Turned 44 over the summer. After spending a day shopping with the wife over the weekend I feel 84.
I needed some new jeans. (Hey, it’s been five years. Even the most stubborn amongst us have a breaking point.) So where does she take me? To Frisco’s Stonebriar mall and the joint with the Hierarchy of Hotness.
I can now totally relate to A&F’s sad-sack employees feeling all not hot, because after being in there for, oh, about 17 seconds I felt like the Michelin Man. Everywhere you look there is, let’s face it, soft-core porn. Photos of half-naked, barely legal dudes with washboard abs and jeans sagging way below their hips. Photos of half-naked, barely legal girls with buttercup booties and supple breasts peeking out from under strategically placed hands. All somehow pulsating to rhythmic, freestyle music from the “People Over 22 and/or 130 Pounds Suck Ass” soundtrack.
Even in the changing room! C’mon, man. After looking at myself in the mirror and comparing the vision of my superfluous physique to those svelte pics, I didn’t want to buy jeans, I wanted to dash over to supper time at Golden Corral so I could feel relatively Charles Atlas.
The scary part: A&F was serene and manageable compared to Hollister. That store is tinier than Hitler's heart.
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It's also dark. Cramped. Loud. Chaotic. Maze-y. And jammed full of teens, pre-teens and tweens doing nothing and doing it really fast and really loud and really fast. It must have been what Ms. Pacman felt like when all the blobs started blinking. Or that guy in that episode of The Twilight Zone where he’s trapped in black-and-white slow motion in a normal-speed, colorized world. (Who am I kidding? Every episode is like that.)
Full disclosure: I succumbed (actually, my wife succumbed me) and bought some A&F jeans. Even got the privilege of paying extra for the pre-fab rips.
But then I went home, slipped into my paint-stained shorts, moth-eaten T-shirt and plopped on the couch with a cheeseburger and the Olympics.
Take that, younger, hotter people! -- Richie Whitt