The (Dressing Room) Walls Come Crashing Down

Clearwater Revival, by the Norwegian Artist, Steve Henderson

I’ve just come back from a shopping excursion.

I don’t know what Paris Hilton buys when she goes on one of these jags, but I splurged on under-the-clothing-torso-region-support-wear and sensible shoes.


I’m guessing that Paris’ boutiques don’t end with the word “Mart,” but then again, my name doesn’t sound like a French city and my last name has nothing to do with the hospitality industry.

One thing that I did share in common with Paris on this trip is that I didn’t cart along any progeny, and for you mothers out there who haven’t figured this out yet, shopping’s a lot easier without the kids.

Have you ever thought of leaving them home next time?

Just joking — I know that you’ve thought, dreamed, ached, wished, hoped, aspired, coveted, and lusted — although that latter emotion is part of the reason why we lug small people around with us in the first place.

So I roam in splendid isolation through the intimate apparel section, grazing, picking up purple things and spotted things and stripes and flowers, which I know don’t work with white. As a concession,  I toss in a boring beige and arrive outside the dressing room, but the attendant’s plastic number cards don’t go up to 13 and I have to leave some of the animal skins outside.

Actually, dressing “room” is a misnomer, since the try-on area is a free-standing series of boxes set up in the middle of the store, and while I’m in my rat cubicle, I hear a wail accompanied by a bump against the “wall” of my “room,” and I think,

“Dear God — this isn’t going to come crashing down around me while I am totally topless and trying to fit the straps back around the flimsy clear plastic hanger which just broke, is it?”

Becalmed, by the Norwegian Artist, Steve Henderson

For some reason, I look up (was I praying aloud? Did the kid hear me?) and am comforted to see that the half-inch plywood barrier extends 10 feet in the air, but am baffled at a wire mesh screen that spans the top of the enclosure.

Is this to prevent kids — like the one whose sobs I can hear just way, way too close — from climbing the structure and tumbling down to the bodies below? Maybe I should have just bought socks.

Those chauvinist males out there who joke about how long it takes women to dress have never seen one re-attire herself in a panic in the middle of the Mart rat cubicle.

Thank God for that.

But I bagged my hooter loot, and in the rush of adrenaline that hits mothers when they’re able to buy themselves something, anything, I scooped up a cute piece of nightwear that balanced precisely between baby doll risque and flannel swathing and headed to the check stand, where I only had to wait 10 minutes for the person ahead of me to swipe and re-swipe his debit card before he decided to pay with cash, which he didn’t have enough of, so he had to trot out the debit card again.

Convergence, by the Norwegian Artist, Steve Henderson

And naturally the clerk was a 19-year-old male.

Poor guy. He tried to matter of factly find the bar codes embedded in substratums of wispy chiffonerie — leopard spots in diaphanous pink and tiger-striped transparent tiffany that clung to his skin and draped over his arms. I am so glad that I didn’t make a stop in the pharmacy section as well.

But, unlike the guy before me with nary a strip of lace, I was able to swipe my plastic card once, press the correct buttons, grab my shopping bags and sashay out to the car.

Just like Paris.

About This Woman Writes

Carolyn Henderson is the marketing manager of Steve Henderson Fine Art. She writes about life, art, and the art of life.
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4 Responses to The (Dressing Room) Walls Come Crashing Down

  1. Anya says:

    Indeed, I often dream of shopping alone…and when it happens, it is SUCH a treat. For one, there’s no need to carrying on the never-ending dialogue as to why we can’t buy a toy car EVERY time we go to the grocery store (that makes at least 52 toy cars a year!). Also, I don’t have to say “sit down” and “watch your feet so I don’t run over them with the cart” at least 20 times. The healthy eating discourses also can get old, although I try to have fun with it and explain the details of digestive processes and complex sugars to sweet-toothed munchkins asking for more cookies. But the best part of shopping alone is that I don’t have to say “NO”.

  2. Years ago, when Eldest Supreme was 8, she wanted a pack of colorful plastic straws, and she was going into the nag mode. An older couple was slightly behind us, ostensibly looking for grocery items.

    I told Eldest Supreme that she received an allowance, and she was welcome to use it on the straws.

    “But I don’t want to use MY money for that,” she said. “I want to use YOUR money. I guess I just won’t get them.”

    It was worth the $1 a week to avoid these arguments, at least until everyone got older and their tastes got more expensive!

    52 trucks — that’s a lot of stumbling on with bare feet! I’ll bet that there are Legos, too.

    • Anya says:

      Yes, you guessed it: there are Legos too.

      An allowance may be the answer. I don’t know if I am ready to go that route quite yet, with the munchkins still putting on their underwear backwards and fishing bits of cereal out of milk bowls with their dirt-laden fingers (you can imagine how happy THAT makes me 🙂 especially when the milk starts spilling out over the edges of the bowl and onto the…). Are they *ready* to handle the complexities of money management?

  3. We started when Eldest Supreme was around 6, and frankly, I’m not sure if the money management thing has kicked in yet with adulthood!

    However, it took pressure off of me from all the whining about getting gum or chocolate or little plastic toys.

    I also, on every weekly shopping trip, allowed them to pick out a treat of under $2, and it couldn’t be pop or candy. So they could get a doughnut, or a mango, or a starfruit, or some crackers, and it was all theirs to hoard or to trade/share with a sibling (they learned a LOT about bartering — it was interesting to watch. I only interfered if an older child was blatantly taking advantage of a younger one.)

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