Maddison is eleven. Wait, don’t go anywhere, because this could totally relate to you. Presumably you were eleven once. And, I’m guessing, just like me, you were embarrassed by your parents at least once. Perhaps even mortifyingly so.
My mother was an absolute bandit for embarrassing me. She didn’t mean to of course, but well, when a massive generation gap meets limited budget, it was to a teenager, like social death.
Let me count the ways.... I guess the worst thing my mother ever did to me was cut my hair. Short. Like a boy. In Year 6. Well technically I gave her the go ahead. See, she loved me with short hair while I on the other hand knew the only way to my first kiss and/or boyfriend was to not look like a dude. But she got me with the almighty dollar. She offered me fifty bucks if I would get my hair cut short. See, right there, that’s messed up. I mean, who does that? But being the clearly easily bought little tramp that I am, I accepted.
I took my Dolly Magazine down to the salon, showed the hairdresser a picture of the model with a short, yet stylish flicked hairdo and sat down waiting to be transformed. The result? A brunette Ronald McDonald. Pretty much no one spoke to me at school for almost 5 months. Here’s a heads up: Fifty bucks can only buy you so many packets of chicken twisties to take away the pain.
Now they say clothes don’t maketh the man, but they almost certainly make the teenager raging her way through puberty. I am testament to that. See, back when I was around 14, I wanted labels. Those labels here on the Gold Coast were Cheetah and Oakely. There were a few other surf brands as well, but mainly those two. Sadly, even back then, over 20 years ago, a pair of Cheetah togs were $70. Oakley sunnies were over a hunghy. Yet, the fact that mum could not supply these made me feel undeservedly hard done by. So we improvised. Or I should say, she did. Rather than forking out for a pair of Cheetah Tracksuit pants to take away on my year ten camp, she Hobbytexed CHEETAH on my $7 Best and Less pair. Oh I was popular.
She also made a lot of my clothes. Here I am in a little number I would wear skating at Skaters Paradise even years later. Sometimes with a fetching flip skirt.
And the fact that they she was a few decades behind the fashion didn’t stop her from whipping up new matching twin sets on a constant basis. This, to a girl trying to forage her way in the very fucked up pecking order of early high school, caused issues. Now of course I know she made these with love and with the best of intentions. In hindsight I do, but let’s face it, 14 year old girls can be complete moles.
And it appears as we get older, our parents don’t stop the rot. Phil’s dad, my now Father in law, embarrassed his son beyond belief the very first I met them. Now, Allan, Phil’s dad, is a lovely guy, so much so, he was super excited that his son was bringing home a “new” girl to meet them. Clearly Phil had been just lovin and leavin em before that. He asked me upon entry if I’d like a drink. Now Phil’s parents do not drink. Like Ever. Yet at some point they’d been given a bottle of Baileys, so that was what was on offer. I accepted happily, loving not only a bit of Baileys but also the social lubrication. That’s when Allan poured the Baileys into his best glasswear and chunks fell out. See, at some point, probably at least two years prior, he’d added some Milk to the Baileys BOTTLE and then returned it to the abyss of their liquor cabinet. Ahh, I’ve loved his dad ever since.
So have I learnt anything from my childhood? Will I zip my lips or buy my children all the cool stuff so they fit in? Maybe, because I remember only too well how this stuff can pre-determine a kids coolness factor.
Mind you, I did find myself leaping out of the car this morning and pinning Maddies hair back for the school photos she had on later that day. I then may have proceeded to wet my finger with my own saliva and wipe Milo from her chin. Oh God. It’s started.
How did your parents embarrass you?