I read this post on City-Data.com tonight, and this sounds so much like my mother it’s not even funny. Even the time frame seems to be the same.
There is a difference though. My mother wasn’t above taking me to Sears, J.C Penny’s etc. to buy MY clothes, while she always shopped at Lord and Taylor’s for her own. Later, when we moved to New York, she bought her clothing at Bloomingdale’s but mine always came from Alexander’s (closed in 1992). Not that I minded (I didn’t care), but it’s interesting that I always got the “low rent” stuff.
As for the hairbands mentioned in this post, my mother always bought me elastic ones. At least they came in different colors. I doubt she would have bought me a glittery plastic hairband either if I had asked for one, although she probably would have let me wear one and griped about it endlessly. I remember she went nuts when I bought some pale blue nail polish and little decals to stick on my nails because of how “unnatural” and “tacky” it was, but she didn’t make me take it off. When I was around 5 or 6, she was also into those “mother and daughter” matching outfits that were so popular in the mid-196os. Perfect for creating a mini-me to perfectly mirror the narc mother’s impeccable taste.
I was an extension of my mother. And I reflected her beauty and taste.
I grew up in the 1960s and 1970s and attended public schools. But my sisters and I looked as though we were “high society” – but you wouldn’t know it.
While my friend’s parents bought their clothes at Sears, Penny’s or even Macy’s; my mother pronounced those stores as “common” – pretty much her absolute worst word for anything.
She took us to Lord and Taylor, B. Altman, and Bonwit Teller. Frequently, the suburban branches were not deemed “good enough”, so we were made to drive an hour into NYC to buy triplicate Scottish wool kilts or velvet portrait collar dresses for Christmas day.
Same with the dentist! She didn’t like the shape of my lateral incisors, and they were capped in 6th grade!
As with everything though, there was a dark side to all of this.
I really wanted to wear a plastic hair band in the summer. Some were pearly and others were glittery. I thought they were “beautiful”, I was seven and I liked things that sparkled! Everyone in my neighborhood and my day camp had them in many different colors!
She wouldn’t let me get one. Not one. I mean it was a hair band and not a tattoo! It was a fad one Summer forty years ago.
She did relent about hair bands towards the middle of the Summer and bought me a tortoise shell one. It was drab. It was tasteless. It didn’t stand out on my head the way the wonderful glittery ones and lavender pearl ones did.
Worse, for a seven year old, no props from my friends. They thought it was ugly.
I took it into the woods and snapped it in half.
One afternoon she asked what happened to “that thing that you forced me to buy for your hair”.
I told her that I’d lost it. Her reply “thank God”, followed by a snicker that confirmed that she was lacking in any empathy at all.