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With my Nordstrom, Anthropologie, and White House Black Market bags in tow, I successfully avoid eye contact with the Lebanese guy asking to see my hands and follow some teenage girls wearing t-shirts down to their ankles into what I still considered to be my favorite store. God, I can’t wait until the day they look back on this and realize how fucking stupid they look. I wonder if they know the “trend” they’re so obsessed with was popularized by slutty college girls doing the walk of shame. I mentally envision myself going undercover at their high school to change their ways a la “Never Been Kissed.” I’d totally fit in. I’m 26, I’m basically still in high school. Those girls are probably wondering why they’ve never seen me at school right now.
I’m overwhelmed as I enter the realm of semi-organized chaos, Forever 21. God, I love Forever. I always sort of felt a sense of uneasy peace when I walked in if that makes any sense. Everything was always a disaster, but I could buy whatever I wanted here, and God dammit, I would. I mean, fuck it. I’m young, and it’s not like I could shop like this forever. Might as well do it now.
Where to begin? Dude section, gym section (ha), fat girl section, slutty children section, here it is. The “normal” clothes for trendy young girls like me. I immediately gravitate toward a safari green romper for $14.90. God, everything is so cheap here. Why do I even bother shopping anywhere else? I’m not TRULY a Nordstrom girl. My mom adds the possessive S for fuck’s sake. This is where I belong.
I continue to meander past a set of denim overalls that I decide are cute, but for my intern, because I don’t think you can pull off MK&A circa “Brother For Sale” outfits once you’re on your own insurance. I grab a slutty dress made so poorly that it disintegrates in my hand upon touching it. That’s fine. I prefer happy hour and day drinking to staying out until last call anyway. I’d have nowhere to wear a mesh plunging V. I consider a few crop tops, but I don’t think it makes sense to wear a shirt if you don’t really understand what it says. Plus I still need to lose those 10 pounds I gained four years ago before I wear a crop top. I almost grab a pleather skater skirt, but can’t bring myself to wear fake leather. I’m a grownup, after all, and I pretend to work hard for my money — I can splurge on real leather. This dress is too tacky. That skirt is too tiny. Those pants are too weird. And suddenly I realize I’ve already walked through the whole store.
I do a second lap, thinking surely I must have missed something. Is it even possible to go into a Forever 21 fitting room without making some lame joke with the attendant that you “just couldn’t limit it to six items — and oh my God, I could never pull off blue hair (because I have a real job). Did your tregus piercing hurt?” Alas, I take my romper and head on in. I step outside the fitting room and stand in front of the bigger mirror beside some 19-year-old tanorexic blonde girl, who’s wondering if she should sleep with Mike because he liked her selfie on Instagram.
I look like Snuffleupagus with cameltoe. Why is everything here so tiny here? What if you’re tall? Can you just not shop here? Tanorexic’s 5’10” friend walks out of the fitting room with half a cheek hanging out of a similar romper. She’s killing it. Not a single dimple to be found. “You should totally sleep with him. He’s like in love with you, and I think his dad’s a lawyer.” I don’t even pretend not to stare.
I debate suicide for three minutes, before remembering I have dinner with my boyfriend’s mom tomorrow. I’m really pulling for a ring, and my sudden demise would probably delay things. He’d love that wouldn’t he — a new excuse not to commit. I think I’ll pick up a rotisserie chicken tonight, and casually remind him that my eggs are slowly rotting with each passing day. Too dejected to even look at the jewelry that would inevitably break after two wears, I leave the store empty-handed for what must be the tenth consecutive time.
It’s time for me to admit something to myself.
I’m too old for Forever 21, because despite what they say, no one is FOREVER 21 years old. Forever 21 is selling trashier clothes, and the store which once outfitted me every day for under $400 a year is now beneath me. I’m onto bigger and better things, like spending my entire paycheck at overpriced boutiques where the girls give me champagne while I shop, because fuck it. I’m young. And it’s not like I can shop like this forever..
Image via March Marcho / Shutterstock.com