The Mall Has It All

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Yesterday, I had to make a quick trip to the mall. I knew what I wanted and where I could get it, so this was going to be a destination shopping event—no browsing or window shopping—just in and out. I parked where I usually park and made my way inside.

I had not been to the mall in about two months (which in Donna years is a lifetime—I am trying to be more economical), so I paused when I came through the entrance doors and took a whiff of that stale mall air that I have come to miss so much. Anyway, there were so many new kiosk businesses in the corridor by this entrance. Almost immediately, I caught the eye of a gentleman who offered to straighten my hair. No kidding! He was there with a new and powerful flat iron that he promised, and I quote, “Would get rid of the curl and frizz that makes me embarrassed to leave the house.”

How embarrassed could I be? I was already in the mall! I would have gotten upset, but he spoke very broken English, so I figured he might not have known what he was saying. Don’t scoff! Just let me have that explanation because it was the best rationalization I could come up with on such short notice! I did stop for a second to give him a dirty look, but he took this as an invitation to do my hair and came at me with his hi-tech iron. I did a sidestepping maneuver around him and said, “Sorry in a hurry.”

I had avoided his sales pitch, but two kiosks down was a woman doing eyebrow threading. In case you do not know what this is, eyebrow threading uses a piece of string to remove lines of unwanted hair. That is what it said when I Googled it. It is supposed to be painless and a great method for shaping brows. They also use threading for hair removal on other parts of the body as well now. It sounds interesting, but I have a tough time thinking about a bikini wax. So, I can’t fathom the idea of a bikini threading. However, I’m thinking that at the kiosk in the mall, bikini threading was probably not a service being offered anyway … I would hope.

In a sweet voice, the threader (I don’t know her official title) asked me if she could, and I quote, “Shape my eyebrows so my eyes will actually show.” Okay for the record, it’s not like there is a unibrow growing across my forehead. I do have my brows waxed once every six weeks. Granted, it’s getting to be that time to thin them out, but I can assure you that I do not in any way resemble Magilla Gorilla.

By now, my self-image was absolutely shot, and I was starting to wonder if I looked like the bride of Frankenstein. I came to the mall thinking I looked okay. Yes, my hair was curly, but I didn’t look like I had just stuck my finger in an electrical outlet. For God’s sake it was ninety-eight degrees and humid outside. What did these people expect from me?

I opted not to converse with the threader woman either; instead, I gave her the “stay where you are” hand motion and continued on my way. If you haven’t guessed, this is a long corridor. Before I reached my turnoff for the next part of the mall that led to the store where I was going, I was accosted by a dentist who did teeth whitening right there at his kiosk. I was amazed, and then right next to him, was an aesthetician who could remove wrinkles and give me back ten years. Really? Ten years? To be honest, all I wanted back was the last ten minutes and the confidence I had when I walked into this freaking mall!

On the bright side, if I was feeling a bit on the haggard side, this mall was the place to be. These people had the power to transform me from a forty-plus woman into a thirty-plus woman with white teeth, perfect hair, and smooth skin. Yes, this mall was not a mall anymore. No, it had become a place where miracles happen.

As I ran past the last of the kiosks, I started to wonder how all these personal service people decided that the middle of a major shopping center was the best place to set up shop. These vendors were performing services that until recently were done behind closed doors. Who was the first person who said, “Sure, I would like to have my eyebrows ripped off but only if I can get it done in front of thousands of people in a public place like one of the biggest malls in the country.”

I don’t get the attraction for doing this stuff in front of so many onlookers. Over the past few years, I have seen many people get massages in the middle of the mall, but even that does not appeal to me. When I get a massage, I want aromatherapy candles and new age music lulling me into a quiet state of bliss. What I do not want is some guy in a golf shirt with his name embroidered on the front beating his fists on my back while swaying to the rhythm of the Muzak playing on the mall’s sound system. 

I know what would happen if I ever participated in one of these mall services. As soon as I sat down, everyone that I know and most importantly, dislike in the world, would be shopping at the mall at that very moment. Yes, people who I have not seen in years would pick this time to be at this mall watching me get the coffee stains removed from my teeth by the kiosk dentist. And then, of course, they would whip out their camera phones, take the most unflattering pictures of me and post them on Facebook. Damn, I hate this mall.


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