worn it).
This first suit I actually picked up at an opp shop for $20, when Man-Child I needed it for a Year 6 school play. I couldn’t believe when I found it, because it literally was a boy’s suit, rather than a man’s suit. It fitted him like a glove – if I’d told someone it was tailor-made they would have believed me. In Year 6, you can imagine all his mates thought his suit was awesome, and therefore all started visiting opp shops to find their own suits – alas to no avail.
Wind the clock forward, we’re now at a nice private school, with some moneyed friends, and the opp-shop option, or god forbid “borrowing” one is now apparently out of the question!!! Grrrr. My case was not helped by Father of a Man-Child telling him of course he could hire a suit so he looked like the stud he is and could pick up chics at the races. Fabulous! That’s male bonding for you. Of course neither of them remembered it cost $80 for the privilege.
So off goes Man-Child I with a mate to hire said suit after I reluctantly agreed. Naturally I receive the call about five minutes later from the store. He doesn’t want the $80 plain black suit, he wants the $130 pin-stripe suit – I just HATE being fleeced. Again, I reluctantly agree, recalling myself how important it is to look good and fit in when you’re 14. He proudly shows me at home what he’s hired. His mate is fortunate that his parents have agreed to buy him one as he had a few functions he can wear it to in coming months.
However, to Man-Child I’s absolute credit, and my delight, he tells me a day later he’s found a suit he thinks will fit – at an opp-shop. I am thrilled – not just at saving money, but that he actually considered this was an option and got off his butt to look. I asked if his friend was with him at the time, he admitted no, but was not at all too proud to tell him of his great find. So he’s both smart and humble – now we’re getting somewhere people!!
Father of a Man-Child was able to check it out the next day and it turns out it was a pretty decent suit for $20. So he bought it on the spot. Now I must admit, by the time we paid for it to be dry-cleaned, and have the pants taken up and in at the waist a little, it set us back about $80 all up. But for $80 Man-Child I now has a suit that will do him (or Man-Child II for that matter) for the next two years. You don’t have to be Einstein to know we’re way ahead already. And just quietly, I’m pretty miffed that common sense prevailed at the end of the day. Just one of many lessons to be learned.
PS. Post a long Saturday at the races, and a rather social Sunday for Man-Child I, he complained he was tired on Sunday evening and couldn’t possibly attend school rowing training on Monday morning with a 6am start. He learned another quick lesson from me – your choice to have a busy social life does not mean you can elect to avoid any other responsibilities, especially school! Who lets’ their kids get away with this stuff?