A short trip to the mall this afternoon led me to realize how frightened I am by musty, dimly-lit stores where their idea of customer service is, “Sup?”
I haven’t shopped at either Abercrombie or Hollister since around 16, when I discovered stores like Banana Republic and J.Crew, which don’t delineate rape culture. I’ll mark today’s unscheduled stop-in at both these stores as an indication of my growth as a person. Clearly at one point I must have thought these places were cool and could make me cool by association. At 22 they’re just pitiful and terrifying.
Here’s how the visits went down:
As I’m speeding through the mall, avoiding trouble with the local teen ruffians, I notice a trashy beach setting. The dried blood lettering tells me it’s Hollister. I haven’t stepped foot here in years and am understandably curious as to how I might feel about it nowadays. I go in, but not before I’m forced to walk on somebody’s porch.
I’m greeted by a popped-collar guy who guards what appears to be the surf brah sex dungeon. It feels like summer, if summer was an unventilated basement. I can’t hear myself think over the emotional, 15-year old white kid music. I make it about 30 paces in and come across a group of unruly preteens wearing high socks and snapback hats. It can’t be good for my serenity to even be in the same room as these mop-headed savages. I see my way out.
This petrifying stroll into the Hellhole that is Hollister has me wondering, “What’s the deal over at Abercrombie?” I audibly question this to myself in front of an attractive Latina who probably wants my body for sexual motives. She offers me pleasure, but I respectfully decline and continue walking.
I work my way over to “The Fitch,” as trendy young homosexuals are calling it. Unsurprisingly it’s even more terrifying than Hollister. The entire sale of clothing thing seems like one huge disguise. I’m fairly positive this is a dance club for adolescent gays who haven’t come out to their families yet. The overall atmosphere brings me to no other conclusion.
My flashlight is at home so I’m not able to see much. I can feel stale air and surrounding dampness. My respiratory system is having trouble functioning due to the overabundance of cologne flowing. All the male employees have faux-hawks and unwelcoming faces. The girls look like they have mean rich dads and well-stocked dick pic folders in their iPhones. I find myself, yet again, in a netherworld where I don’t belong.
What I witnessed today during my Abercrombie and Hollister experiences stirred up some serious self-reflection. How confused was I to have believed these places were cool? Granted, all teens are somewhat perplexed about their views and feelings towards everything. Despite that I still must have been a pompous little dick to sport this stuff. Admittedly, their clothing was different when I was young. It used to very preppy and what I thought to be hip. Now it looks like the result of prep-school attire impregnating urban fashion. I guess that’s what appeals to today’s privileged white kid market. They all kinda want to be street, but love their suburban white lifestyles.
I will no longer tolerate any negative talk about getting older. It’s magnificent, and modern day Abercrombie shopping showed me that.