Sunday, May 20, 2012

Hoochie Mama?

It's hard to believe that I'll be 35 tomorrow.  When I was a kid—and even in my early twenties—35 sounded ridiculously "grown up," and 40 seemed positively ancient.  Yet here I am, feeling perfectly fine about the milestone.

I probably wouldn't be making much of a fuss about it at all, except that we're going on a cruise in a couple of weeks and my birthday is a convenient justification to go out and shop for some new clothes  (hey, I'll shamelessly take any excuse I can get). 

I haven't been out shopping for myself in positively ages, so I decided to do it right.  I found a babysitter and reserved an entire morning to go out to a local strip mall, my primary mission being to find beachy, sexy clothes to wear on our upcoming vacation. 

When I arrived at the shopping center, I was disappointed to find that I'd been "out of the game" for so long that most of the stores weren't there any more.  But I spotted one trendy shop still in business, so I headed that direction and told myself the trip would still be a great success.

As I neared the store, I caught a glimpse of the displays and stopped in my tracks.  The establishment had turned to the Dark Side—it had become a "hoochie shop."

Unidentifiable hip-hop music pulsed from within the store, where headless mannequins modeled scraps of fabric that didn't seem to serve any particular purpose.  Sequined bras and transparent lace leotards hung proudly in the windows, and neon posters shouted in capital letters that the clothes were "ALWAYS ON SALE!!  $19.99 OR LESS!! (some more)." 

I warily crossed the threshold (I had come too far to turn back now) and was instantly sized up by an employee.  She looked me up and down, scowled at my frumpy yoga pants and ratty tee shirt stained with unidentifiable child goo, rolled her eyes dismissively and walked off in search of someone who might actually buy something. 

I couldn't decide whether I should be offended or glad. 

I probably would have just turned around and left then, but a little devil appeared on my shoulder, urging me to look around.  After all, it reasoned, there might be something worthwhile hidden in the back.  I acquiesced and ventured deeper into the store.

Upon passing a rack of clingy dresses with giant cutouts in the sides, a little angel appeared on my other shoulder and shouted, "I just don't understand what kids are wearing these days!" 

I was immediately shocked that this thought had popped into my head—when had I become such a stick-in-the mud?  I told the angel to shut up and stop making me feel old, and the devil on the other shoulder gave me a high-five and asserted that I was damn sexy and could pull off any of the outfits in the store.

Well, except perhaps this one...even the little devil said "WTF?" when it saw this.

 This just seems like a waste of a perfectly good security tag.

I gaped at the fluorescent orange "dress" for a couple of minutes—as if staring at it would miraculously cause it to make sense—then I shook my head, walked away, and ran smack into a display of bedazzled bras. 
 Is it just me, or does this bra seem to already have nipples on it? 
(poorly placed, too)

Once again, a little battle raged inside my brain.  The angel was reacting with disbelief.  What a ridiculous piece of clothing!  What would you even do with one of those? it demanded.

The devil immediately fired back, reassuring me that I could definitely wear one of those if I was in the right environment (although the devil neglected to say what that environment might be).

The internal debate was making my head spin, and it was unclear which side was winning.

Hoping things would improve, I continued deeper into the store.  When I rounded a corner and came upon garments that I thought were tube tops but were actually skirts, the angel angrily yelled, Where's the rest of that skirt?

The devil kicked it and and accused me of turning into my mother.

I was getting a headache and finally decided it was time to leave, so I lifted my chin, threw my shoulders back, and proudly marched out the door.  I thought I caught a glimpse of an employee laughing at me as I left, but then the little devil told me that I was being stupid and ordered me to get my head out of my ass.

Back in the parking lot, I was unsure of what to do next.  I didn't have a lot of time left, so after some consideration, I decided to hit my "standby store"— Ross Dress for Less.  It's my default for finding shoes and dresses on the cheap.

I wandered in and immediately felt my stress evaporate.  No one was glaring at me or sizing me up; in fact, I'm pretty sure they're trained to ignore you in that store unless you're urinating on the bedding or shooting meth in the toy department. 

I zeroed in on a rack of summery dresses, picked up several—along with some cute denim shorts and a few breezy tops—and headed for the fitting rooms.

Now, in my humble opinion, whoever designed the dismal lighting in fitting rooms should be shot.  I don't know how women can be expected to buy anything when our bodies look like lumpy masses of tapioca pudding in front of those giant mirrors.

I usually prepare myself for this when I go out shopping—so as not to be horrified when I finally disrobe—but it had been quite a while since I had really shopped for myself, and the disturbing effect when I tried on the dresses caught me off guard.

Every lump was magnified; every roll was brought into sharp relief.  Thighs that would probably look fine in normal lighting appeared to be coated in cottage cheese under those horrible fluorescents.  I found myself discarding one garment after another in frustration.

It didn't help that the devil on my shoulder was hurling insults at me, blaming me for letting my body get this way and insisting that I do something about it, pronto.  The angel was disturbingly silent.   

I sadly brought the garments back out of the fitting room and handed the entire lot to the attendant.  I didn't have time to try anything else on, but I didn't want the trip to be a total failure, so I decided to swing by the shoe department on my way out to see if anything appealed to me.  After all, at least my feet weren't too disgusting.

As I crossed the store, I spotted this highly airbrushed ass staring at me from a box in the health and beauty section.

I went over to take a closer look.

On the front of the package, shiny letters announced that the cream inside would smooth skin and banish cellulite.  I was intrigued...after the close-up view of my cottage-cheese thighs in the fitting room, I was just about desperate enough to try anything.  I picked up the box and turned it over in my hands. 

The instructions stated that the cream should be applied liberally to all areas that need slimming.  It went on to suggest some areas, just in case you were legally blind or couldn't think of any yourself.  I did the mental math and realized that, for best results, I would probably have to fill a bathtub with the cream and soak in it every day for a month.

That seemed rather impractical. 

In fact, I doubted that the discount cream would do anything at all, but the devil on my shoulder was jumping up and down excitedly and shouting that I should buy it, so I set my jaw and purposefully marched to the checkout with my bottle of miracle cellulite cream in hand.  The angel hung her head in shame as I paid the six dollars and ninety-seven cents for the product.

As the cashier bagged up my purchase, it occurred to me that I had hit a new low; not only had I failed to find anything flattering for my cruise; I had actually bought myself discount cellulite cream for my birthday...and I'd been excited about it.

The angel shook her head at me as I did the walk of shame back to my mom-mobile.  I strolled past the hoochie shop on the way, and suddenly it seemed like a good idea to remember the place...just in case I truly hit bottom and decide to try my luck in a brothel during the midlife crisis I plan to have when I hit 40.

Perhaps I should have just gone to the spa.



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  1. Uggh! Sounds like your shopping was not much fun. I just went shopping for a suit and thought I would lose my mind. I am not an abnormal size or anything, but I just couldn't get one to fit quite right. I love when you find the perfect piece of clothing without much of a search, but it rarely happens to me!

  2. Maybe the spa next time. My little Devil would have said "WTF?" about that awful number, too. Have a very happy birthday, and I'm glad you're cool with reaching the milestone. I'll be there in 3 years. :-/

  3. You mean you don't already have that orange number? I think that has "carpool" written all over it! ;) haaaaa! The other day I ran into a friend and we were both wearing capri jeans, a white tshirt and flip flops. We've decided that it's our "mom-iform" seeing as how that's what we tend to wear ever single day. I've given up trying to hoochie it up. Cotton is so much more forgiving!

    I'm a new follower from a blog hop and would love it if you'd consider following back. Thanks!

  4. OMG I was dying as I read this. Too funny! I haven't been shopping in forever either; is that really what's out there now? That bra was too funny - seriously someone would wear that?? Thanks for the laugh this morning. :)

  5. I used to love shopping but like you I can't find anything cute in the stores. All the clothes seem to be cheaply made with little fabric and outrageously priced. I am sorry you didn't find what you were looking for but it made for a fun post to read :)

  6. What store were you in?!
    Well, if 35 is ancient, I'm so old I must be God. :(

  7. I don't even know what to say about that dress!!!!!

  8. Apparently, you don't have teenagers yet or none of this would have been a surprise. I'm lucky both of girls do not like most of this stuff, but we do go to the mall. If you ever get the chance, go into Hot Topik. That is both of my girls favorite store.

    (I hope no one actually wears that orange contraption out in public).

    Stopping by from VoiceBoks!

  9.'re going on ANOTHER vacation! NOT FAIR!! ;) I hate shopping. Hate it hate it hate it. The only clothes I see that I like are in the window of the "plus size" store, and I am not (yet) plus-size. It almost makes me want to start eating brownies and not stop until those cute clothes fit me.

  10. Just stopping by from the blog hop! I'm a new follower on GFC :)

    - Nicole @Me+theMoon

  11. Hahaha! I think you should have bought the orange lace dress thingy! I hate going clothes shopping for the very same reasons! Ugh. But I bet you will look hot on your cruise! Have a wonderful time!

  12. My mom was trying to take me shopping for my birthday and I wanted capris but I couldn't find any that weren't the ones that were all ripped up with paint splatters on them, or super skinny. I was so fustrated!

  13. oh 35! happy birthday. i loved ever single birthday in 30's until i recently turned 36 which sounds awfully close to forty. so i hope you enjoy 35!! and hey, being excited about cellulite cream isn't so bad. we are ever evolving.

  14. I blogged about cruising today!!! :) Enjoy that vacation -- even if the shopping didn't go so well! And, would you consider a cruising guest post at my blog once you get home?

    My aging philosophy is this: Instead of pretending we're younger (29 again??? Really???), why not round up? I'm 46. Instead of saying that, though, when the topic comes up, I say "I'm headed toward 50." I say it with confidence!!! I look great for "50" and that's all people hear -- they ignore the heading toward. Works wonders! ;-)

    1. Hehee...we'll see about that guest post! I'm sure I'll have some good material after my vacay...considering last time we went away, my son got the stomach flu and threw up all over the Bahamas, and then he got his hand crushed in an elevator door. Good times.

  15. I can't understand why anyone would want to wear that orange getup, and on another note how could you walk in it?

  16. I think you should still go to the spa, but first, you have to buy the butt-floss outfit (in red, of course) so you can look extra good. LOL. Clothes shopping is not always fun anymore, now that we're in our mid-30s. Have a happy day (and thanks for stopping by yesterday).

  17. Those pictures! Ha! I feel like you were at Madonna's favorite store or something. I am 37, so I know just what you mean about approaching 40 and remembering what it was like when we were much younger. Thanks for the laughs and thanks for linking up with us over at #findingthefunny!

  18. Happy belated birthday, and i hop you had a wonderful celebration..Like everyone said, going to the spa could have been the best..

  19. happy, happy birthday to you!!
    i'm sitting here with that wonderful smirk i always get after reading your words. i felt as if i was with you on your shopping trip. i died laughing at your angel and devil friends chiming in throughout your adventure. omygoodness, whatever shop you were in...i have to go there someday. i have a crazy fun friend who i can imagine would love to spend a day in there...we'd bring our cameras, trying on the insane clothes, snapping pictures of one another for our own crazy fashion show. wanna join?!

    i LOL at the scary cross-eyed nipple bra. what in world. that would never work...and it's far from sexy.

    dressings rooms are evil. i think the ones in target are probably my favorite. or maybe it's just our local target...maybe they don't keep up on replacing the light bulbs. but, they seem to be nice n' dark almost always. i remember one summer i'd been working out so hard. i was tan. i lost ten pounds and i wanted to try on a bikini. i strutted my stuff into that dressing room with a tiny little bikini. that damn mirror made me look like the stay puft marshmallow man (only, with a tan).

    i hope your birthday was beautiful. you live it up on that cruise and enjoy every minute of it, pretty lady!
    and next time you're out, treat yourself to a pair of sexy shoes <3


  20. HA! Happy Birthday! Please do share the results of the cream ..

  21. Shopping???!!! I am still trying to fit BACK into my old jeans. You know the one I still believe I will wear again! And believe me, the only clothing store I step into are the ones that carry sizes 8 to 10 in boys and 2T to 3T in girls.
    You gave be a good laugh... realistic... but good.
    I am your newest follower from the blog hop, please follow me back.

  22. Hello, happy to arrived to this great blog from the linky hop. Thanks for hosting and am following you everywhere. How did you get your GFC to work? My GFC widget is broken, any suggestions off the top of your head ??? hehehe it's blogger blog, even. Anyway, followed YOU through GFC and here's my everything:

  23. New Follower! Looking forward to reading more.
    Hope you will follow back!
    Daisy @

  24. Your post made me laugh out loud... that is not a usual habit of mine. I smile and enjoy... but when I find something funny, I will laugh out loud! It was how you rounded up the post with buying the cream for your birthday. I could picture myself in your shoes through the post. It's wonderful when you can draw your reader into your own shoes. Thanks for stopping by my Sightseeing Blog Hop!

  25. Heh heh, I've only dared to go in a dressing room once since my kids were born, and that was when the kids were with me and I knew they'd be hogging up the mirror with all their posing and practicing their Kung fu moves.

  26. Hey, no better way to celebrate your 35th than with a little cellulite cream, huh? ;) Happy birthday!!

  27. I love the way you tell a story, and those photos put it over the top! You must share what store you were in!! I hope you have a wonderful birthday!

  28. It's also possible that the problem was not you OR the lighting but the clothing. There's some stuff that looks fine on the rack but, when applied to the body becomes putrid. (I'm visiting from Finding the Funny.)

  29. Hilarious! And I can totally relate. Just can't walk out of the store & admit that the we're just too grown up for those clothes. But some are just inappropriate for any age!

  30. Well, I do hope you had a good birthday. And as I have been late in catching up on everyones posts, I am thinking you have already ventured out on your cruise or may be on it now. The post was a bit humorous. Not that you couldn't find anything to wear but the good and evil going on in the stores. OH, I go through this all the time. As always, your blog makes me smile.

    Take care.


  31. Cute story and one to which I can TOTALLY relate! Next time: internet shopping and THEN the spa ;-)

  32. Hilarious! Will definitely be back for more. New fan and follower via VB. :)
    Girlfriends Are Like Shoes

  33. Well to me growing age has only one great factor that as much our age marching forward, our intellectual level increases...It is not bad to hear that you turned to 35 now...just be what you are and enjoy it to the full extent..!

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  35. I'm quite glad that you turned 35 now as this age has full of happiness in it....I like the way you shared much part of your life with us here!

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