Mall Musings

Static Electricity Ball at the St. Louis Magic...
Static Electricity Ball at the St. Louis Magic House (Photo credit: AdrienneMay)

I don’t understand the aesthetic that governs the catwalk model. The last several weeks, I’ve spent time in a public mall lounge in front of Target, waiting for Alex to get finished with his theater practice. In this lounge they’re playing a video of women modeling what we’re presumably supposed to be wearing this season. But I have trouble focusing on the clothes because of the women. For one thing, they all look like they’re grinding their hip joints to smithereens. It just can’t be good for the body to walk that way. Then there’s the hairstyles. Some of them are fine, but some of them look like they walked over to one of those fun-house electric balls, put their hands on it, and started spraying the hair into place.

But the real puzzler for me is the blank expression, the eyes fixed on nothing, straight in front of the face. Like they’re supposed to look as miserable as possible while wearing these super-expensive clothes. How is that supposed to make me want to buy the clothes? I want to jump into the TV and yell “boo,” just to see if they’re real people or robots.

People watching at the mall is interesting on a Saturday morning. So many couples wandering the hallways together, carrying insulated foam cups, wearing smart, stylish outfits. So many double strollers with carriers in them. Are there really that many twins now? It can’t all be natural, it must be fertility treatments, right? What have we done to ourselves to cause this epidemic of women’s bodies that won’t do what they’re created to do?

Of course, there are plenty of people wearing sweats, too. That brings me to an interesting observation. I first noticed the phenomenon when we went to the Lantern Festival in August. I dressed carefully–for comfort. I knew we were going to be walking around in 100 degree temperatures for hours. So I was astonished at the number of women who came that evening dressed in gorgeous sundresses, their hair styled in sheets to hang down their back. But the guys? The guys accompanying these women were slobs, every one. Sloppy t shirts, frayed jeans shorts, worn-out sandals.

I saw it again last week driving to writers’ group on campus: a college-age girl in a slinky black mini dress, long boots, sparkly pantyhose, walking with her (presumed) boyfriend, who was wearing paint-splattered sweat shorts and a triple-X sweatshirt.

Now, I know boys don’t, as a rule, like to dress up, but really? There’s a difference between “casual” and “slob.” But then again, it’s like pulling teeth finding nice casual clothes for boys. Alex doesn’t much care for getting dressed up in a suit for church, so I try to have nice polo shirts and khakis in his closet so he can go semi-dressed. But it can be hard to find that kind of clothing for boys. The girls’ sections are packed with cute clothes in various levels of dressiness, but the boys’ sections are overrun with what we would have called skater clothes in high school.

Oh, dear. I’m becoming an old fogey. Oh, let’s face it. I was born an old fogey.