I went to the mall yesterday BY MYSELF to go shopping for some clothes for my birthday for my husband and kids to wrap up and give to me because that's how we do things around here. Yes, I went alone, which really is a present in itself. I relish shopping alone while at the same time dislike it (is that possible?). I love being able to go at my own pace and where I want to, but I miss another person there to give me their opinion on what looks good. Yes, I realize I should know this myself, but what can I say, there are some instances in which I value other people's opinions more than my own and clothes are one of them. My mother is perfect to shop with. She always tells me the brutal honest truth about what I am putting on my body. (Don't all mothers?) Too small, too big, too ugly. Friends on the other hand are not always good to shop with, especially if you've all had a couple of drinks. I've bought things on some of my Girl's Weekend's that I looked at when I got home and thought, what the hell? But alone I have only my own eyes looking back in the mirror to gauge how things look. And really, the mirrors in those stores are usually trick, aren't they? But there I was alone and that was fine, except I realized that is has been kind of a long time since I went to a real mall. Sure, I shop. I go to the grocery store and Walmart all the time, but this is not shopping. I tend to do a lot of online shopping for stuff that the kids need. I love that I can pick out all of their clothes without them actually there, pulling on my arms and hiding in between the clothes racks, thinking at any minute they are going to dart away from me and I will have to flag down an employee to call a Code Adam. Much too exhausting.
So to get to the point the mall is a bit like a foreign country to me. I actually felt quite confused at times, disoriented really. I parked near Sears since I knew that if all else failed I would find some tops in the Lands End section, but I had faith and walked into the actual mall itself. Immediately my eyes dried out from the pumped in air and I didn't know which direction to turn. I saw a Steve & Barry store, which I'd heard about but never been in. I had been dying to check this store out because I knew Sarah Jessica Parker's clothes line was carried there (I saw her on Oprah of course) and everything is $8.98. So it's a bargain but the stuff is really cute. First I saw a whole wall of jeans, and really, for $8.98 who doesn't need a new pair of jeans? I felt excited. I started scanning the shelves. 0, 0, 2, 2, 2, 2. . . OK, look further down. 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, hmmmm . . . 6, 6, 6, 6 . . . getting disgruntled here. 16, 16, 16, 16, 16, 18, 18, 18, 20, 20, 22, 22, 22, 22. What the frick? I looked again, and I looked and I looked and I looked. There were absolutely no sizes between 6 and 16. As I went through the section I noticed a similar problem with most if not all of the pants & shorts. I decided to try on some tops, since that is what I really needed anyway. I grabbed some larges and XLs and headed to the dressing room. OK, large is quite small. Tight actually. That's OK, I have an extremely broad back and am used to this problem. On go the XLs, but something is wrong because they really don't seem a hell of a lot bigger than the Larges. Now, I know I'm not a skinny little thing. I'll be honest and admit that I am a size 12, and usually have to buy tops size L or XL, but this was ridiculous. I tried on a sweatshirt, a sweatshirt, and I couldn't even zip it. I wasn't going to be deterred though. I picked out some different tops, grabbing only XLs and went back to the dressing room. I put the first one on and it almost fell off, it was huge. The next, skin tight. The next, big. Basically I got totally frustrated and left that store in a mighty hurry. I needed new foundation so my next stop was CVS. I forced myself to NOT go into Gap Kids and The Children's Place on my way, which was hard because they both had big Sale! signs in the windows. It amazed me how much calmer I felt as soon as I stepped into CVS. Being surrounded by toiletries & cosmetics, snacks & cleaning products, I felt much more at home. At this point I realized I was out of my element and decided to just head back to Sears. I had a gift card anyway, even though it only had $7 left on it. Screw it. I felt better there and I can confirm that my trip was successful and I did manage to find 3 tops, 2 pairs of Capri's, a skirt and a sweatshirt that I didn't think I looked hideous in.
I have to admit that the mall does make for some good people watching. I definitely saw a strange assortment of characters, and way more teenagers than I would like to see at any one time, but there was one threesome (probably literally a threesome) that I have to mention. The guys looked about 18 or 19, skinny, not really cute or athletic or anything, but the girl! She was maybe 17, or could have been 14 for all I know. She was wearing a gray, skin tight, metallic tube dress. The dress had the same amount of material as one of Abbey's dresses. And high heeled sandals. And enough perfume to make my already dry eyes start to water. I mean, she looked like a hooker! Come to think of it, maybe she was a hooker. It was the mall, after all.