Last week, I did the unthinkable: I visited Square One, Canada’s most trafficked mall – on a Friday night.
Now normally I wouldn’t undertake such a perilous mission, but I had a Fisher-Price photo shoot on Saturday (I’m one of their newest bloggers! More about that later) and the instructions were to bring a variety of outfits that reflected “me”. So, of course I went out to buy several outfits that reflected a much more fabulous version of me (I didn’t think they’d be impressed with yoga pants and graphic tees).
Well, it goes without saying that the mall was PACKED. We circled around the parking lot at least three times before we found a suitable parking spot for those travelling with two babes and a double stroller. As we walked to the entrance, I sighed in frustration – crowded along the doors were about 6 teens, all shouting unintelligible phrases save for the word ” F–K” which I counted at least 10 times in 20 seconds.
Teenagers scare me.
Now I’m not exactly sure when I turned from a 30-something into a finger-waving, disapproving-frown-wearing crotchety old woman, but I think it happened around the same time I traded “being seen” at the mall for “shopping” there instead.
Anyhoo, I made the following observations of teenage-ism while popping in and out of stores:
1. As mentioned before, the overuse (and misuse) of the word “F—K”. Here is a snippet of one of the conversations I overheard:
“F, man, it’s F’in hot in here (prononced “herr”, of course) and I F’in ain’t F’in waiting no more cause I’m F’in gonna be a F’in puddle before she F’in gets here (again, pronounced “herr”). F’it, let’s F’in go.”
I’m sure Ryder’s eyes lit up in delight with the free exchange of profanities sans repercussions, but I was absolutely mortified (and made a show of covering Ryder’s ears as we walked by). Note to the chick who was stood up: it’s a good thing he left, honey. He ain’t no catch, trust me.
2. One out of every three brown teenagers was rockin’ the Sanjaya ‘do – I mean, come on, the last thing I want to encounter when I go shopping is a legion of Sanjaya wannabes. It’s not that there’s anything wrong with Sanjaya – or the look – but it was just so tiresome to see the same hairstyle on different heads, and I’m quite certain none of the doppelgängers downloaded his single from iTunes.
(On a related note, other boys were enthusiastically channeling Justin Bieber, Drake and selected indie artists with varying degrees of success.)
3. Now if there’s one universal truth, its that there are two types of teenage girls: ones who dress trashy, and ones who want to dress trashy. To the latter group – parents, I commend you for holding your ground. But the sad reality is that over 80% of the teens I encountered were decked out in outfits designed to promote the optimal amount of T&A. At one point, my husband declared: “I hate shopping because I spend the whole time averting my eyes so I don’t feel like a pedophile. Its just so wrong.” I know how he feels – even I copped a look at a few tight Lululemon bottoms. Ugh.
4. Teenagers are rude. At least, the ones I encountered were. They shout at each other from across the mall, loiter around while blocking entrances and exits, intimidate elderly customers by using profanity and aggressive gestures, set a poor example for younger children by making out in stairwells and on benches, and use up valuable space at the Apple Store. Oh yeah, speaking of -
5. How many Apples can you buy with your allowance? Seriously, the Apple Store is constantly crammed with teenagers. When I was young, it took me months to save up for a pair of Aldo shoes… never mind an iPad! It boggles my mind that teens have this sort of spending power – but hey, that’s for their parents to worry about. I just wanna be able to check out a MacBook without being bumped aside by Justin Bieber and Sanjaya.
6. Tattoos. I kid you not – as a teen, I didn’t know anyone with a tattoo. I think it was a coming of age thing when we turned around 20 – some gals got pierced, and then inked. Today, its more and more common to get a tattoo for your 16th birthday (complete with forged permission slip, of course) and the tattoos are becoming progressively risqué in both location and design. Sigh. The picture on the left made e-mail rounds last year – an 8 year old with a Tramp Stamp. I’m pretty sure its a fake tattoo, but the message is still the same: Look At Me. For what its worth, my personal opinion is that tattoos are an outward plea from the insecure.
I could go on and on, but that would only be a disservice to the respectable, intelligent and highly talented teens who choose not to moonlight as mall rats. And I know they exist – sadly, their numbers are few. But the more I think about it, the more I hope my boys stay young forever. Because frankly, teenagers scare me.
Any tips for keeping teens in check? I’d love to hear from moms who are in the thick of it – I like to be well prepared :)