Reasons I Know I'm Getting Old (Hey, You Kids, Get Off My Lawn!)

1. While out shopping with my sister in Singapore last month, I had to ask her if a certain item of clothing I was debating trying on was supposed to be a top or a dress. I was disproportionately relieved when she revealed it was a top.

2. At a family party over the Christmas break, it fell to me to make the awkward decision whether to hang out with the adults or the teenagers. The adults, in their late 40s and early 50s, were having decisively boring conversations. The teenagers, all of them somewhere around the 18 mark, were not. And so I hung out with the teenagers, which was especially awesome since my Us Weekly subscription automatically granted me working knowledge of the works of Zac Efron, thus making me totally up to speed on most every interaction. And this was fine until a nubile 19-year-old walked past the table where I was deeply embroiled in Gossip Girl-focused conversation with an 18-year-old friend of my sister's and sneered dismissively at me. "Uh, what are you doing out here with the adults?" she asked my new 18-year-old pal, giving adults the same tone and inflection you'd give Britney Spears' used hair extensions. "We're all upstairs; come up, it'll be much more fun." (To be fair, she didn't exactly say the words "maiden aunt" when she looked at me, but she was thinking them, I could tell.)

3. Walking past the stores in San Francisco's Union Square every morning on my way to work is often the only thing that gets me up and out of bed. Will Williams-Sonoma have new coffee grinders today? Is H&M now selling their entire inventory for a scant three bucks? Recently, however, I have been increasingly confounded by the window displays at the Gap. Do your window displays look like my window displays? Why are they wearing so many layers, these mannequins? Is this a look to which we should all aspire, this obsessive layering of layers? I don't know if I can layer so many layers! That's a lot of layers to layer!

4. For Christmas, my brother Tom gave me an iPod shuffle. I adore my iPod shuffle. It is tiny and silver and often I worry I'm going to crush it, just by breathing on it wrong. But I can't for the life of me figure out where to clip my iPod shuffle. Everywhere I clip it looks dorky! Is it a pocket-of-your-coat kind of thing? A sleeve accessory? Should I just bury it in my bag? Honestly, they should screen people for coolness before they let them have small, sleek, silver gadgets.

5. Just before Christmas, I went into Abercrombie and Fitch* to look for a shirt for my brother Luke. And all I could think about was how loud it was in there, and how dark. How did anyone see the clothes, I thought, or have a conversation with their friends regarding how short the short shorts should be? And the bags! So obscene! I mean, honestly, I had to walk halfway down Market Street and into my office with a man's half-naked crotch on my arm. (Now that's a sentence you don't read very often.) On the upside, however, I did get to give the bag to my brother as part of the present itself. I wrote "Dear Luke, For Christmas I bought you a man's half-naked crotch. Enjoy!"

*Now, listen, side note: I used to work in Abercrombie and Fitch. You didn't know that, did you? Well, it's true, and my only only excuse is that I was twenty and looking for a part-time summer job, and Abercrombie and Fitch was the closest store to the mall entrance, or at least the mall entrance I chose. I got some heavily discounted clothes as part of my job, though for some reason I chose mostly men's XXL hoodies, for reasons I still can't understand, except, hey, it was the year 2000 and that should explain everything, including my white-blonde hair and choker-style shell necklace. Tell you one thing, though, I know how to fold a striped polo shirt like nobody's business. It's a trick that's served me well for the last seven years, don't knock it.

Jan 30, 2008

You're helping Nathan judge the contest and found time and the inclination to write another post. WOW. What did his dad serve you, coffee or kryptonite?

I hope you'll still talk to Nathan after this. He should at least share all his bourbon with you.

Jan 30, 2008

Oh what is with the darkness and the loudness every-damn-where? I like to see and talk to the people I'm with and be able to hear what they say to me in reply. I'm starting to consider carrying a desk lamp and ear trumpet around with me.

House of Jules
Jan 30, 2008

It is tough riding that line between adults and kids at family gatherings. I almost always prefer the "kiddie" table, though the "kiddies" are all tween or teens now... it is always a lot more fun to hang out with them because the adults are all talking about the same old crap. BORRR-ING! However, none of the kids or their friends have sneered at me yet. Like Britney Spears used hair extensions! That's not cool!
House of Jules

Jan 30, 2008

This may be the first time I've commented here - in that case, hi! I love reading your site :)

I am so with you on the abercrombie thing - I cannot even begin to understand how anyone functions in that store, let alone picks something out to purchase. My ears start bleeding before I even ENTER the store, just from all the racket.

And let me just tell you, after working at the Gap for 6 years in high school and college? I could fold a stack of 20 t-shirts into a perfect, exact, neat little pile in about 14 seconds flat. It's a trick of the trade, I believe ;)

Jan 30, 2008

1. Ha! I've never asked that question. I'm 5'9 and 3/4 and I've never considered it. Doesn't matter what I wear it always looks like I've got a lot of leg. So buy that top and wear it as a skirt, your bf wouldn't be complaining I'm sure.

2. I would have gone with the 18s. I can't be bothered with the same old conversations the 40s and 50s have. Good on you doing your research Holly. I couldn't tell you diddly squat about Efron and I'm a year older then him, or maybe under a year depending one whatever month he is born. P.S: Gossip Girls is quite possibly the centre of my T.V universe. That doesn't make me juvenille does it?

3. H & M is dead cheap here in Canada too. They have nice stuff. Friends of mine shop there all the time and another worked there in the summer. I work in a department store and I go mad with shopping.

3. So every A&F is the same. The music is loud. It's so they can attract the peoople who wear pants and polos into it Holly. Bring ear plugs next time! I can possible compete there with you Holly. I too can fold mens polos, pants, ties, everything like nobody's buisness. Womens wear too. I've once been yelled at though by a possibly obsessive compuslive woman who snapped "FOLD IT THIS WAY,"then proceeded to do it herself. I definetly don't knock it!

Jan 30, 2008

Ugh, I feel the same way about A&F and Hollister. And when I inwardly snap "pull your pants up!" to the models, I know I'm turning into a not-teenager.

Jan 30, 2008

I, too, know that I'm getting older. Driving around town, I routinely fight the urge to shout "PULL YOUR PANTS UP AND GET A JOB!"

Jan 30, 2008

We have no H&M here, it makes me sad.

I would've gone with the 18 year olds too and then pissed them all off by calling Zac ghey and asking how long Vanessa is going to pose as his beard. :)

I loathe Abercrombie. I refuse to allow the boy child any clothes from there but I will shop in Aeropostle or Forever 21.

As for the shuffle (you have the same one the boy child does) he clips his on the hem of his hoodie, if that helps.

Jan 30, 2008

I'm just curious, do they pump the VERY strong cologne through the air conditioning vents at your A&F?

Jan 30, 2008

I was thinking the same thing the other day as I walked passed the Abercrombie. A few years ago, I might have walked in there. Now the music is so ridiculously loud, I get agita just walking by!!!

Jan 30, 2008

My sister spent over a year working at Abercrombie and Fitch and we still love her, no worries. :)

(She also worked at Victoria's Secret and man, did she (and consequently me) get wonderful discounts!)

Jan 30, 2008

The only Abercrombie store I have been to is in Stamford, CT. It was very loud and dark; just as you described. I didn't know if it was just the young manager's preference or if all of them were that way. You answered my question! I almost had to use my little keychain flashlight to read the garment tags. I felt sooo old.

Jan 30, 2008

I can relate to your Williams Sonoma obsession; I wait with bated breath for each new catalog to arrive in the mail and then hoard it for the first available moment of "me time".

Sadly, "me time" often has to take place behind a locked bathroom door well after the time that the children are supposed to be in bed. But! The sight of shiny new panini presses totally pulls me through.

Carol Snider
Jan 30, 2008

Oh puh-leeeeze! Now you've made me feel ANCIENT. Thanks... just thanks a LOT! I'm going back to bed; I can no longer face the day.

(Oh, and I LOVE LOVE LOVE my iPod Shuffle too! See?
I'm just afraid of losing it. You know, senile mind and all that.



Jan 30, 2008

I distictly remember the first time I walked into the store Hollister. I walked in, looked around and left. It was soooo dark and LOUD that I almost crawled into fetal position and cried for my mommie.

Nothing But Bonfires
Jan 30, 2008


Except it wasn't loud and dark then. It was bright, with bouncy music back in the summer of 2000; kind of like working in a commercial.

Jan 30, 2008

I love you just a little bit more now. I relate to everything you said. Except the Abercrombie one, I just can't go in there. Why is it SO loud? This maiden aunt can't handle all that noise!

Jan 30, 2008

The music in A&F is LOUD, isn't it. I tried to walk in there (I'm 31 now) a few years ago, but I only got as far on the front tables (the piles and piles of SWEATERS) and had to turn back. Well, I turned back because of the noise AND the fact that in order to get me into a sweater - I have to buy a women's XL (which is not right when I am 5'6" and 145 lbs!).

Jan 30, 2008

I'm currently working nights at A&F folding clothes (its a real easy second job). I don't know what goes on during the day so can't speak to a lot of comments but they can contol the volume of the music in the stores. I don't think ours is too bad so who knows. As to the cologne they have bottles that we are supposed to spray...I don't how frequently but it is frequently and it smells like bug spray to me. I don't know whats up with the darkness but strangely after working there for a month I don't really notice it anymore.

Jan 30, 2008

I lasted all of 6 weeks working at the Gap once and the only long term benefit to my life is that at least now I can fold a pair of jeans.

She Likes Purple
Jan 30, 2008

I know I'm getting old when I see a slew of teenagers out late (at the movies, usually) and all I can think is, "Where are their jackets? Why are they out so late? Should they really be watching I am Legend? STOP KISSING."

Jan 30, 2008

Abercrombie is so damn loud! You know, if they played some cool 80s music, it might be all right, but the stuff these kids are listening to today...

I actually fell down once in the store Hollister--the one and only time I almost knocked myself out. Seriously, hit my head, bruised my leg in like four places, hit something else on the way down (I have no idea what because it was so dark.) Someone had left a dark basket on the dark floor and I was back in the dark sales area. I don't know if they ever would have found me. Good thing my kid was with me.

Jan 30, 2008

There is an Abercrombie near my office, and you can smell it from two blocks away. What is WITH the oppressive store-cologne? I went in there once with the intent of trying on some jeans, but I had to leave after about two seconds because I couldn't see anything and the music was pounding my brain.

Am old.

Jan 30, 2008

Lacey and Lawyerish, you beat me to it: the STINK coming from Abercrombie is stultifying. I was in the Short Hills Mall yesterday and had to walk by a few times...and every time, all I could think was, "How the hell does anyone work in there without passing out from the cologne?" It was so strong, it was wafting clear down the mall. Couldn't have gone into the store if I'd wanted to.

In this case, if that makes me old, I don't care.

Jan 30, 2008

6. Telling my kids in the car that the beat under their favorite Kanye West song is actually not his but originates from a song that I used to listen to.

7. My kids telling me "that's why it's retro" when I mention that I had sneakers just like that when I was young.

8. Being passed when a bunch of hip dudes is handing out flyers for the opening of a new club this weekend.

9. Being in shock that some girlfriends of the same age are admitting to having some botox done already.

10. Actually prefering a good night sleep over a margarita night on the town.

11. Your son telling you to wait outside for him while he goes inside the Abercrombie to check it out.

Longtime Reader
Jan 30, 2008

Oddly enough, I hated my two years of Hell in retail, but I will be forever grateful for how they taught me to fold clothes so quickly and so neatly. I think the time its saved me in the decade since has more than made up for the agony of dealing with low pay, bad managers and obnoxious customers.

Jan 30, 2008

Oh God, too funny. I know Ben and I are old because we will not set foot in Abercrombie due to the loudness thing and the huge posters of half-naked twentysomethings. Hysterical about Luke's present, though. We brave Hot Topic pretty regularly to buy scary action figures for my son Sam and Harry Potter t-shirts for me, but we get a lot of puzzled stares.

Clip your Shuffle anywhere you wish -- at your age, I vote for your neckline or cleavage. Might as well give them an excuse to stare. (In my younger days I sometimes kept a ball python in my bra, but that's another story.)

Jan 30, 2008

Oh, how funny! I can relate to so many of these--and, AND, I have actually yelled at neighbor kids to get off my lawn!

Love your blog, by the way, you old fart!

Jan 30, 2008

I had to go into Abercrombie and Fitch for a gift certificate this Christmas and I too was put off by the music. It is so loud I couldn't hear myself think.

Also do your stores have the half naked teenagers standing in front of the store? I just want to run up and put clothes on them and then I think where are your parents! And that is when I knew I was turning into my mother.

Jan 30, 2008

I also began to feel old at 26. My mother had returned from a vacation somewhere and she brought me...towels. Yes, bath towels. Now, what made me feel really old was that I thought this was an absolutely great gift. Couldn't imagine anything better. (It probably helped that they were Marimekko towels.)

natalie 42
Jan 30, 2008

I also worked at A&F...very, very briefly. I needed a christmas job and they hired me. It was SO LOUD in there all the time! We used to get complaints from the store UP STAIRS in the mall!! it was ridiculous. That and all of my 22 year old managers who had crazy power trips going on. Now I'm not one to do this but, I walked out of work one day and never went back. It was THAT bad.

Nothing But Bonfires
Jan 30, 2008

Strangely, I actually enjoyed my time working at Abercrombie and Fitch. I think they just hadn't done the LOUD, DARK, COLOGNE-FILLED thing yet. I actually remember thinking that the music was pretty great (although we had one CD a month and I got sick of it after about the second week.) It maybe also helped that I was having a bit of a THING with my manager (Sean and I were on a break) and therefore never had to work the crappy shifts.

Jan 30, 2008

Tis a sad thing when we hit that 'tween age. It's a bit like being a middle schooler, the high schoolers don't acknowledge you exist, you'd rather die than hand with the elementary kiddies. Ick.

However, as you bridge to the "adult table" of life, there are a few advantages (first crack at dessert comes to mind). But I do remember the odd pride I felt the day I heard one of my teenage son's friends say, "Dude, you're mom is so cool," after I threw (yes, threw) bags of barbeque chips and containers of Gator-ade down the basement stairs for the gang who had gathered for a Halo tournament ... no to mention the look of pride on my son's face as I showed his friends how to set up a home network. And the joy my youngest daughter expressedas I displayed knowledge of who Paramour was and allowed the half-naked torso of Cris Angel to be posted on her wall.

Hehehe, we find joy where we can in our old age.

Jan 30, 2008

I read an article in the NYT awhile back where a reporter took a decibel meter into A&F and found out that it was loud enough to permanently damage your hearing - louder than a tractor or a gas mower.

But this was my favorite part of the article:
"...from a sales clerk (while peering at my hand-held decibel meter): "Dude. That is the weirdest looking phone I have ever seen."

And I believe now that I have quoted a New York Times article on how loud Abercrombie & Fitch is, I have offially entered spinsterhood, at the ripe old age of 31.

Jan 30, 2008

I knew I was old when a teenage girl on the Muni who was blocking the door with a bunch of her no-good friends said "Watch out. This LADY needs to get off" to her friends when I tried to exit. I'm no lady!!!!

*also, don't tell anyone, but I worked at Hot Topic. yeah.

Jan 30, 2008

That's right - you did mention that you used to live in southwestern CT. I don't get to downtown Stamford that often even though I live in north Stamford. You would not believe the changes in the city. We have a Target now! (across from the UConn building). And! I heard a Trader Joes is coming, too. Obviously I'm not that hard to please.


Katie Alender
Jan 30, 2008

OMG, your part-time summer Abercrombie experience and mine are identical! Down to the XXL menswear and the brilliant folding of shirts.

Jan 30, 2008

My husband and I had the same conversation in Hollister last year.

me: "I can't see anything it is so dark in here!"
hus: "WHAT?"
me: "It's so dark!"
hus: "WHAT?"

We walked out of the store and while I had accepted 25 with grace, I was feeling like I was 65 walking out of that store.

Jan 30, 2008

I've never been into an A&F and you've given me compelling reasons to continue to avoid it. I know I'm getting old 'cause I'm more excited getting a new dust buster than clothes for Christmas.

...that's very pathetic.

And yeah, how in the heck are you finding time time to write posts when you're judging 350 plus entries for Nathan?

Jan 31, 2008

I should feel old, but I'm too immature.

Jan 31, 2008

I've always felt like they dim the lights in stores like Abercrombie and Hollister (which is even darker) so that you're tricked into thinking the clothes look fab on you. Then you try it on in proper lighting at home and realize that there are large floral designs made from gemstones on the butt of your new jeans, which you absolutely didn't notice in the darkness.

Jan 31, 2008

I'm 31 and finding myself in that same limbo between true adulthood and adolescence. Sometimes I step back from myself and am surprised at the things that now interest me--things like politics and kitchen appliances and the like--but at other times I wonder if I'll ever actually feel like a grown-up. (I suspect I won't, as long as I keep using words like "grown-up".)

The Over-Thinker
Jan 31, 2008

I wholeheartedly agree about the lighting and the thumptastic "music" in A&F...I don't know what it is about that place, but I can never leave there without an over-priced t-shirt in my shopping bag. Mind you, due to the lighting, the actual color of the merchandise is always a bit of a surprise when I take it out of the bag in daylight.

Jan 31, 2008 I have to admit I was a bit curious and went and read your bio. I grew up in Charleston, which is funny because everyone IS actually named after streets or maybe it's because the same families have all lived South of Broad for the last two hundred and fifty years. Either that or they are not very creative when it comes to naming babies.

I snorted at the TJ Maxx comment because it is SO true. You gave me quite the chuckle.

mama speak
Jan 31, 2008

I guess I no longer bridge the gap to the adult table. I assume that at 39 w/two kids I would considered an adult. But you know what I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up. Yeah, I'm a mom, but I'm still me.
About 10 years ago I was in a train station in Switzerland and this 90+ YO American lady was sitting next to me. We were both hosteling through Europe and started talking & sharing our similar experiences. At some point she told me she still feels the same as she did when she was 16. Her body doesn't react the same way, but her mind is still 16.
I wasn't sure if I found that to be good or bad information to have. I suppose it depends on the day you ask me.
I can't see for shite anyway, so A&F would totally not be a good store for me. And the kids can play on my lawn as long as they don't let their dog do his biznez on there. It's all good! I've taught my 20MO "peace out" cause it's funny. And I get to sit at the kids table now because I have kids (who need some help eating). I suppose that lowers my cool factor right there, huh?

Jan 31, 2008

i have the pleasure of living near the mall of america so get the full abercrombie/hollister experience practically at my doorstep. once, shopping at abercrombie about 10 years ago (has it been that long?!) i witnessed one of the clerks walking around with multiple bottles of their cologne and literally pouring it (with the spritzer cap removed) on the shirts, jeans, and carpet. multiple bottles!
i decided to brave the hollister pagoda, shack, beach house or whatever this last fall when i decided to just try on a pair of jeans that already had holes in them. well, it took me until the third clerk asked 'have you heard how AWESOME our jeans fit?' to understand what they were shouting. when i did convince one of them to let me into the fitting room (by miming the act of putting my legs into the pants) i found myself in a room that had all the fitting room accoutrements (mirror, hooks) but was only 2x2 ft square. naturally i pushed with both hands on the mirror assuming that this was some sort of pre-fitting area that lead to the actual fitting room. the stink eye from the 15-year-old clerk told me otherwise.

thanks for helping nathan out with the judging : )

Jan 31, 2008

I've been old forever - I pretty much shake my fist at Abercrombie every time I walk by, and I've never ventured in because of the LOUD. Plus I own mom shoes AND semi-mom jeans, even if I don't really wear them. Oh, and I have a 5 year old. That ages you a bit.

Jan 31, 2008

I hear ya Holly! Abercrombie is just un-necessarily sexual (i am outing myself as an old prude here!)Have you SEEN their catalogue?

Jan 31, 2008

iPod shuffle
consider attaching it to your bra strap

Pam in SC
Feb 01, 2008

Ran across this quote earlier today:

"Inside every older person is a younger person wondering what the hell happened."

Truer words were never spoken.

Feb 01, 2008

I worked at The Limited almost 20 years ago (talk about OLD) ... if you didn't live clear on the other side of the country, I would totally challenge you to a shirt-folding contest!

Feb 01, 2008

Did you ever have a moment when you saw the "shift" in technology? What I mean by that is the time in your life when your parents stop doing anything technological and just asked you to do it. Since I am 42, mine started with the VCR. I don't think my parents even tried to figure it out. It was much easier to have me program the thing (and everything they have bought since).
Now that I have a teenager- I get it! It is like getting a rebate on everything you have ever spent on them. I now have a free IT department, a Geek Squad, cell phone expert and just about everything else on my payroll. Well not free, but I certainly don't have to leave the house. Definitely works for me!

Feb 01, 2008

Commenting twice? Yes, I am.

I totally get the technology thing.

This summer my husband and I decided to purchase roller blades. The last pair of roller blades I owned were purchased in the early nineties. For a reference they looked like a ski boot on wheels.

We stood in the ski/skate shop staring at the wall of roller blades going, "Whoa..." shocked by how different these skates looked in comparison to the old clunkers we use to skate around in. I felt like such an idiot when the sales guy was helping us. I kept repeating, "They look like sneakers! You don't have to lace them up! These are so lightweight!"

Feb 04, 2008

Awww, no matter where you clip and iPod Shuffle it always looks cool. After all, it IS and iPod. ;-)

Feb 05, 2008

since you worked there, why IS IT so damn dark in there? and so loud?

and i think a & f likes the controversy...hence the man crotch...