Tell a FriendLeigh AnneLeigh Anne Jasheway ~ Queen of Stress

Youíre Too Old to Shop Here

I used to be cool. Really. I used to wear funky clothes and stylish shoes. Now the only thing funky about my clothes is the way they smell. And these days, when it comes to my feet, I always choose comfortable over sexy. If only theyíd come out with a pair of sneakers with a sling back and open toe!


Just how uncool I am now was reinforced last week when, while shopping at a mall in my old hometown, I rediscovered the store that had been my favorite before I moved away eight years ago. This is the store where Iíd spent all my money on clothes when I was dating my husband and in the first years of our marriage. And he always thought I was very stylish. Of course, he thinks I can cook, too. So, perhaps, heís not a good judge of these things.


I was so happy to see that the store was still around and was just about to walk in, when I noticed something that stopped me dead in my tracks -- there was no one inside my age. In fact, Iím pretty sure the bra I was wearing that day was older than the most of the customers. And, from the looks of it, the salesclerk wasnít a day over seven and a half.

I had this feeling that if I crossed the doorway and went inside, alarms would go off and I would be escorted off the premises by burly security guards with nose rings and purple hair, charged with shopping outside my age group. Or the store manager would take one look at me and turn up the music really loud until I couldnít stand it and leave of my own volition. And if I did make it as far as the check-out counter, theyíd card me and giggle.


So I stood outside, my nose pressed up against the glass, drooling over the cool clothes like a kid outside a candy store. The seventeen year-old in me was dying for a pair of those lime green stretch pants and that hot pink Spandex cropped top. The thirty-five year-old in me knew Iíd look like The Jolly Green Giant wearing Britney Spearsí clothes. Then, the twenty-seven year-old in me chimed in: "Who says youíre too old for body-hugging capri pants and stomach-baring shirts? Just because other women are afraid to wear this kind of stuff shouldnít stop you! Come on, be a rebel! And why donít you get a tattoo while youíre at it!" Finally, the forty-three year-old pleaded, "Canít we get out of here? This is making me feel old. Anyway, I thought we were going to Cinnabon."

Itís not fair. Thereís arenít any clothing stores that cater to middle-aged women who canít decide how old they are at the moment!

Several of my personalities were ready to leave and chalk another thing up as "Things Iím Too Old For Now," along with bungee jumping, baton twirling, and getting into movies at the student rate. But my inner children and teens had a fit. After all, they whined, whereís the list of rules that says these things arenít "appropriate" for someone "our age?" Whatever that age may be. Is it, for example, wrong to bare your midriff if you have a C-section scar? Are denim overalls horribly off the mark, even if you donít have a daughter to pointedly tell you so in front of all her friends? Are you too old for an off-the shoulder t-shirt if youíre taking Gingko Biloba every day just to remember your phone number? And, if so, how do you explain Tina Turner?

In the end I did not go inside. I would have been too humbling an experience. And I have had too many of those lately. But I didnít just leave either. I waited patiently, pretending to be the older cousin of one of the girls inside. Then, as another gaggle of giggling youngsters was just about to go in, I gave them $100 to buy me a pair of those lime green pants, that pink cropped top, and, why not?, a yellow and orange floral miniskirt. I told them the stuff was for "a friend." Then I went over to wait by Sears so no one would suspect anything.

That night, as I unwrapped my illicit fashion purchases at home, I felt a little of the old spark again. I can too be cool. Even if I have to wear the miniskirt as a headband! Well, at least my husband will think so!

 
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