Saturday, October 31, 2009

It's not ironic.

If you’d ever like to be reminded just how old you really are, and I can’t think why you would want to do that, but IF YOU DID, then I suggest you wander into an Urban Outfitters. Urban Outfitters was around when I was a teenager, and my 14-year old self spent plenty of Saturday afternoons poking around the M Street store, looking for ways to waste my allowance. Twenty-five years later the store is pretty much the same, which is to say that it sells some reasonably cute, hipster clothes and a lot of ironic t-shirts and ironic posters and ironic furniture and pretentious classics for the young, urban readers among us. Of course, the hipster element is belied by the fact that the store has an outpost in almost any urban shopping mall, which lets me know it was probably the same level of cool when I was 14, too.

My point, though, and I did have one, was that when I walked into the store the other day I felt like I had been hit over the head with my own irrelevance. The doughy young clerk folding t-shirts near the door struck the tone for me with a decidedly unimpressed sneer. Even her pimples regarded me mulishly. I was tempted to moo at her. Instead, I walked through the store, eyeing the various displays of clothes too tight, too short or made of material too unforgiving for a frame that has been stretched out from providing a crash pad for two separate human beings. I didn’t even touch anything; what was the point? If I ever have occasion to wear a tiny, ironic t-shirt again, I have several in a bin in my basement. I guess I need to give up the ghost and donate them to some overprivileged 15-year old they were designed for in the first place.

It’s hard to make peace with bidding adieu to one’s youth. But when my personal trainer says perkily, “I thought you were 35!” not realizing her marketing plan doesn’t have quite the ring it was probably supposed to, I have to face the facts. And the facts include the requirement that I stay out of stores for our up and coming young citizens. I’m sure I’ll be back in them soon enough anyway, shopping for the next generation.

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