How many size sixes can there be?
There is something that suggests the absolute when you think size. The point is to create a standard to which a foot conforms that crosses
- apparel– socks, shoes, boots
- genre — running, dress, athletic
- and brands — Hanes, no name, Fruit of-the-friggin- Loom.
Now we know the latter is definitively unreliable. We’ve all found variance across various shoe brands fit differently. So one tries before one buys.
That brings us to socks for which it is impossible to try before one buys.
And why I have bags of perfectly fine, everyday, whitish socks at a pre-tax cost of over $25 that are, to me, utterly useless.
It begins as many follies — Hannibal’s elephants in the Alps, the Apollo 13, Spiderman the Musical — with inspired impulse. Why are my children constantly searching, futilely for a pair of socks in the morning. Matching doesn’t even enter into it. Whole, clean and large enough to make it over the big toe are the key qualifiers.
The sudden on set of the crisis is completely comprehensible. Summer is over, sandals aren’t an option. Tis the time of year when birds fly south and footwear insists on hosiery.
There are times when we all find the need to express ourselves. However, when it comes to socks the multi- colour sets, stripes and purposeful mismatches (apparently buying socks in three’s where all are of different colour is now all the rage. The fashion industry foists stupidity at an ever younger and younger demographic. Bring on the designer diapers, bring on the Ferdinand Porsche pacifiers!) I will pass and hazard the risk that my children’s creative instincts will be smothered.
Give ’em to me white, ankle and in a big bag. They will go into a box or drawer where I will not have to match to sort whilst folding laundry and child will not have to stare with 8 am bewilderment with the intensity of a physicist trying to find a lost neutrino in box of buttons.
A laudable goal. An engineered solution. Very mannish, don’t you think? Very guy.
Don’t shy away from your guyness in this whole sole parenting thing, I’ve discovered. And don’t dwell too much on why you didn’t do more of it before (territories, unspoken rules of management, fear, ego — all ugly and embarrassing stuff). You’re examining the morning routines, the lunch making, the going to bedding, the tidying — all the mundane routines with fresh perspective. Embrace it. Don’t be afraid to see the problem, acknowledge a problem. Because it previously had been thus, doesn’t mean it always must be thus. And then if there is a possible solution, it is but a few steps away.
So if I may indulge in a quick bit of back patting for a moment:
- I took digital pictures of the kids rooms after they’d been tidied, printed them at the office on 8 X 12, then put them up on their walls — this is what you’re bedroom is supposed to look like. 4 weeks on — its working. They’re staying tidy.
- Couldn’t find Tupperware that matched with lids when I need them — ever. So I threw most of it out. Including about half that had matching lids. I kept only enough that could fit in the drawer with the lids on — not stacked inside each other. I match them up as soon as they came out of the dishwasher. Now I have as many as I need and I can find lids easily
- Tired of endlessly getting up to get the forgotten fork, serving spoon, knife at the dinner table. Got a neat little wooden bin and now keep a supply of the above in the centre of the dining table. — a pile goes straight from the dishwasher into the dining room bin. You need it, it’s there. No bickering of who’s turn it is to get the next whatever.
There are many, many more such examples.
You understand, as self-aggrandizing as it seems, I have to keep repeating and reminding myself of these victories. This is because of the socks.
The victory of the socks, has been utter, humiliating and crushing. If there was a sock empire (as I’m now certain there will one day be — mark my words evolution will become bored with organic life forms and turn its forces to the socks) I would be paraded through their capital tightly ensnared in a band of cardboard declaring my size in clear font and on the reverse side an utterly contradictory size chart with weights and age and shoe size — detailed and inexplicable.
Most clothing sizing for children is bewildering but socks doubly so.
Staring at you on the hanger are two size sixes. Both for girls. One is a young girl six the other is for a really young girl six.
I look at the picture on the front and neither have an affinity to my 10 year old daughter’s mix of the infantile and the adolescent.
I even brought my children with me — no help. You really can’t try before you buy when it comes to socks. Trying to side by side compare in the sock aisle between my kids feet and the white blobs folded over, adhered to bands and/or sealed in plastic bags is an exercise in utter futility.
And how on earth does one make sense of a size range that is “12-3 1/2?” Not “3-12” mind you.
So you grab and buy.
I bought in bulk, dazzled by the thought of an inexpensive easily matchable supply of white socks. Bleached to perfection every week, and worn out by the time they grow out of them. But they will never wear them out, as they will never wear them.
The result — I have several pairs of perfectly fine, still in proximity of their destroyed packaging white socks that are unwearable for anyone in my family. For both my son and my daughter they are two small.
Well perhaps I’m stretching the meaning of “several” it’s about 25 really… give or take.
Okay more “give” than “take.”
I haven’t actually brought myself to do an accurate inventory — honestly I don’t think I can take it.
Why not give my daughters white socks to my son, you ask? Well they, of course, are not entirely white — they have pink toes.
This whole escapade strikes at the heart of my identity as a competent single parent, so they sit in my trunk in a shopping bag, hidden, ignored. When I can bare it, they will eventually go into a charity bin.
However, for now, I think I still need them as a grim reminder of easy failure, as a silent warning to “guy way” hubris.