It’s happened to everybody. You buy the perfect outfit. You put it on and feel like the person you were always meant to be. Then you run into some teenagers and they ruin your life.
From then on, whenever you see a group of teens your stomach hurts and you have to cross the street.
Well, it doesn’t have to be that way. Here are a few simple tricks you can try next time you end up in some teens’ crosshairs.
Take the high road.
If they say something like, “Nice cowboy hat, asshole,” pretend you didn’t hear them—even though you know exactly what they mean because you’re the only asshole wearing one. And when they continue much louder with something like “Giddy up, Calzone Cowboy.” You can furrow your brow and shrug. Just be careful not to furrow too much, that could release the tears that are begging to fall from your eyes. And you can’t afford to have your mascara run into your dinner.
Ask if you can borrow their phone.
Say that your wife is sick, or that you need to call the vet about your dog’s colon medication—anything that sounds adult and uninteresting. You’ll figure it out. Then, when they plop their phone into your hand, follow yourself on TikTok from their account. They’ll see that your clothes are normally very cool and how this outfit plays into the larger narrative of your wardrobe.
Give them a taste of your own medicine.
You know you’ve never been funny, so turning it back on them is out of the question. But, what you can do is level with them and share something that’s important to you—teens love sincerity. Tell them how songbirds with the prettiest songs live in the worst states. Teach them close-up magic or about the art of seduction. Or, show them how your devil sticks work. No one can deny the aerobatic beauty of devil sticks, not even snickering teens.
Show them a cigarette.
Teens love cigs because cigs are cool. If you can prove that you can purchase and enjoy a cigarette, they’ll know you’re cool and shouldn’t be made fun of. Plus, they’ll probably stop pouring water on your fanny pack if they think there are more smokes in there.
He Got Game them.
Like Denzel’s character does in the Spike Lee film, try to get the teens to commit to playing college basketball at the governor’s alma mater. First, you’ll need to convince them that you’re their incarcerated father and that the governor’s given you a temporary release to try to get your teens—the ones that want to make fun of you—to play ball at Big State. It’ll take the entire week, but the experience will teach you that you can’t turn your teens into people they’re not and your teens will learn to not hang onto anger.
Ultimately, you go back to prison, but having a uniform means no one can make fun of your clothes.
Take away their allowance.
This one is simple. If they don’t have any money they won’t have a reason to leave the house. And if they’re at home they can’t see that your shoes light up.
Just roll with it.
What do you care what a bunch of teenagers think? So what if they make surprisingly pointed observations? You pay your taxes and get about seven hours of sleep almost every weeknight. They can’t rent a car and have to worry about the SAT. They’ll have to go home eventually, but you can stay out as late as you want and can eat ice cream whenever you feel like it. Their words won’t sting as much after a pint of rainbow sherbet.