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Somebody else needs to wear the pants in this family

By Tracy Lee Curtis
Tracy Lee Curtis
Tracy Lee Curtis is a humorist, writer and speaker. She writes family humor for the Charlotte Observer. Her column appears each Sunday.

I just figured out what I love most about Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Eve. My kids wear pants.

That came out wrong. What I meant to say is that instead of them wearing vinyl drawstring basketball shorts, they wear slacks. And what’s up with these long shorts the kids wear now that come below the knee? Didn’t we do this in the ’70s? They were called gauchos. If these things get any baggier our boys are gonna be in a full-blown culotte.

Anyway, the genius of slacks is that once they go on, they basically mandate the rest of their look. It goes like this: After you tell them they have to wear slacks and they freak out and holler that it’s not fair and that fine fabrics make them chafe, you remind them that it’s just two days a year. And that one of the days produces a full day of eating. And the other, a new iPod.

So now they have on the pants. And nice pants require a shirt that’s not made by Under Armour. And doesn’t have Harley Davidson, Duck Dynasty, or “Don’t Tase Me Bro” across the chest.

The chafing turns out to be a real thing, in that no textile has ever touched the back of their knees or the crook of their arms. So I baby powder all these sensitive areas. I think about maybe using ace bandages everywhere, but they’re walking pretty stiffly as it is. I want to take video and I don’t want it to look like some weirdo Belk catalog zombie movie.

Once the shirt gets tucked in, the belt loops are exposed and now they need a belt. While my youngest swears these are holsters for his air gun, I tell him a belt will better secure the ammo. He excitedly agrees! And then all the air guns seem to go missing … so weird.

Slacks with a shirt and a belt sort of make tennis shoes no longer an option. My oldest figures that his high-top basketball shoes are the way to go. I explain the concept of cankles. And I suggest a loafer that hits just above the foot. That cankle thing really scared him; he’s been shooting hoops in flip-flops ever since.

They look so nice, it would be a shame not to comb out yesterday’s lunch, or whatever that is in his hair. Gel holds so much better than mustard.

A V-neck sweater and a sport coat, and they go from Il Gaucho to Gucci in seconds. Then I quickly memorialize the moment. I take a video, take a picture, and this year I had them bronzed. They look absolutely amazing in my front yard, and the neighbors can’t get over how nicely dressed they are.

Just wish they’d put on socks.

tcurtis@charlotteobserver.com
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