Oh the mall. How I love and hate you…malls! I spent my misguided youth in a mall nearly every weekend in Junior High. I’d get my allowance, babysitting and paper route monies together and stretch them as far as they could go. My friends and I would take the bus to our favorite mall and while away our days checking out all manner of goods, people and wares. We’d crush on boys and eat ridiculous food and well, I always did gorge myself on tapes and posters. And then there’s the tale of the magical boom box from Sam Goody that I’d returned four times (got a new one each time, I loved that thing).
Later in life I worked in malls, for ten years! I grew so sick of them and their usual chains and kiosks and mall rats. I thought I’d never again enjoy the comforts and privilege that go along with visiting a mall in California. Even after I left retail and joined the corporate world I loathed going inside a mall except for the utmost important and essential of reasons or goods. Holiday season meant avoiding malls like the black plague!
Life is a funny thing, though. Just when you think you know something about yourself for certain, it can surprise you. My boyfriend is from the U.K. and has been in Californi/The U.S. a for a year. He loves malls. At first we’d just go to the nearest one to my place for their new movie theatre. A desire to waste some time before a movie begins and next thing you know that local mall is “our place” and exciting adventure has become me showing him malls he’s never seen before. Even adding rules, “It must have vending machines and a movie theatre!” or what have you, and I always step up to the challenge.
What I hadn’t expected or even could have guessed is that I now, too and once again, love malls. What?!?! I know! I can’t even believe I’m saying this to you right now, but it’s true. But really? It’s because I’m with him. And what is a mall or main street but a showcase of what the world has to offer, what’s new and exciting and what is ridiculously pure luxury. We rarely buy stuff and even then it’s comic books and kitchen gadgets (we’re geeks, what?!), but we get to see new things and have great and funny conversations. Not to mention it’s great when the weather isn’t the best, ya know?
A moment for video game arcades, please…
Arcades make great date places! Well, maybe just for geeky folks, I can’t say for sure. But my favorite dates we’ve been on (and that I’ve ever been on) have been in or around an arcade. The Pinball Museum in Alameda, CA is amazeballs and the best date ever! We had so much fun and it only helped matters that it was my first ever double date with my beloved Raven and her fella. And last weekend we hit up Dave and Busters, which is like a bar and grill with a giant arcade (the kind where you earn tickets or whatever) for adults inside. FUN! These things used to be in malls, some still are, but please bring them back, okay? Thanks!!!
I know malls may not seem like the most fat friendly of places and certainly there is one near me that I find particularly annoying in that way. I will say that all I have visited have been accessible, which is rad. Most malls have a Lane Bryant, though I’m not a fan. Some have a Torrid, which I love. And we all have our thing we like to scope out, like kitchen gadgets or shoes or whatever. There’s usually a variety of food options to suit most tastes. There may even be a movie theatre, bowling alley, ice rink, carousel, arcade or some other cool thing that maybe you missed or haven’t checked out in ages. I love those things! Ha-ha! Really though, you should be treated with the same respect and courtesy as any other shopper at the mall. If you aren’t, I encourage you to speak up and out about it if you are able. Malls can be great for simple and easy exercise, too! I know many malls have a morning walking group or club, mostly senior citizens, but hey I love old folks! It’s generally a safe space as far as crime goes and if there’s a Target you’re certainly set for whatever it is you’re looking to buy. But again, mostly I just like checking stuff out. I get inspired by the most random of things!
When I had to go to “our place” to get some pants hemmed I felt bad going without him so I hit up the gum ball machines for some food shaped erasers as a little present for my guy. See? It’s fun and silly and awesome and only fifty cents to say that I was thinking of him. *Blush* This stuff ain’t hard, yo! Ha-ha! What I do enjoy is how different malls usually have a lot of the same things, but it’s the oddball shops that I love most. “Our place” has a lot of those oddball shops! 😉
I guess my point to this post is simply that dates don’t have to cost a lot or a thing, really, to have a great time. I think we put far too much into expectations and planning for perfection, but when you do that you lose so much. Spontaneity and the unexpected actually make life more fun and interesting. We all gotta eat, I get that, a shared meal can be fun, too. But exploring the world with someone you’re getting to know is like a twofold learning experience. You get to see new things and see them through someone else’s eyes, too. You get some insight into their personality and interests and get to see if you like those things, too. Well, I think it’s a hoot! Ha-ha! Maybe I’m just weird. That’s okay, I like being weird. 🙂
What other fun/silly/cheap dates have you been on? I’d love to hear your ideas!