I took The Things to Victoria’s Secret this week. Have you ever taken children under four years old to a lingerie store or department? There’s something a little mixed up about it. On the one hand, a lot of children today would not exist had it not been for places like Victoria’s Secret, so bringing them there is sort of like visiting Colonial Williamsburg or, if you’re especially ambitious, the Fertile Crescent. On the other hand, I’m not comfortable with my baby boy gawking at headless booby torsos, even if I tell him they’re for babies who need milk.
To complicate things, it was the semi-annual sale, which in a nutshell means Victoria’s Secret becomes a garage sale of epic satiny proportions, with big round tables loaded with bins of bras and panties and God knows what else. There are a few women gathered around the 34DD tables, witches that they are, but most of us wandered in 34B territory until we found ourselves unobserved and could slide on over to the As.
I was actually not there for my own edification and sexification, though Gordon would completely endorse such a credit card item; I was there to buy something scandalous for a friend’s bachelorette party. I think it’s fair to say this was a low parenting moment for me. It wasn’t like I just stumbled upon an amazing sale at the mall one day and — woops — just happened to have the babies along. This was premeditated exposure, and not just to everyday granny panty fare, but to all-out uniforms of sex. (And by “uniforms of sex” I mean negligees, which sounds more polite and is, actually, the term I was looking for.)
The difficulty was maneuvering the double stroller around the tables. Perhaps you are not familiar with the double stroller, but suffice it to say if you were to put a lawn mower engine in it, you could charge a family of five $30 dollars to shuttle them from their car to the TCU stadium during football season. And everybody would have legroom and a place to think quietly about world affairs.
But I’m agile. Oh yes, I am agile. That is until Drew started sticking his boots up and out either side of his seat, creating a bulldozer apparatus at the end of the stroller which pulled the pink table cloths askew and fussed up the bra bins. I quickly found a quiet nook to park the Baby Bus and began considering a rack of uniforms of sex. Drew immediately began petting a red satin unmentionable, rubbing it against his face and through his fingers.
“That’s not your blanket,” I said, thinking that all men are essentially the same, slipping it out of his hand.
As I browsed, I noticed quite a few younger girls looking through the bins. I had the urge to push my mammoth stroller up to the front of the Pink section as a visual aid supporting abstinence. “I Know Victoria’s Secret: She’s Got About Eighteen Children Due To Wearing Fancy Underpants.” But I guess you have to buy a bra even if you’re fifteen. I just don’t know why it has to have kissy lips all over it.
The shopping trip ended up a success. I found something great for my friend, and Drew and Maddie were at best disinterested by their unfamiliar surroundings.
I’m not really sure when is the appropriate age to start talking to your children about sexuality, let alone exposing them unequivocally by fiat. At this age, I can barely talk to Drew period.
“Burger? You want a burger? Are you hungry?”
“Burger? No, we’re not getting a burger.”
This went on for a period of time. Finally I looked back to see Drew’s index finger extended with a mushroom-sized booger drooping off the end of it like it was wilting from being plucked so cruelly from his left nostril. I should have saved it in Tupperware and buried it in the backyard, or donated it to the UT Medical Center, but all I had was a Kleenex and an empty MacDonald’s bag.
So we’re still working on communication.
Heck, we’re still farkeling over who has to change his poopy diaper. (That was Sunday. We have a very humane marriage.)
And Thing Two? She’s so young she probably remembers her own conception and could tell US a thing or two. Ok. Maybe that was over the line. Low parenting moment #2.
So we’re years away. I think. I hope. Until then I’ll just worry about it semi-annually.