Claire’s Boutique Is My Personal Ninth Circle Of Hell

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Do you ever have mommy and daughter dates? I do, and when I let my kid pick where we will spend quality time together, she wants nothing more than to enjoy an hour shopping at my own ninth circle of hell, Claire’s Boutique. Sometimes I can convince her to see whatever new princess movie is showing. Sometimes we go have lunch and spend some time at a bookstore. Sometimes we go to a museum together. But if I decide to be the really nice mommy and let her choose, it’s always Claire’s Boutique, the place where good taste and items that are covered in glitter, sequins, more glitter, and sparkles go to die. Yes, I could just simply tell her “no” and take her to a place that sells less dayglo pink tinsel hair extensions, but as a parent it is my job to on occasion suck it up and let her choose. And this is also why you probably ended up taking your own kid to see that awful Transformers: Dark Side Of The Moon movie. In the theater. We do things for our kids on occasion just to make them happy. And nothing makes my daughter happier than blowing $20 on stick-on Disney Princess earrings and rainbow glitter tiaras.

I am all for pretend play. I don’t mind my kid putting on piles of tulle and Hello Kitty press on nails and a tiara on her poor dog and demanding that everyone in the house come to her endless tea parties complete with velco wooden cupcakes and stuffed fabric petits fours. I just hate going to Claire’s Boutique to buy all the junk that she loves to enhance her make believe sparkle princess playtime. I try and look at it from my kid’s perspective, and I guess a place like Claire’s to her is what William’s Sonoma or Anthropologie is to me. And when I was young, I probably would have found Claire’s to be pretty cool too, what with the scads of rhinestone chokers and terribly glamorous cubic zirconia chandelier-size earrings. But the store still creeps me out. It’s a temple dedicated to the bling and glitz of gender-stereotyping, and the feminist in me sighs heavily at all of the miniature bridal veils and burlesque boas  marketed towards the under-ten female who can playact at being either a bride or an old-timey whore. I assist my daughter, gently, in making her purchases at this place, rhinestone bedecked Minnie Mouse ears are okay, vampire themed makeup compacts are not.

My favorite part of these shopping excursions are when another parent brings their daughter in to get her ears pierced while we are browsing. At my own daughter’s age of 8, I feel she is too young to get her ears pierced and I don’t feel she is ready to keep her ears clean enough not to risk infection, so we have decided to wait until she is older. This sad fact always makes my daughter sigh heavily, until she witnesses another kid getting their ears pierced and crying after the salesperson uses the piercing gun. Score one for mom.

Claire’s also sells items marketed towards our male offspring, but my own sons have next to zero interest in adorning themselves with Angry Birds baseball caps or rubber bacon necklaces. It’s just my daughter who loves Claire’s, and all of its racks of glitter beads and satin flower ponytail holders. I guess I need to start appreciating the fact that one day I will have a lot more to be irked with than her desire to accessorize like an escapee from a My Little Pony cartoon, I can almost hear the pleas to take her bra shopping at Victoria’s Secret when she is a teenager in the distance.

(Photo: Denis Hsn Photography Shutterstock)