A Day at The Mall, 80’s Style

Everything felt perfect the time that I came home for a weekend after spending my summer working at Cedar Point. I had spent the past three months working outside in the sun, walking, not sleeping enough, and keeping myself too busy to eat regular meals.  I had a great tan, over-bleached hair, and I had lost a lot of weight; I’d even gone shopping with my summer roommate and splurged on the kind of trendy outfit I had never really dared wear before.

And that’s pretty much where things started to go wrong.

It was the late 1980’s, so that was a big part of the problem from a fashion standpoint. The outfit was from The Limited, and the pants were made by Forenza, which speaks volumes right there. They were high-waisted, poufy in all the wrong places, pegged at the ankles, and utterly hideous by today’s standards. The shirt was Flashdance-inspired, designed to slip off my shoulder at regular intervals, and the shirt hem barely reached the waistband of the pants. So it wasn’t quite midriff-baring, but about as close as this little chunky monkey was willing to go.

And the hair. Oh, lord, the 80’s were cruel. I had the scrunchies and banana clips, and I had an older sister in beauty school at the time, so I was the queen of the plastic-cap frost job. For those of you too young to remember this particular look, it involved sitting in a beautician’s chair for hours while a blossoming young sadist yanked strands of hair through a plastic cap with a tiny metal crochet hook that was more than capable of drawing blood. Trust me, I think I probably needed a transfusion or two after some of those frost jobs.

Then, while the scalp was stinging and smarting and the unwitting victim client was just beginning to think the worst was over, the stylist would come back with a bowl of pure bleach mixed with 40-volume developer to slap on over top of the plastic cap, where it would seep through to the already-tortured scalp. The results usually included excruciating pain and a highlight with glow-in-the-dark whiter-than-white stripes of crispy fried cotton candy that was once hair. Which we then teased and back-combed to gravity-defying heights and glued in place with a few quarts of Aqua-Net.

So, on my weekend home, I decided that I just had to go to the mall because I looked so damn good. I didn’t really need anything, but we didn’t go to malls in the 80’s because we needed to buy things.  Malls were the malt-shops of the 80’s.  They were the place where teens went to meet up with other teens.

Hey, I was looking hot. I parked my big sister’s powder blue 1974 Chevy Impala outside the entrance between Olga’s Restaurant and the Hit or Miss, and I strutted my way into the mall. First, I sat down on the bench just outside the entrance, ostensibly to look for something in my purse but really just to give the world another chance to look at me.

I strutted my stuff all over that mall, and believe me, this was not stuff that should have been strutting.  People were smiling at me; some of them even turned to look at my butt. I walked past my old high school crush, and even he turned to check out my butt. Can I get a Woot!woot!

Oh, come on, girls, admit it. We all dream of the day that someone, somewhere, somehow, through whatever form of delusion necessary, thinks we have a nice butt. Come on.

That day, I really believed I had a great butt. Hell, I had a great everything. I was tan and blonde and trendy, and I was thin (for me, anyway). I was the bomb. I was hot shit.  To use one of my ex-husband’s favorite sayings, I thought I was the cat’s ass.

And then the wheels came off the wagon.

I had gone into The County Seat to check out a new pair of Zena baggies (don’t ask) when a kind saleslady finally took pity on me and pulled me aside. “Excuse me, honey,” she said quietly, “you have something . . . er . . . hanging.”

I hurried over to the three-way mirror and there it was: a deep, dark, chocolate-brown wad of tape, wedged into the butt-seam of my nice new Forenza pants. I must have sat on it when I sat on the bench before entering the mall.

It looked like a giant turd. A big ol’ dingleberry.

I wasn’t the cat’s ass; I had something from the cat’s litterbox hanging from my butt.

I yanked the wad of tape out of my crack and left the store without a thank-you, good-bye, or pair of Zena baggies.  I rushed out to the powder blue Chevy Impala and went home, vowing to never return to Crossroads Mall ever again.

Malls aren’t the same now, and I live too far out in the country to go to them very often any more. But on those rare occasions when I do make it back to Crossroads Mall, I refuse to enter unless my shopping companion does a quick butt-check for me.

“Tell me,” I’ll demand. “Is there anything hanging out of my butt-crack?”

“You know,” my friends will invariably tell me, “you really need to come into town more often.”

This a Finish The Sentence Friday post: “Everything felt perfect the time that..’” As always, our host is the lovely Kristi . Today’s guest hosts are Michelle  of Crumpets and Bollocks and Kerri  of (Un)diagnosed and Still Ok and Jessica Lee. Please check out their blogs to see what some of the other bloggers have done with this week’s prompt. 


I recently missed out on a chance to chaperone a school field trip for my Little Man, but talking about it with the other parents put me in a bit of a nostalgic mood that suddenly reminded me of one of my more memorable mommy moments.

My oldest son, The Dark Prince, was in first grade.  I had signed up to help chaperone a trip to the zoo, and this particular child of mine has always loved going to zoos, so I was very excited.  When we arrived, however, I noticed a  . . . sound.

At first, I thought it was construction equipment of some sort.  Then I thought that perhaps it was some sort of animal in pain, but I thought the noise was too rhythmic to be an animal.  It was somewhere between a groan and a grunt, and it was loud.  Very loud.  It was almost familiar, and yet . . . strange.

For the record, I’d like to mention the fact that I had never really put much thought into the reproductive habits of the Giant Tortoise before that day.  But I am here to tell you that they do it loudly.  And enthusiastically. And it takes them a long time to finish.

By the time I realized where the noise was coming from, my child and I were staring at two very happy, horny Tortoises humping away as if their lives depended upon it.  We were surrounded by other open-mouthed parents and children, gazing in horrified wonder but unable to look away.  One of the other parents finally ventured an opinion that perhaps the Tortoises were fighting and we should leave them to fight it out in private.  That theory spread quickly, and it seemed that the need for an emergency Sex-Ed course had been narrowly averted.

But nobody bargained on my son voicing an opinion.

“Mom,” he said slowly. “Mom, I don’t think those turtles are fighting, are they?”

What could I say?  The child had spent enough time around the cows at his grandmother’s place to understand a bit about baby animals and how they are made.  He was suspicious, and he expected me to tell him the truth.

“No, Honey, they’re not,” I told him.  “You know how sometimes Mommy and Daddy hold hands?  Or sometimes you walk into the room and catch us kissing? Well, that’s pretty much all that’s going on here.  Those big Tortoises are just cuddling in their own way, just showing each other how much they love each other.”

Not bad, right?  I was cheering inwardly, congratulating myself on being a great parent.  Outstanding, right?  I was so proud of the way I had handled the question with honesty in the most age-appropriate terms I could have used.

But as I said, nobody bargained on my son.

He understood what I said.  Understood it a little too well.  He turned to his friends and made an announcement at the top of his little lungs.  “My mom just told me what those turtles are doing!” he called out to everyone at the zoo (or so it seemed).  “I know exactly what they are doing right now, and it’s nothing to worry about.  My mom and dad do it all the time.”

I think we all know why I haven’t been asked back to chaperone in many, many years.