Before I get into this, I already know your first response that that title. “Then don’t go to the mall,” you might say. Well sometimes you have to – especially when it is less than a 10 minute drive from your house. The problem is that when you have to buy something like shoes, the only right way to do it is go to as many stores you can in the shortest amount of time. One store may have the shoe you want but not your size. Another store may have plenty of stock but it’s all low end Sketchers. In order to hit as many stores as possible in the least amount of time you have to go to the mall. And it sucks, especially when …wait for it….
When You Are A Single Adult (and awkward) Male
1. There are so many people!
When you are flying solo, nothing is more annoying than everyone else who is just casually hanging around or shopping and generally having a good time. I’m trying to get my shoes and get out of there as fast as humanly possible, so when I’m met with lines and slow-moving groups of shoppers, I have to walk around them sometimes darting in and out of the entrances of stores due to choke points in the walking path. Or worse, you get stopped all together and realize you are a lone man stopped in front of the Disney store and now getting dirty looks from over-cautious moms. In any case it’s best to keep moving and fast. Of course you look really lame when you do this. I know I look exactly like the kid in high school that walked as fast as he could between classes so he could avoid every living soul in the hallway. So here I am, in this easy-going, casual, shopping center walking full tilt because I can’t stop thinking about how much time I’m wasting. But it doesn’t matter how fast or slow I walk because…
2. There is no acceptable distance to be from the people walking around you.
This goes back to the whole single and awkward thing. If you walk really close to someone, it feels weird because you aren’t with them and as soon as that slow moving group realizes you are entering their personal space there is an odd shuffle of “geez is he going to pass us or is he some kind of creep?” If you keep a couple of feet of distance behind someone they can sense you! Then they feel like they are being followed. And if you walk really far away from everyone then the people passing you going the other direction have way too much time to observe and silently judge you. And you can’t do anything about that because…
3. You can’t look at anyone.
Grown men shouldn’t be in the mall by themselves. It’s just not what we do. Everyone knows this and it’s exactly why you can’t make eye contact with anyone. If your eyes meet up with some other guy, it’s basically a challenge – a challenge for what, I’m not really sure, but it should be avoided at all costs.
You can’t look at girls either. There are 4 reasons. 1 – if the girl is young you look like a creep. 2 – If she’s close to your age you look like a perv. 3 – If she’s older than you she’ll begin to psycho analyze why you are (still) alone. 4 – If you look at a girl and didn’t notice her boyfriend right there, you can be sure he saw you look at her (again with the whole challenge thing). I’m not talking about “checking out” girls, I’m talking about simply looking at them. Don’t do it. 50% of the people at the mall are doing just that – checking each other out. But there are no official indicators letting anyone know that you are just looking at people and not checking them out. They appear the same. And if you aren’t looking at people you are looking at giant posters of half-naked women who seem to get younger and younger – so again…you are a perv.
AND you can’t look at store employees because as soon as they realize you don’t have a person that you can talk to as a way to respectfully ignore their sales advances they are like sharks smelling blood in the water.
It’s best to just keep your head down and try not to notice that…
4. Everything smells terrible.
Why am I smelling stores long before I enter them? That’s repulsive. Like the awkward teenager that never figured out what moderation was when applying AXE body spray these stores are making the strangest impression on those who are just passing by trying to find a size 10 Chucks. You know what smells better than all of those fragrances? Nothing. Smelling nothing is better than smelling those things.
5. All that walking…
I don’t really remember this being an issue in the past, but now when I go to the mall I want to get done as quickly as possible not just because I’m a guy and that’s how we shop, but because I know the more I have to actually shop to get what I want the more I have to walk and walk and walk. And I get tired out! It’s weird because I see all these people just aimlessly moving about the mall and I think they’ve got to be crazy. They are wearing themselves out and they aren’t even going to buy anything!
6. Fitting rooms are terrifying.
First of all, having to ask a young gal to let you in a repurposed port-a-potty to try on the latest pair of low-rise boot cut jeans (and subsequently feeling too old to be in that store in the first place) is its own digression concerning awkwardness. But have you ever seen how she “checks” to see if anyone is occupying the room she’s about to give you? She simultaneously knocks, unlocks, and opens the door in a matter of about 1 second. Now if you are an awkward single adult male like me, you’ve been walking the mall for some deal of time without saying a word which means the next time you speak your voice isn’t going to be ‘awake.’ You’ll probably be caught off guard, stutter, or choke on the dryness of you own throat. So when I go into a dressing room, I have this fear that the cute employee is going to forget seconds later that she let me into my room and begin the checking ritual and of course I won’t say anything in time and then everyone in the dressing room is going to get a quick peek at me one leg into the aforementioned boot cut jeans.
Tonight, I was in Macy’s and noticed they had a Star Wars tshirt and since I’m not quite nerdy enough, I thought I’d try it on. I went into the dressing room where there was no attendant, occupied a room, closed the door and then locked….nope I didn’t lock it because the lock didn’t work. I would’ve gone into another room, but all the rooms were full of the clothes that people tried on and then didn’t want, but because there were other people in the area trying on clothes and probably showcasing them to their girlfriends I was afraid to going into a room that someone’s real clothes were in and how odd that would be. Seriously, why do I even go out in public? I’ve never tried on a shirt so quickly in my life.
7. Aside from the shopping and avoiding human contact, the only thing you can do to occupy your mind at the mall is think about writing it all down in a blog that nobody reads. This will ensure that you won’t talk to anyone and everyone will assume correctly that there’s a reason you are alone at the mall in the first place.
See what I did there?