I went to the mall yesterday. I try to never go to the mall, not out of some militant anti-capitalist protest but because I really fucking hate the mall. Unfortunately, it’s the best source for decent bras and reasonably-priced jeans, so about twice a year, I force myself to go to the mall, park as close as possible to my chosen entrance and exit, and just deal with the panic that results when I’m there.
Bras are relatively easy. I don’t like Victoria’s Secret because I’m skeeved at the 11-year-old girls picking out “Very Sexy” panties with their moms (as well as at least one person who says Victoria’s SecretS while inside the store because they’re ignoring the signs everywhere), but their stores are pretty well organized and I’m usually in and out of there in less than ten minutes. The main trouble with getting bras is that Victoria’s Secret is half a wing away from Macy’s, where I get my jeans, so I have to walk through a bunch of other people to get there, and one of the obstacles in my way is Auntie Anne’s.
If you thought I was going to give some Cathy-esque “sugar covered pretzels bikini season AAACK!” reason why I dislike Auntie Anne’s, then you’re wrong. I don’t eat Auntie Anne’s. Again, it’s not because of some militant anti-capitalist protest. It’s because Auntie Anne’s is gross. It’s gluey dough that costs the company pennies, and they underpay their staff to stick this dough in an oven and then dredge it through margarine and seasonings and you get to pay whole dollars for it. Okay. Maybe this is a militant anti-capitalist protest. BUT ALSO there are like six people in line for these pretzels every time I walk by. Like spending an hour and a half at a mall requires you to replenish your nutrients at all, although, if you look at some of Auntie Anne’s customers, most of them look like candidates for Type 2 diabeetus, so maybe they’re just re-charging their blood sugar. What I mean is that it’s bad food that nobody has to eat but these mesomorphs have made getting one of these fucking pretzels an experience. Gotta have Auntie Anne’s when we’re inside the mall!
Ugh, those people. They’re the same people who stand gaping-mouthed at store windows, like their lives won’t really be complete without those sunglasses or those shoes or some crappy-looking shirt promoted by a barely pubescent model who’s completely unaware of the existence of Myanmar, let alone that everything they’re wearing was produced there by child laborers. God, I’m insufferable, but I swear this isn’t the main problem. I just don’t feel the need for stuff like that, and while I’m not saying that makes me better than these people, I can’t help but wonder what their non-mall lives are like. Do they watch car auctions on TV? Do they start sentences with “Now, I’m not a racist, but…” and then follow it up with something extremely racist? Do they slow to a stop to gawk at accidents on the highway? Probably. So maybe I am saying that I’m better than these people, but also I’m aware that I sound like a fucking asshole almost all of the time.
I must look ridiculous in the mall. I practically sprint from Macy’s to Victoria’s Secret and back again, and I’m sure I have this “I am going to have a nervous fucking breakdown if I have to look at you fucking people ever again in my life” look on my face while I’m doing it. I just get so angry at the shoppers who amble at a barely mobile pace, sort of just bouncing off one another and into and out of stores like confused, obese molecules in some stagnant cesspool petri dish. And I know this is a bad way to think, but it’s the image in my head every single time I have to be in a mall, and it grosses me out to the point that all I can think about when I’m there is that I absolutely have to get the hell out as soon as possible.
Then I have to buy jeans and I just feel like shooting myself in the face. Look, I know I’m not small, but what is wrong with denim companies that all of their products are manufactured for Juniors (two sizes too small, very few options that aren’t Skinny, and never made in Long) or adult Ladies (semi-accurate sizes but weird pouchy waists and butts, that is, for any brands that don’t cost over $100 a pair)? I’m a 12 in Ladies but have to go up to a 15 in Juniors, and none of them are ever long enough for me. Do you know what it’s like to pull on a pair of size 15 jeans in a dressing room and feel a nauseated cold sweat creep up your entire body? I mean, I know the dressing room experience is engineered to make us all feel terrible about ourselves, but I think this is getting excessive, and at the very least, Levi’s could lower the shipping prices on their online options so I’m not shelling out $200 just to get a couple of pairs of pants that don’t make me look like a muffin-topped jackass.
By the time I leave the mall, the back of my neck, crack of my ass, and forehead are covered in sweat. I’m breathing so heavily that I cannot understand why security has never stopped me on suspicion of shoplifting, and I catch myself muttering “this fucking place this fucking place” aloud to myself until I’m able to put my car into drive and leave.
I’ve got the bras and a couple of crappy pairs of jeans, but what happened to my ability to act like a human being in public?