I Think I Left My Self Esteem at the Mall

So yesterday I took the entire day off to hang out with my son, who is not quite 14.  I told him that we could do whatever he wanted to do - the day belonged to him.  He said he wanted to go out to lunch.  I figured as much.  He also wanted to check out the latest "G.I. Joe" movie.  That would not have been my first choice, but what the heck.  It was his day after all and there were cute guys and some fighting and car chases.  I could roll with that.  But I was more than a little worried about what he would want to do beyond eating and movie watching.

Most of his friends at this age would have picked from the following: bowling, arcade, paint ball, laser tag, go-karts, golfing, etc.  Not my kid.  He does like those activities, but only with a large group of friends.  And since all of his friends went out of town for Spring Break, something I have heard repeated approximately 2,492 times, it was going to just be the two of us.  And what did he choose?  The mall!

That kid would walk the mall all day, every day.  He knows the layout of every mall in the tri-county area.  As a matter of fact, he already chatted up the staff at Foot Locker, Finish Line and Athlete's Foot because he's determined to get a job when he turns 16.  At the rate he's going with the new clothes, he'll need one!

So he wasn't in the mood to actually buy anything.  He just wanted to walk around, look at things, maybe try a few things on.  You know ~ get the sales people all excited and then tick them off because they're left with a bunch of crap that has to be put away.  But hey, it was his day and if that's what he wanted to do, so be it.  It sure beat putting all that stupid equipment on to get pummeled by colored paint balls.

Now you have to understand that I'm not a big fan of the mall.  And here's why:

1.  While I used to LOVE the candle stores, I can't buy them anymore because our family went green and now we can't tolerate any of that.  And my husband doesn't appreciate it when I try to make the bathroom smell like vanilla after he's done his business in there.  He says it's just all kinds of wrong.

2.  The cute stores that sell purses and jewelry and fake hair extensions are filled with girls my son's age.  They gather in groups of 3 or more and won't let you get past them.  So then, when you try to be all "I'm an adult, get the hell out of the way", displays get knocked over.  And then your 13 year old son spends the next hour pretending he has no idea who you are.

3.  Stores that sell sunglasses want astronomical prices for said sunglasses.  If I drop $125 on a pair, it's a sure fire bet that they'll never make it home because I will have lost them or figured out a way to break them.  The cheap $10 pair I picked up at the gas station last summer, however, would survive being run over by my car.

4.  Spencer's.  No explanation here other than to say a mom in this store with her 13 year old son is every kind of uncomfortable you can imagine.

5.  Shoe stores used to be awesome, fun places to hang out.  But now, I get comments like "oh ma'am, I think it's so cool that you wear Vans at your age".  While my son was trying on some Supra Hyper Dunks (whatever the hell those are) I was trying on a pair of Converse All Stars.  The kid actually asked me if I was "sure" I wanted to try those on when maybe he could interest me in a pair of "these".  These happened to be a pair of white sneakers that looked like orthopedic nursing shoes.  I sure hope my son doesn't piss off middle aged women when he starts working.  Not that many of them will be in the market for Air Jordan's but that's not really the point is it?  Middle aged women carry purses.  You know?  With money?

6.  Clothing stores.  When you are going through menopause, you don't feel like anything fits, looks good, matches what's in your closet, is worth the money, etc.  And of course, we hit every stinkin' clothing store in 2 malls.  It went something like this:

Me:  Holy cow it's hot in here.  Do they have the heat on?

Son:  Mom, it's not hot.  It's just your menopause thing that you're going through.  Take off the hoodie.

Me:  I can't take the hoodie off in the store because my shirt might ride up.  And nobody wants to see that!

Son:  I'll agree but if it gets you to stop bitching (sorry Mom, I mean complaining) about the heat that doesn't exist, I'll guard you while you take it off and even hold it for you.

His offer made up for the swearing.

The stores were filled with high school girls and boys and college girls and boys and I felt all kinds of judgement coming from their direction.  While my teen looked on the guy's side of the stores, I looked at the girl's side.  And you know what?  These clothes are for girls -  not middle aged women who are trying to hold onto their last shred of youth.

A very cute, very perky, very annoying girl came up to me in the store and literally eyed me from head to toe.  I tried to stand a little taller and appear confident.  "Ma'am, can I help you find something?"  

"She's just doing her job, just doing her job" I told myself.

"Thank you, but I'm just looking for something for my daughter.  I'll let you know if I need anything".

And just as I looked across the store, I met eyes with my son who was mouthing the word, "liar", and grinning from ear to ear.  See, my daughter is only 24 but just had a baby and isn't any more in the market for size XS than I am at the moment!!

So we go into the very last store of our trip.  My son, God Bless Him, asks me, "do they have a section here for, you know, women?"  Yes, son.  Yes they do.  And thanks for reminding me that I'm no longer hip enough or small enough to shop in the Juniors section.

When I saw the signs advertising 50% and 60% off Spring clothes, I was determined to find something, anything, that would fit me.  If I had to sit through that movie and go to all his favorite  stores, I was getting something out of this deal.  I decided that I wanted a pair of the cute capri pants that were on sale.  They were all laid out on a table and I began the search for my size.

So my son asked if he could help me find what I was looking for.  But it never occurred to me that my son has absolutely no idea what size I wear.  And although he either a) sincerely wanted to help me or b) wanted to get out of the mall before I had a meltdown, I was not going to tell him that.  So he excused himself to go hang out on his phone for a while.
I searched and searched and FINALLY found a pair of cute capris in my size.  Now, onto the jeans.  Each time I would find a pair in my size, I could hear my son's voice in my head asking, "Mom, do you really want that pattern on your butt?  I mean, you're a mom.  It's not a good look for you."  So I would search some more.  "Is it hot in here?"
Finally, a saleslady (who wasn't 12) came over to help me.  I know this was pure torture for my son but I was determined to leave this mall with something cute and fun that was 50% off dammit!!
As luck would have it, the nice saleslady was showing me things that my 83 year old grandmother wore when she just didn't feel like getting dressed.
Saleslady:  How about this dear?
Me:  No, I don't think that one is me.
Saleslady:  I bet it looks good ON.
Me:  On what?  On fire??
The good news is that I actually did find 2 pairs of cute pants that are age appropriate and were a great bargain.  And my poor son lived to tell the tale.  I asked him if he enjoyed his day and he thought for a second and said, "can I get a Chillata from the Cinnabon store?"  What the hell?  Make it two.
Next time, we're going to go play paint ball.  That kind of torture I'm equipped to handle.

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