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Irene Zutell Headshot

Aging And Abercrombie

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Now that I'm over 30...okay 35, okay 40, if you must know, I'm learning all about the horrors of ageism. And never is that more rampant than at the local mall. You can feel it when you enter certain stores--stores catering to a YOUNGER clientelle. Sales clerks ignore you. They look away. They scan the aisles,hoping no one notices you. And worst of all, they ask if you're shopping for your daughter!
And no retailer does this better than Abercrombie and Fitch.
I decided to write an ode to this store based on a recent experience:

ABERCROMBIE'S BITCH

At a mall shopping for something to wear,
I walked into a store. I felt strangers stare

at me. Was I paranoid? Did I smell? Did I twitch?
No. I was experiencing... Abercrombie and Fitch.

Abercrombie and Fitch is no regular store.
It's hipper-than-thou with ripped jeans galore.

Techno music so loud you can hardly think.
Like some trendoid club--without cover or drink.


I felt out of place, the vibe was so wrong.
But I tried to blend in; to pretend I belonged.

I gazed at the posters of young boys with six packs.
Were they there in the flesh, I'd have had to attack.

Gay or not they'd succumb to my feminine charms.
As I struggled and writhed in their sinewy arms.

Then a salesgirl approached. Can I help you, she droned.
Her nose ring was steel; her lipstick was bone.

She said something else, I couldn't quite hear.
As she scratched at the tramp stamp, fresh cut on her rear.

She shot me a look of pity-tinged pain.
"Are you lost? Ann Taylor is just down the lane."

"Or Talbots? Chico's? Coldwater Creek?"
"I'm just browsing," I snapped at this sideshow freak.

She eyed me as I picked up a tiny jean skirt.
It was ripped, paint spattered and stone washed in dirt.

Then I held up a tank top embroidered with lace.
She sucked in her cheeks as a smirk crossed her face.

"Is that for your daughter? Just tell me her size."
She asked me while glaring straight at my thighs.

"No, it isn't." I stammered, now feeling quite ill.
"Most women your age prefer to shop at J.Jill."

Get away from me bitch! I thought to myself
As I grabbed destruction wear bootlegs from off a shelf.

On my way to the fitting room above the deafening din,
She shrieked, "if you need a larger size, I'll bring it right in."

My reflection was cruel... a soul-searing show.
It was a funhouse mirror-- a self-esteem blow.

Of course, nothing fit. It seemed I would pop.
The denim skirt gave me a huge muffin top.

I wanted to sneak out and avoid that rude bitch
I vowed never again, Abercrombie and Fitch.

It wasn't for me. I was too old.
I'd head down to Chico's like I had been told.

I'd buy mom jeans with waists of elastic.
I didn't need Abercrombie to make me fantastic.

When I finally snuck out, of course there she was.
Her bitchiness gave her a powerful buzz.

What do I do? Do I admit she was right?
Do I say, "nothing fit. The skirt was too tight."

Do I say, "I can't hear you. The music's too loud?"
Do I say "I'm not right for this young, trendy crowd"?

She was waiting for me to surrender the clothes.
She was bored. She tugged at the ring on her nose.

I stared back at her and did... what I had to do.
"You're right. Nothing fit. I'll need a size two."

She knew I was lying, but I didn't care.
I'd buy a skirt that I'd never wear.

Perhaps that's the secret only this bitch knows.
No one really wears Abercrombie and Fitch clothes.

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