Every time I hang out with my sister, she always greets me the same way. It's not "hey" or "What's up?" or "How are you?" It's "I got you that shirt!"
That always happens to be the case because she has purchased 90 percent of my wardrobe. The other 10 percent is from my mom. In fact, outside of a couple of hoodies and gym shorts, I don't think I've bought a single article of clothing in my life.
Why is this? Well, my story begins in my early collegiate days. I had major issues talking to girls as a freshman and sophomore at Penn State. I'd approach one at a frat or apartment party, and the conversation would always go the same way.
College Chick: Hey.
Me: Who do you know at this party?
College Chick: I have a boyfriend.
They all had boyfriends. Every single female at Penn State was in a relationship. It was remarkable. At first I thought it was a coincidence, and I would vent about it to my freshman roommate on our walk back to our all-male dorm (the only all-male dorm on campus, to my knowledge, and those f***ers stuck me in it). However, I would eventually come to realize that most of these women were using the boyfriend excuse to get out of talking to me.
All of the women at these parties talked to the same type of dudes - the ones who wore cool clothes from Abercrombie & Fitch, Hollister, etc. Thus, my roommate and I started calling these people "Abercrombie & Fitch's A**holes & B***hes," though I think both of us would have killed to be an Abercrombie A**hole so we could bang a Fitch B***h.
Several years later, however, my sister began working at Hollister. She would always buy stuff for me because she'd get a discount. At first I resisted. "I don't want to wear gay clothes (not that there's anything wrong with that) from a company that refers to guys as �dudes' and girls as �bettys!'" I insisted. But my sister wouldn't have it. Soon, everything I owned was from Hollister. With these new clothes and some new-found confidence stemming from switching my major to computer science to journalism - think there were more girls to talk to in my new classes? - I quickly became an Abercrombie (or Hollister) A**hole myself. Or so I thought.
My sister eventually stopped working at Hollister, but since I had so many clothes from that store, I figured more wouldn't hurt. So, I decided to go in one day. I wanted some new khaki shorts, but it took me forever to find them because the place was like a labyrinth. It seemed like 10 minutes, but I finally stumbled upon them. I grabbed two, when it dawned on me that I should probably look at the price tag. I was expecting $15, maybe $20, but my eyes popped out of my head when I learned that they were $50 each.
"F*** this, I'm out of here!" I shouted. I then proceeded to find the exit. Well, I at least tried to. The labyrinthine design of the store had me going in circles, and every new section had the same surfer-looking dude - a tall, skinny guy with spiky hair and scrawny shoulders. He'd look at me and go "Sup bro?" I "Sup broed" each of them back, but I eventually felt too claustrophobic to do so because I was trapped in this maze.
I closed my eyes and just ran in a straight line, hearing "Sup bro?" echoing all around me. And just like that, I made it out of the store. I have no idea how I did it, but I escaped from Hell.
I vowed then never to go into a clothing store ever again, and that is why almost every article of clothing I own has been purchased by someone else.
Flash forward to a few weekends ago. I was hanging out with my girlfriend, who wanted to go to the mall. Unlike most guys, I enjoy the mall because it's easy to find tons of jerk there to write about. However, I was hesitant once she told me that she had to buy some clothes and shoes. I wondered if I would get lost again, but I figured it was OK because I was with someone this time.
As it turns out, it was definitely OK - in fact, it was awesome. Not only was I able to gather a great amount of writing material; I also learned a key life lesson.
Store 1: Little Girls and Biker Shorts:
I've never realized how many clothing stores there are at the mall. There are 500 of them. Literally 500.
I just don't get why there are so many. I figured maybe one or two would suffice, but why does every other store need to be for clothes? Aren't they all the same, anyway? By that way of thinking, why aren't there 500 video game stores? Sure, they'd all sell the same thing, but isn't that what clothing stores essentially do?
I honestly can't remember what these stores were called except for H&M, where we went first. I have no idea what H&M stands for, but I imagine that they ripped off the name from M&M - the delicious candy; not the charlatan rapper from the suburbs who pretends he's a thug - which is just wrong. At the very least, they should sell M&Ms in the store along with clothes. How great would that be? While my girlfriend was buying clothes, I could have been devouring M&Ms. I think that's every man's dream.
Anyway, we weren't in the store for two minutes when this black girl (around 12 years old) ran past us. Seconds later, two white girls, about the same age, ran in her direction, as they apparently were chasing after her.
Now, I know what you're thinking. Yes, the white girls had no chance of catching the black chick because the latter is more athletic. What, that's racist? Against us slow white people, maybe. And I'm white, so I can't be racist against my poor-dancing people, so let's move on.
There was actually nothing malicious here, if you're wondering. They may have been playing tag or something because they were all laughing gleefully as the two white girls hopelessly tried to catch the black chick. This was all rather annoying though. They were knocking stuff over and bumping into people. One nearly ran into me, and I had to use this juke maneuver to get out of her way. And being an old, fat man, this was extremely taxing on my body, so I was fatigued for hours.
My girlfriend asked if we should say something to them, but I was more worried about one of the store workers - a short, pudgy guy with wavy hair. What stood out were these weird biker shorts he was wearing. They were shorter and tighter than most biker shorts, and it was just wrong to see that much leg on a man - especially a store employee. I imagine the manager would've told him to change if it was wrong to wear something like that, but because this guy was gay, it must have been in style.
How do I know he was gay? Well, the fact that he kept leering at me was an indication. He also licked his lips once, almost as a sign that he wanted to French kiss me. Coincidentally enough, that's more action than I got in my first couple of years at college.
As we were leaving the store, I noticed a yellow puddle around where the girls were running and the biker-shorts guy was folding clothes. One of the girls may have peed her pants, but I'm willing to bet it was the gay guy, who wanted to show me he was into watersports.
Unfortunately for this pervert, I am straight. I also happen to be in a relationship. And unlike the Fitch b***hes I talked to at Penn State, I'm telling the truth.
Store 2: The Lifer and the Airhead:
As I said, I only remember the H&M name. I have no idea what the second store was called, but my girlfriend needed leggings. My back was already giving out - I wasn't kidding about being an old, fat man - so I decided to sit down while my girlfriend looked around for stuff.
Fortunately, I was able to eavesdrop on a conversation between two of the female store employees. One was a super-skinny white chick in her early 20s. The other, a black girl, was probably in her late 20s. The latter was obviously folding clothes more quickly because of the athleticism factor I mentioned earlier. Sorry about being racist against white folk again, by the way.
Here's how their conversation went:
Black Girl: You going to college?
White Girl: Nah, I'm just going to work here.
Black Girl: You really should go.
White Girl: Nah, this is my future.
Black Girl: Really?
White Girl: Yeah! I have it all planned out! I'm going to work 36 hours here per week until I get married!
Black Girl: Why 36 instead of 40?
White Girl: Because I'm going to use those four extra hours to go to the gym!
Wow. The black girl was thinking the same thing I was because she just shook her head. First of all, what kind of a plan is that? Was this white chick aware that people work 40-plus hours per week and still find time to go to the gym? What was she doing in her spare time that she needed to shave off four hours of her work week to run on the treadmill? And second, she was so damn skinny that she didn't need to go to the gym. She should spend four hours per week eating at KFC to beef up a little.
Amazingly, this girl wasn't the dumbest person at the store. That happened to be the cashier - a white chick in her mid-20s who would have been attractive if she didn't have billions of freckles all over her face.
I can't recall how this came up in the conversation, but my girlfriend said something about not being able to wear a particular article of clothing because it was too cold outside. This prompted the following exchange:
Cashier: OMG YA LIKE I KNOW I WANT WARM WEATHER AND STUFF YA KNOW!
Girlfriend: Yeah, it's been way too cold.
Cashier: YA I KNOW, LIKE COME ON WARM WEATHER WHERE ARE YOU AT LIKE YA KNOW!
Girlfriend: It feels like we're gonna get snow every week until May!
Cashier: OMG YA LIKE I KNOW WHAT IS UP WITH THIS SNOW I LIKE WANT WARM WEATHER AND STUFF LIKE YA KNOW!
Me: Yeah, the hotter the better for me. I want it to be 90 degrees.
Cashier: OMG YA LIKE THAT WOULD BE AWESOME AND STUFF LIKE YA KNOW!
Girlfriend: Ehh, I don't like when it's that hot!
Cashier: OMG YA LIKE SERIOUSLY I LIKE HATE THE HOT WEATHER AND STUFF LIKE YA KNOW!
I'm not exaggerating this at all. She sounded extremely ditzy, and she managed to contradict herself within seconds. She made the 36-hour work week girl look like a genius, which is a remarkable feat.
Store 3: Plastic Trees
The third store - I once again can't remember the name - was smaller. My girlfriend had to buy a couple of belts, so she grabbed them and went to the cashier. We happened to be standing next to this fat woman, who was complaining about the store not having a belt that fit around her waist.
"We'll order one your size, and we could actually have it delivered to your house with our online store," one of the employees assured her. The fat woman probably wondered if she could order a dozen hamburgers along with her belt. Now there's another great idea for a store: Clothes and Hamburgers!
At any rate, the cashier at this store was even dumber than the one at the preceding outlet. She didn't talk like a ditz, but she said something completely stupid.
Cashier: OK, $40 is your total. Let me just put these in a bag for you...
Girlfriend: Oh, it's OK. I have this plastic bag here from the other stores.
Cashier: Oh, that's good that you're saving the environment!
Girlfriend: With a plastic bag?
Cashier: Oh, plastic is bad for the environment? Is it because they're tearing down all of the plastic trees?
Cashier: Oh, do plastic bags not come from plastic trees?
Girlfriend: Have a nice day!
My girlfriend and I quickly exited the store as the cashier pondered whether or not plastic bags were made from torn-down plastic trees in some sort of plastic rain forest.
You know, I'm beginning to have zero regrets about my first couple of years of college. These apparently were the Fitch b***hes I was missing out on. Had I known this, I'd be the one telling them I was in some fake relationship.