by Madeline Laughs
Entering the Mall via the Food Court entrance is a study in sociology.
As I’m walking up to the door I notice I am surrounded by teenagers. The smell of hormones and testosterone is thick and they’re all milling around one another like some kind of primordial mating ritual.
The young girls are wearing very tight, fashionable clothes and the boys are dressed in ripped shorts and shirts sporting hair that looks like it’s never been washed. Their brand of underpants is also readily apparent as all the boys have wiggled their pants down to within an inch of decency.
There is a difference between the young people milling at the door, or hanging around tables in the food court and the ones actually shopping, even though they’re all the same age. You can experience this difference by just sitting in a Food Court booth for about 20 minutes.
This is where I found myself this afternoon. I needed watch batteries. Three of them to be exact. After I haggled with the booth vendor about how I didn’t need a lifetime warranty as I didn’t believe he’d still be there in this same booth next month, I sat in the Food Court with a cold soda and waited the 20 minutes it was supposed to take to fix my three watches. From there I could also keep an eye on the Watch Vendor and be ready to bolt as soon as he finished my order.
I panned the room for interesting people and my eyes made their way back to the watch booth attendant. There leaning into his counter were two very young girls. They were giggling and touching his arm. They were so young they didn’t quite know how to act sexy without looking slutty. They hadn’t yet learned when to back it off a bit, to keep some mystery, and to allow the man to feel he was talking to a lady as well.
They looked to be about 13 years old, maybe 14. One of them was blond with hair hanging in strings wearing the shortest, tightest, see-thru, white shorts I have ever seen in public. They were literally in the crack of her butt. You could also tell she wasn’t wearing underpants. To top these beauties she was wearing a black spaghetti string tank top, sans bra. What parent let her leave the house like this? Her friend was covered up a whole lot more wearing a sleeved teeshirt and Bermuda shorts. Neither of them carried a handbag. The joy of being unencumbered at that age is very important. Or perhaps the parent dropped them off as a surrogate babysitting service with no money to spend.
They both were behaving skeevy.
The chubby watch battery perv was leaning in and giggling too. It probably wouldn’t have grossed me out so much if I hadn’t suspected this guy was at least thirty years old. Then suddenly, like birds taking flight, they both scurried away laughing to sit at a nearby table. This table was accommodating 4 young boys and another teenage girl. All of them dressed on the bitter edge of fashion and obviously without funds to really go wild at the A. Fitch./Hollister/American Eagle trio nirvana.
Much catching up with the boys at the table and turning to point at the Watch Perv and then more giggling incited. Watch Perv is watching, smiling, and pointing back. Then his eyes pan the Food Court and he catches my eye. Uh-oh! Busted goofing off by the “customer”. I don’t disappoint and give him major stinkeye and snarl. Yeah Watch Perv, I’m sitting here waiting for my dam batteries to be installed. Get on it!
Suddenly walking through the Food Court come the Mean Girls. I think Tori Amos called them out singing “those 9 inch nails and fascist panties stuck inside the mind of every young boy”. They are dressed to the nines and every article visible has a designer label glaring back at you. They all have handbags, but not just any handbag. They are sporting Coach, Gucci and Prada. Every hair is in place, showing pains taken that very morning with the hair dryer and the flat iron. Their cheeks are blushed and their eyelids glittered and each and every nail tip is polished to within an inch of it’s life. They waltz past in a cloud of Britney Spears cologne, cell phones glued to each ear, Ipod buds dangling around their tiny fake-tanned necks.
The Skeevy Girls watch them slyly out of the corners of their eyes. Not daring to move or breathe until these “girls” are safely out of reach they keep their heads down, pretending not to notice that the Food Court had just become a whole lot smaller.
The 4 boys at the table are like human-sized erections in bad clothes with eyes glowing and drool dripping.
The Mean Girls never even glance in their direction. Their arms are draped in shopping bags and they need a salad and a diet cola before the buying marathon commences.
Once they are at counters ordering their meals the Skeevy Girls take notice that their small boy-harem has turned it’s attention elsewhere…like say, the food counters. Much slapping of the arms and “I can’t believe you’s!!” and “What’re you starrin’ at jerkoff?!” commences.
This is just one incident, there were a few more I captured. The slightly overweight girl wearing the Hollister tee with pride that notices the Skeevy table and sidesteps, then double-takes on the Mean Girls and makes a hard right turn completely away from the Food Court. She’s not in either caste and evidently has no desire to be scrutinized while she enjoys the lunch she was day dreaming about. Perhaps she’ll come back later for sustenance?
Then there were the two Metros at the ChickFilet counter. The cool Asian dude with about a cup of product in his hair so it sticks straight up. I’ll bet if you smacked your hand down hard on top of his head you’d come back with thousands of tiny hair-sized puncture wounds. His friend has freshly hi-lited blond tips on his Brad Pitt ‘do. His jeans were pressed and his teeshirt looked perfect, no stains, no rips. They were both admiring each other fashions “I like your shoes dude. Where’d you get them?” “Oh, they’re Vans dude.” They preened and laughed awkwardly, shuffled their feet, talked about what was on sale at A. Fitch. Awkward, teenage flirtation with the forbidden fruit. They seemed so in love with themselves! Or are they in love with each other? I wasn’t sure.
Yes, this was a breed revisited for me this afternoon…the Mall Rats.
Ah, to have made it through my teenage years of angst and to have left behind the smelly body odor of fear, self loathing and uncertainty of my future or worth in this world. To have emerged a smelly, not so much self loathing, slightly overweight and sometimes insecure adult who could give a Mall Rat’s ass what anyone thinks of her.
Yes, we are all Mall Rats deep inside our souls. We all dip our heads in order to block out the things in life we desire most and know we might never have. We all long for the best, the brightest and the most expensive. We want to be included. We want to be noticed. We want to be different, unique and we still want to be the same as everyone else.
We just want to fit in.
- The Food Court (consultkeith.com)
- went to food court (jihannadhira.wordpress.com)
- You Didn’t Want to Know This: Mall Food Court Trays Dirty as a Toilet (geardiary.com)
- Mall food court? – “Ramen for the ‘Famen'” (bokuchoi.wordpress.com)