Reminds Me of Something That Hasn’t Happened Yet

Subtitle:  How To Train Your Sons to Date a Lady

(Or their Mother, if a lady is unavailable.)

A few weeks ago, my nine-year-old asked me out on a date.  He wanted to go to Perry’s Steakhouse, and he wanted to rent a tuxedo for the occasion.  I can only imagine what thought process brought him to those decisions…I don’t second-guess Michael anymore.  Trying to understand his motivation is an exercise in futility, and it takes away from the fun of just going with his ideas and seeing where you land.  Usually it’s upright and in a recognizable location, though the odds are not always in your favor.

We started out by going to the local Al’s Formal Wear at the height of Prom/June Wedding Preparation season.  I swear, I have never wanted to warn some of these men so badly in my life:  “Run!  Fast and far!  If she’s that particular about the direction of the tone-on-tone pattern on a swatch of fabric that is five inches by five inches and really only about two square inches of that will ever even be seen poking out of a jacket pocket, then YOU ARE SCREWED.”

Of course I didn’t say that anywhere but my head.  Girls/ladies, really?  He’s there, he’s renting the tux for you, let the rest go.

Michael handled 99% of the transaction himself, which is to say that I paid the rental fee and did nothing else but take pictures.  Here he is deciding between the notched lapel and the up-turned one (honestly, I saw no difference but what do I know?):

Teach your son how to date a lady

Hmm...which lapel to choose?

Teach your son how to date a lady

Measuring for the shirt. Check out that pose...

The woman working had a field day with him, she was into his story, LOL.  He was not a fan of the way the dress slacks hang, he said the crotch was too low.  GOOD MAN.  Not a fan of the saggy-crotch look myself.  She was able to convince him that that’s just how they roll in tuxedo world, and he got over it.  I thought the jacket she had him try on was too small, but he liked it.  (She was right, the one I liked would have been way too big, which is why they are experts at Al’s and I am an expert at…not that.)

The thing that struck me as so much fun was when his older brother wanted to help him get dressed.  At 5:00 (our reservations were at 6), they took the tux and all the trimmings upstairs and set to work.  I honestly tried to stay out of it and then remembered that I am, in fact, me so up I went, camera in hand.  The thing is, I could hardly watch without mentally skipping ahead 15 or 20 years to his wedding day.  He’d be in a room and his brother would be right there next to him like he has always, always been and they would be laughing and cutting up and strangling each other with bow ties and throwing the cufflinks around the room (we later found them all, though I have to question where all the six-armed men are that rent tuxedos) and generally having a ball.  Worth the price of admission for that scene alone.

Teach your son how to date a lady

How many times have I seen them in this pose? TOO MANY TO COUNT.

Teach your son how to date a lady

It's all starting to come together...

When they were all done, Michael came down looking like this:

Teach your son how to date a lady

Be still my beating heart. Also? Need to revisit not blowing out the whites. Photography fail.

And all at once I’m the Mom on prom night, herding all the kids into the back yard for pictures before the kids head off to dinner and to dance the night away.  Then, a few years later, I’m the Mother of the Groom, dressed in some fancy gown that he’s helped me pick out for his big day.  I’ve never seen the future so clearly before, but there it was, standing three feet away in black and white.

We arrived at Perry’s slightly ahead of schedule, and valet parked.  Always cracks me up to do that in my old 2001 XTerra which, no matter how you qualify it, looks not unlike a total beater.  It had been washed recently, but you can totally still make out the scratches on the back left quarter panel where the boys played tic-tac-toe with a set of keys when they were who knows what age.  No shame in my game though, it still runs, and better?  PAID FOR.

Michael walked me up to the front door and opened it for me, then announced himself to the hostess and the manager at the front desk, confirming his 6:00 reservation.  They asked him if he wanted a booth or a table:  “Um…I think booth.”  We were escorted to a lovely spot, and he went on and on about how fancy and special the dining room was and didn’t I just love it?  Totally did.

He ordered a Sprite and I ordered a Diet Coke and we split two loaves of their awesome sourdough bread, which is to say that I ate a slice and Michael inhaled the rest.  He ordered the eight ounce filet, cooked medium well.  He did it all by himself, I just sat and listened as he spoke clearly and firmly to the sweet waitress.  I think her name was Julie, she was awesome.   The meal was fantastic, he loved the steak.  He was not a fan of the au gratin potatoes, but I ate his portion since he skunked me on the bread, so we’ll call it even.  Dessert was warm chocolate cake with a dollop of ice cream.  Note to Perry’s:  serve Blue Bell, it’s way better than the fake scandinavian-sounding brand and hello?  This is Texas.  Support the home team, folks!

Dessert finished, the little man paid the bill and we were on our way:

Teach your son how to date a lady

He was so proud of his adult-like signature. "See that? That's how a man signs his name."

He had been planning this night for a long time, and it was just as he hoped it would be.  I got a chance to show him how to hold his arm out for a lady (or his Mother, lol), how to stand if she needs to get up from the table, how to walk around and tip the valet as you help your date into the car, all of the things he’ll need to know as he gets older.  Somewhere in the world, there’s a little girl who will be thankful.  She’ll be the luckiest girl on the planet.  =)



P.S.  He can also iron clothes, sew, and kill spiders and June bugs with the best of them.  Just sayin’…

P.S.S.  More pictures here.


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