I am proud to report that my eight year-old son has the nicest underwear in his class. How do I know this, you ask. I am totally presuming. But really, which other eight year-olds are going to be wearing David Beckham boxer briefs? They are probably in Spiderman or SpongeBob Y-fronts.
The reason my son is such a lucky boy is that when I was making a purchase recently, of an armful of tops for fall at the local H&M, I was informed by the cute and impossibly young salesman that I would get 20% off my purchase if I bought some. I did the math. It just made sense.
My savings put me in a chatty mood, so I asked my charming cashier how old he was. I’d guessed 23. He said “23.” I said “I’ve been shopping at H&M for longer than you’ve been alive.” He seemed taken aback — though it wasn’t clear whether that was because he didn’t think I was that old, or that the company he worked for was that old.
H&M is pretty new in the US, and just about unheard of in Pittsburgh. But my conversation took me back to those early items I bought there, at the flagship store on Oxford Street in the 80s. This was well before the Primark era, and well before H&M’s flagship store moved to Oxford Circus.
Here’s what I bought (and what was considered fashionable back in the mid1980s): a completely floppy silvery fabric jacket, a royal blue tiered miniskirt, and a white string vest. I probably wore all three at the same time. With a headband. It was hideous.
Football players didn’t hawk underwear back then, though we all wondered what Gary Lineker looked like in his. Now, I am left staring at the box. I can’t quite bring myself to throw it away.