I went to the mall today. It's someplace that I don't visit much anymore as most of my purchases have been narrowed to the grocery, hardware stores, on-line deals and auctions. My days of cruising retail for the latest fashions, CD's and black light posters at Spencer's are behind me and I have no desire to look like a 55 year old "Chester" hangin' out by the pretzel stand. I usually have a specific item in mind, a destination and little time to screw around. However, as a middle aged single dude, I do miss mindless screwing occasionally.
Today was an exception as I had 2-3 hours to kill while waiting for a new set of tires and front end alignment on my car. I popped over to the mall with phone and check book full of cards in pocket and began to waste some time with a trip to the food court and Macy's. I did however use the first 5 or six minutes searching with angst for my keys as I had forgotten that I had left them with auto care to move the vehicle. I guess I felt panicked that I had locked my self out of Victoria"s Secret again.
I entered through the tool and hardware section of Sears like any self respecting guy would do and made my way quietly through ladies panties and children's shoes. I felt suspect even taking the time to make notice of the inferior quality of the products in the once staple store of middle class, middle aged, middle America. This is what we have become? Roebuck would be appalled at selling 3 packs of holiday wrapped men's deodorant in small satellite kiosks inside his once namesake. It smelled. It smelled like surrender.
The mall was packed. It is the holiday season, as Christmas shopping now begins any micro second after Labor Day and being coupled with a cooler than seasonably usual Saturday, the race was on, and since 90% of the shoppers were in old track suits, too small yoga pants and $50 knock-off sports shoes, there would be no winners.
First stop, the food court for fast paced, mass produced, over priced under nourishing sustenance. This is where hope goes to die. Every counter was 4 people deep. Every table was filled with multiple parties and wandering tray carrying zombies circling the next ketchup covered spot to sit down. I thought, "No Way Jose', which was 50% of the staff in every direction. I thought the hanging plants would be better. I walked to Applebee's to at
least have a better chance to procure a seat.........and a beer. Don't get me wrong, I don't drink before 5 pm to survive, I do so to ensure that many others do.. I'm no longer allowed to breed or carry fire arms, but a good afternoon brewsky keeps me off the 6 o'clock news.
I more than too often say to a guest as an ice breaker on their second, third, 4th cocktail that "I don't judge". It always gets a nervous laugh, but facts are facts, we all judge, and I am sadly in your company. Today was no exception and if you have a weak stomach for crowd bashing, you may want to jump ship before I send the pedestrian masses off the plank.
Stereotypes are just that for a reason. They are perpetuated by historical significance, family and cultural similarities, and mindless followers doing and going no where except in the same foot print of the last tragically hip, douche bag wanna-bee.
I walked by window after window of lovely things on mannequins. Who is buying these things? No one came even close to looking like anything even close to stylish.......or trying. I saw person after person that looked like they had just rolled out of bed in their 20 year old, thread bear PJ's in pseudo ugg boots. Messy buns, just being messy. Yoga pants on women that have never seen a gym or correctly spelled the word exercise. Layers and layers of lace, silk, chiffon on older ladies trying to be cool that just looked like homeless grannies trying to wear everything at once so it wouldn't be stolen out of their home/cart on the corner while going to the bathroom at Steak-n-Shake. It just goes on and on:
The alpha male jock in miss-matched shorts and tank top in a wind chill of 21 degrees.
The 45 year old Mom in her 13 year old daughter's clothes and the child in her Mom's makeup, both with the same over the counter purple hair with 4 month roots.
Grandpa in the 1980's track suit and no underwear.
Man buns. Messy buns. Lazy buns. NO MORE BUNS!!!! If you want long hair, then take the time to style it. If Jesus could turn water to wine, I'm pretty sure he could have whipped up a scrunchy, but had the good taste to keep his flat iron a secret.
Tattoos. I don't get it. They are everywhere. Unless you have been in the military, keep it in your pants...........or at least off of your face.
Piercings. OMG! I made it through my life without so much as one ear pierced. If I had to do it all over again, I would have had my nipples pierced during my "pecs are bigger than Texas" years, and hung Christmas ornaments off of them and made them swirl in opposite directions. But even holiday starts with HO.
The right wing religions that can't wear pants or cut their hair trying to be cool with one Michael Jackson glove and do-rag. White Aunt Jemima just slingin' pancakes for all 16 kids.
The Taylor Swift and Justin Bieber hordes that just can't keep up with the latest incarnation and keep trying till they're 30 and envision themselves as the next VOICE and perpetually let you hear it.
We also get stuck in time.
A hairstyle is not a life sentence. 80 year old ladies with the pin curled blue hair. 70 has the bubble cut. Shaved up the back with enough volume on the top to remind them of the 1960's. 60 year old's with died to match pixie cuts because the long hair was damaged from hair color. 50 is the age of the bob, and 40 still flat ironed with daughters tools to keep hubby happy and a beachy wave when going out with the girls for chardonnay because they pay more attention. And the guys: whatever the style was while they were in school, as long as they can maintain it before going bald. It's true that if you can just update your hairstyle, you can take 10 years off of your face.
Same goes for clothes. We get stuck in a time warp and it dates us. They say that clothes make the man, but truly they make a first, second and lasting impression. It says so much about us. It says you care and are paying attention. It may be cool to be hapless and carefree in your teens, but if you don't grow up, you don't keep up. People judge your ability by your presence and look. It's a cold hard fact that 20 year old in a suit working as a restaurants host will more likely become the next boss because he is viewed as professional and competent. The hardest working, most educated and adept employee in a collective uniform will be bypassed every time. Think about how many times you took your complaints or compliments to the 17 year old hostess as if she were passing out kudos and paychecks?
Our products have become inferior and our attempt has become lackluster and benign. We don't know the difference between high priced and good quality. This has become the new method of operation for our society. Fast, fast. Now, now. Me, me. Everyone is in their own little tech obsessed, cell phone, instagram world. But, fact is, folks are watching. Employers are taking notes. Governments are scanning. People are judging.
Thankfully I judge myself for being so judge mental. I look in the mirror. I think twice. I make an effort. Woefully my human imperfection keeps a Julia Sugarbaker dialogue running like a ticker tape in my brain. No one throws together a list of 8-10 adjectives and adverbs as fast as a coke whore on Saturday completely destroying a deserving asshole like I do. I believe a razor tongue and wit keeps the sharp objects out of your hands. I hope that my Carlin cynicism doesn't de-rail into complete anger as his did in his final years, but until then I will keep putting my thoughts down and keep my hopes up.