The highs and lows of the week roller-coasted with such a centrifugal force of hormones that a Rite of Passage collided with a Mens Warehouse.

I bought The Boy his first suit today for his 8th grade graduation tomorrow. I couldn’t take him before today because he’s been cramming for finals.

The Boy is 6 feet tall and weighs 155 pounds.
These vital statistics prove he is a freak of nature
as just yesterday he was less than 7 pounds
and boasted only 21 inches.

I’m gonna have to measure, but I think his left foot now might be longer than he was when he was born.

So we walk into this suit place and Matthew comes over to wait on The Boy.

The Boy looks at Matthew who’s got style written all over him from his purple tie to his black cowboy boots and gives Matthew the eyebrow. The Boy has very expressive eyebrows that can communicate a derisive snub or an impressed bravo depending on their signature arc. He extended Matthew the thumbs-up eye brow. The Boy was quick to notice Matthew’s accessories too. The thumb ring and hand-hammered, silver slave cuff bracelet earned a nod. Matthew’s hair also met approval, tussled with that just-out-of-bed look that takes 45 minutes and two kinds of product to produce.

So as not to mislead you, let me say upfront that our boy is straight. He wasn’t sizing up Matthew, he was making notes as this first suit of his will not only be worn for graduation tomorrow, but also his first formal dance tomorrow night.

So I walk in with The Boy whose shuffling in a pair of warped flip flops and a stained pair of PE shorts (he won’t let me toss because they’re in beloved favorites), and he intersects with Matthew whose got some major swagger.

That was probably the moment that escalated the shopping trip from one that I knew was going to be expensive to one that got really expensive.

Historically,
The Boy loathes shopping.
He hates it.
He detests it.
Like it he does not.
Disinclined be he.

I get him to buy new shoes by throwing out the old pair.
Not being able to dress-out for PE motivates him.
He wears the same three shirts
over and over again
unless I hide them.
I expect his classmates think we are on food stamps.

That’s The Boy I took into the men’s clothing store today.

We’re five minutes into a shopping experience with Matthew and The Boy’s asking for fashion advice. He’s actively discussing purple versus pink as an accent color and which tie best pulls a pattern. We didn’t go in there to buy shoes and he pets a pair on display and confesses to Matthew that he really doesn’t like borrowing his dad’s shoes and that they kind of pinch his pinky toe.

Matthew counsels my son on the importance of taking care of his feet as he is an athlete and is gonna need them strong for the field as well as the dance floor.

The Boy was almost purring once it came time to pin his pants to hem. He quickly agreed it was worth the initial investment for the perma-crease for his trousers.

He and Matthew extolled the virtues of a heavy, cedar hanger for hanging suits and willingly practiced hanging up his own pants so that they would not wrinkle. Matthew explained to him that a man needed to know how to take care of his own suit without the help of mom.

To his credit, The Boy knew who held to the American Express card and gave me a look. It was the I-love-you-aren’t-I-adorable-I’m-your-boy-eyebrow.

He puts his arm around me after the eye-popping tally hits the credit card voucher and opines that he really doesn’t mind if I chaperone the dance.

(On the way to Mens Warehouse he stated that he had vomit in his mouth at the very same prospect.)

We return two hours later to pick-up his altered suit and pressed shirt. He greets Matthew with this complicated handshake-slap routine I can’t imagine where he learned. Matthew leads him to a fitting room to try his suit on and it happens.

The Boy comes out with
Young,
Proud
Swagger
that needs no thumb ring.
His attitude’s shiny
Youth,
Power
and Hope.

Potential
pops his buttons
as much as his ego
and I see our son thrill
himself with the strapping figure
and delighted grin
that greets him in the
3-way-mirror most women dread
that loves him like
the camera loves Brad Pitt.

My eyes blur as I watch my boy see himself and like the man he sees.

You say I took the name in vain
I don’t even know the name
But if I did, well, really, what’s it to you?
There’s a blaze of light in every word
It doesn’t matter which you heard
The holy or the broken Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah!