Thursday, November 27, 2008


In Praise of Weird Kids

My two youngest kids like clothes that are a mixture of emo, skateboarder, punk, or something similar. All this means is shirts with a print design of some sort, baggy pants for my son, tighter jeans for my daughter. Skateboarder type shoes and modest hoodies.

My ex and I stoutly forbid tattoos and piercings except for one pair of earrings for my daughter. Neither do we allow anything revealing or with prints of a sexual or "gross" or distasteful nature. We never discussed this. In our values we are simply that much alike.

Most would describe my kids' dress as rather conservative.

To find the styles and brands they like we primarily shop at Cosmic, Pac Sun, Journeys, Bad Boards, Hot Topix and similar stores. The appearance of the staff at these stores would freak out many people. They sport hair of many lengths, colors and styles. Sometimes all on the same person. They display abundant piercings and tattoos.

They are also, almost unfailingly, the friendliest, most helpful staff of any stores in the mall, and sometimes the most entertaining.

This past Sunday, I took my daughter to Eastgate Mall in Cincinnati to buy a pair of casual shoes. She had a pair of Nikes in mind. We went in Journeys where we found the usual friendly helpfulness but not the shoes she wanted. Because it was close by, we stopped in the Locker Room. No luck.

Because I could see a pair of Nikes on display, we went into Cosmic. We were almost immediately greeted by a young fellow with two rings piercing his lower lip plus tattoos and other piercings. He also toted a worn looking acoustic guitar which he admitted he didn't know how to play. He was very friendly and helpful without being pushy.

My daughter found a pair of shoes she liked and while the salesman went to get a pair for her to try on another guy of similar appearance came over to offer help. He now had the guitar. When the first fellow returned, this second stayed and they talked with us. The second guy played a few cords of a Led Zeppelin's "Over the Hills and Far Away."

My daughter wanted to check out another store before she committed herself (so fickle), we left after asking them to hold the shoes. After checking the other store, we returned and bought the pair from Cosmic.

But, the story is about the delightfulness of the staff at Cosmic. My daughter and I have never had more FUN buying a pair of shoes. To the kids working at Cosmic, I probably look pretty conservative, polo shirt, jeans, tennis shoes, medium length hair and the build of an aging athlete. However, I suspect I may be more open to these "different" or "weird" kids than some.

These two "weird" looking kids certainly made my usually dread trip to the mall the highlight of my day. Thanks, guys.

I enjoyed this post. I tend to look poorly on people who are unconventional looking, and often find myself surprised by their actions/demeanor - and ashamed of my first impression.
I know what you mean. Contrary to my pre-conception I have found the kids in these stores among the friendliest and most helpful anywhere.
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