The Education of Kevin: A Makeover

Three little kids on the corner up the street are selling makeovers for 15 cents. Yes, you read that right: makeovers. Every time a car or pedestrian goes by they yell out, “Makeovers! Fifteen cents!” I’m afraid to find out what that’s all about so I’m hiding on my porch behind my very large bean plant. Whatever happened to lemonade stands?

My stepson Kevin needs a makeover. He doesn’t care if his hair is combed or his teeth are brushed or his pants rest just over his ankles. As long as he has his Game Boy and the TV remote control, the boy is happy. Wait, I forgot the beef jerky. He loves beef jerky, too.

Yesterday we took Kevin shopping to spend his birthday gift cards. He turned 14 last week. We went to Best Buy first. At Best Buy, Kevin’s in his element. Video games, iPods, movies, CDs. He could spend hours ogling and playing games. But he had another gift card to spend. One that, when it popped out of his birthday card, made him turn white as a sheet.

I’m a girlie girl. Their stepsisters are girlie girls. We’re fans of fashion, not Best Buy, and so we bought him a card for Old Navy.

Old Navy, we learned, makes Kevin nervous. He’s like a fish out of water around new clothes. Perfect.

We walked in and I asked him what size he was. He shrugged his shoulders and said, “Iontknow,” all one word, just like that. So I made him turn around and I dug in the back of his jeans and pulled out the tag. 14 Regular. Just as I suspected. He has a small ass just like his dad. So off to the boys’ section we went.

“What kind of shorts do you need?” I asked.

“Iontknow,” he said.

“They’re kinda expensive,” he said a few seconds later.

Bless his heart.

“Kevin, when’s the last time you bought clothes?” I laughed. “That’s cheap. Trust me. Pick something out.”

He spied a pair of khakis. But they had to go past his knees, he informed me, otherwise everyone at school would tease him for wearing “short shorts.” Sigh. I grabbed a pair of non-short shorts and asked him what kind of shirt he wanted. Polo? Iontknow. I gave him a look. He looked around and found a blue striped polo he liked and so I grabbed one in what I figured was his size and we headed to the dressing room.

“Do you need t-shirts?” I asked as we passed a sale table. “They’re only $3.25 each.”

Again a shrug. We got to the dressing room and he followed the attendant to a room. She said to let her know if he needed anything and he looked at her like she’d asked him to strip naked and lay on an ant hill.

In the time it would take me to try on a dress, three pairs of pants and two strapless bras, he tried on a shirt. Thank god it fit.

“Do the shorts fit?” I asked five minutes later.

“Um, no,” he grunted in his best voice-changed baritone.

“Would you like me to get you a 12?” I offered, knowing that if the dressing room attendant asked him he’d be eaten alive by those red ants.

“Um, yeah.”

I brought him back a pair of 12s and he tried them on, at least I assume he tried them on, because when he opened the door after he was dressed into his own clothes, he had both pairs of shorts meticulously hung back on the hanger. ‘Does his mother not take him clothes shopping ever?’ I wondered.

We walked out of the dressing room and past the t-shirts again.

“Um, I’m going to camp and you know, you can’t have enough dry t-shirts,” Kevin said.

I smiled.

“Pick out two in a large, ok?” I told him.

I gave him a 20 to cover whatever his gift card didn’t cover and he threw the bill on the counter still rolled up in a wad.

“Kev, at least unroll the bill and hand it to her,” I sighed.

“Oh,” he said and reached for the bill. The cashier laughed and picked up the bill as it was. I just shook my head.

I wonder if those kids on the corner up the street made any money today. Maybe I should send Kevin up there. I’d pay them 15 cents to dress the boy. And teach him manners. It might be money well spent.

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