The day after we made our “official” Facebook announcement to the world that Erin was having a baby, she asked me to go maternity shopping with her. This was, surprisingly enough, not an arena in which I had a great deal of prior experience. The truth is, like menstrual cycles and getting out of a speeding ticket by unbuttoning our shirts, maternity shopping is something your average male will never have first-hand experience with. Still, I’ve never been the kind of guy who runs away when his wife needs to buy traditionally “girly” things, so I had no problem going along with her.
I was pleased to learn that shopping for maternity clothing really is no more painful than shopping for any other kind of clothes. In fact, I quickly fell into my usual role: waiting outside the fitting room as Erin tried on outfits, occasionally peeking out to ask my opinion on a shirt or jeans or pair of “capris” (“capris” is a French word meaning “fruit beverage in a foil pouch”), then returning me to the more familiar environments of talking to people about Superman on Facebook.
In fact, if it weren’t for the fact that all the models in the pictures on the wall were pregnant, I may not have even realized we weren’t in any other clothing store until the attendant asked me if I wanted to wait in the “daddy area,” indicating a small section with a few comfy-looking chairs pointed in the general direction of a television. This was next to what I assume was a “kiddie area,” which was an area surrounded by a short, padded wall with a few tables and some toys. She said I could sit in the daddy area and watch sports. I wanted to say I’d rather be in the kiddie area,” because there were Legos there, but she was a complete stranger so I elected to stick with Erin.
I did get slightly nervous, as the attendant spent what seemed to be an awful lot of time checking on Erin and bringing her different shirts and blouses (there is a difference between the two, gentlemen, but it can only be detected through the use of university-quality electron microscopes). This bothered me, as I don’t usually buy clothing in the type of store where attendants bring you clothing unbidden and point you towards waiting areas and offer you little bottles of water because “we need to keep that baby hydrated.” I usually buy my clothes in a store where there’s a legitimate chance that I could find a half-thawed chicken from the frozen food section that somebody dumped in the fitting room.
This woman was actually very helpful, though, bringing Erin several articles of clothing in different colors and patterns, locating some black shirts after Erin told her that’s what she has to wear to work, and suggesting a few pairs of pants that not only weren’t so long that Erin could fashion a denim tarp out of the excess length, but didn’t even conclude with her calling me a liar when I told her I thought she looked good in them.
As we checked out, the attendant signed us up for some club that will supposedly result in lots of coupons and gift cards for the sort of places that new parents will have to do their shopping, then gave us a goodie bag that left Erin twitterpated when she realized it included a baby bottle, because it was our first one and made her so happy that I’m slightly convinced she’ll try to have it bronzed when I’m not looking.
(“I’m not gonna have it bronzed, you asshole,” she said when she read this post.)
All in all, I have to admit I was pretty impressed with the maternity store. They seemed to do good work there, which is important in a retail environment, because so much of their company’s livelihood depends on repeat business. Unlike most customer service jobs, of course, this is one of the only ones where you have to hope your customers are out there having enough sex to have to come back again.
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