I should start this off by saying that on an average year I only visit the mall once. And that one time is either spent buying a Christmas gift for my mom or taking care of turning in cable/internet components. In both cases I have looked online, pulled up a mall map and planed my trip out to avoid minimal parking lot traffic, perfume counters, and teenie boppers.
Last week one of my friends bought me a gift certificate to a designer shoe store for my graduation. I sorely needed a pair of brown shoes and Wal-mart did not have anything (yes, sadly I looked there first). While the gift was really nice and thoughtful it has recently thrown my life into a materialistic free fall. With the exception of a pair of jeans, a pair of khakis, some socks, and some underwear, I have pretty much avoided buying new clothes for roughly five years.
This weekend my roommate dragged me to the mall to look at some shoes I could get and see if there was anything he wanted. It was ok. At least I had a guide. The kid has some good fashion sense (and if you stand next to him long enough he will tell you all about it). I feel bad for the guy because I don't reflect him well with my simple wear (probably actually magnify him a bit). I found some shoes I like but even with the gift certificate I would still have to shell out some big bucks and I wanted to sleep on it. Matt found some designer jeans.
Today when I got off work I was thinking about getting some coffee but was too worn down for caffeine so I got the idea to go get those shoes I had checked out. I had the pants I normally wear to work so I could make sure they went together. I went tot the mall. By myself. On the way into the parking lot the two cars in front of me nearly killed each other as one wasn't paying attention turning in, the other swerved around and nearly took out an entire median. I was alive. So far so good.
I quickly found the shoe store (mapped it) and asked to try on the shoes I had found over the weekend. Uh oh. While the shoes looked great and went well with the coloring in my pants, my pants were to short and could not be let out. So if I bought the shoes, I would need new pants. My roommate has also put me in the mentality of if I get the shoes I have to get some shirts to complement them.
So I sadly returned the shoes to the box and began to go to try to find some pants. Lesson one: malls are expensive. Lesson two: the longer you stay in one, the longer you want to dress like the pale motionless folks who willingly stand in a store window.
I went around to a few stores starting with department stores because I figured I could knock out a few items at once and they would be cheaper (myth). To begin with, to get to the men's section (oddly placed at the back) I had to walk through the dreaded perfume/make-up counters. I felt saddened as I passed woman after woman being smeared with paint looking more like Ms. Potato Head than Marilyn Monroe.
On my journey to one store I passed a girl giving out samples. I kindly refused thinking she was offering food, which my expanding gut did not need in a building of skinny people. She quickly put down the tray and wanted to ask me a question. Hoping it was trivia (because I love that type of stuff) I foolishly agreed. She asked if I took care of my hands. Thinking it a strange question and not quite catching the cut of her jib I informed her that I was clearly a male, poorly dressed (so not gay or metro), and like camping, so conclusively not. She took my hand and began scrubbing one of my fingers with some spongy thing. She then began to tell me about ridges causing broken nails (never been a problem) and dead cuticle skin (nothing teeth can't solve). Before I knew what had happened she had finished her speech and I could see my reflection in my nail. She then began to ask about my face and began to walk away fearing I was going to get make-up put on me next.
I eventually got out of the mall after being there almost an hour and half which is one hour and 28 minutes longer than I have ever been in a mall by myself before. The end result: no shoes, a new need for pants and shirts, lowered self esteem, and one finger nail that looks ready to go to prom. Oye Vey!