So far, having a teenager living under our roof has been a wild ride — and we’re less than a year into it. There are mood swings. There are crazy bursts of energy. There are crazier amounts of food. And it’s only going to get worse.
There are, however some advantages. He showers far more regularly than when he was a little kid, he’s far more interested in his appearance, and he’s discovered a new-found interest in his wardrobe. I have to admit that last one is a welcome surprise.
When the boys were toddlers and had no say in what they wore, they were the best dressed kids at the preschool. Come one, they have two dads, of course they would be styling! But when Gus started to notice what the other kids were wearing, he wanted to follow suit — no pun intended. And monkey see, monkey do, his little brother joined him.
Our only saving grace was when they attended parochial school for four years. I loved the ease and style of school uniforms. On full dress days it was blue slacks with a pressed white Oxford shirt and a sharp-looking tie. The rest of the week it was those same blue slacks paired with a crisp polo.
Hearing that their new charter school decided against uniforms nearly made me burst into tears. And for good reason. Once they had freedom of will in choosing their clothes, we kissed nice slacks and pressed white shirts goodbye. They were replaced with shiny, over-sized basketball shorts made out of some sort of material that was a byproduct of some weapon of mass destruction, no doubt, and pre-teen hip silk-screened T-shirts.
Niko copied his brother’s “look” immediately. He added his own flair, however by choosing mismatched tube socks, which he yanked far above his knees. Ironically, he claimed to hate wearing long pants, but every inch of his body below the waist was always covered.
The only time they’d wear “nice” clothes was to church. Every other minute of their lives it was those damned basketball shorts and T-shirts, I’d have to beg, threaten or bribe them to wear something more stylish for the holidays. It’s not like I was being a hypocrite. When I was a kid I dressed pretty much like I do today — slacks and button down Oxford shirts. Seriously, I was born preppy.
But something changed this year that has set my kids on the right path. I’m pretty sure that some girl must be involved (gross, I know!), but Gus decided that he wanted to up his wardrobe game.
Those shorts gave way to stylish pants. T-shirts disappeared in favor of attractive, cotton shirts. And on Sundays he raids my closet for dress shirts and complementary ties since we wear just about the same size now.
It’s rewarding to see him start recognizing that clothes indeed can make the man. I’m glad to see he’s becoming comfortable rocking a suit and tie — it’s an attitude that will serve him well in adulthood.
And to his credit, when it comes to wardrobe makeover, Gus is making the most of having gay dads. Nearly every morning he comes running in to ask if this shirt goes well with these pants. I’d like to take credit for that, but I think he realizes the ladies are noticing. On more than one occasion he’s mentioned that this girl or that one complimented him on his outfit.
Of course that should come as no surprise. After all, like ZZ Top always says, “Every girl crazy ’bout a sharp-dressed man!”