Saturday, June 23, 2007

Friday Night At The Mall

Mrs G's car is in the shop... we are having a new evaporator installed for the Air Conditioner, because summer in Virginia is no place to be with AC that doesn't work. The chap in the shop told me that the car would be finished right around closing time... they were almost done with it.

Because we were going to have to be on the other side of I-95 towards the end of rush-hour, and those of you in Northern Virginia know exactly what I am talking about, we figured that we would make an afternoon of it. After picking up soccergirl from the baby-sitter's house, we went to the public library, where sg was able to check out several books and enroll in the summer reading program. After leaving the library, we went to the mall (Potomac Mills) just to kill some more time, while the car was finished (the shop was across the street from the mall)... which brings us to the title of this post.

I can't speak for the malls where many of you might live, but I wouldn't be shocked to find that your malls, like ours, have become the new town centers. The place where people go to just walk around or shop, eat, browse, watch people, and if you are a teenager, to date, see, and be seen. It is the latter group that I want to talk about.

Mrs G and I often call Friday/Saturday nights "Date Night At The Mall" because of all of the teenagers, in knots of four and five that stroll around the mall, all hugged-up like no tomorrow. You see them in the various groups. From the popular ones in their carefully selected, too-provocative-for-their-age, clothing, to the pasty looking Goths in their black clothes and dyed-black hair.

These groups hang together, swirling around the mall having the time of their young lives. One of the things that you can't help but note in these groups is that they tend to be, with the exception of the Goths) almost completely racially and ethnically mixed. Amazing.

Again, I can't speak for where you live, but what I see here, in my little world, is that these kids tend to mix quite well together. I suppose I shouldn't be shocked, or even surprised, considering the demographics of where we live. I am pleased to see it, because you sure as hell didn't see it where/when I was in high school.

When I was in high school, the black kids and the white kids got along just fine, but at 3 o'clock, when the last bell rang, everyone went home to "their own" neighborhoods. There was very little social interaction.

I digress... anyway, while we are in the mall on a Friday or Saturday evening, we see/hear some of the funniest or most interesting things: Like the kid at the bookstore telling his friends that eh is enlisting in the Marines, while his friends and teary-eyed girlfriend try to convince him not to; or the really er... voluptuous girl who looks like she is just about to explode out of her clothes; the Goth kid talking to a non-Goth girl, while her friends snicker; the boys doing their gangly best to look strong and manly, the girls teetering about in ridiculously high heels just to traipse through the mall (some of them just look like strippers!)

All of this activity starts around 6:30... and makes for some really fun entertainment. Our Mall adventure ended right around seven last night, and we went to the shop to get the car... which wasn't finished... but that is another story, my friends. I have to end now, because I have to cut the grass and do all of the other stuff I need to get done before I run out of time today (my first no-soccer Saturday in months!).




cathouse teri said...

In our Southern California area, the mall is the most amazing place. You can get a table outside of Red Robin and just sit and watch the entrance as people pour in on Friday or Saturday evenings. They look so happy! Like they are going to Disneyland or something! But I'm not sure if there was trouble or if they just don't wanna have any trouble, because they have a rule that kids can't hang around in groups larger than three. (and if you are "ethnically challenged" they might not even let you be in a group of three!) Security all over the place. I think they even wear roller blades. :)

But yeah, malls seem to have become the social centers.

Gunfighter said...


In our local malls there is some of that... I don't know about restrictions in groups sizes, but the mall prohibits wearing red or blue hats/scarves/do-rags etc...

Lola Gets said...

I was at Potomac Mills three weeks ago, and I noticed the same thing: groups of racially diverse teens just "hanging out." But thats something I always see in NoVA. Im from Washington, DC, and for the most part, we hung out in racially homogenous groups, so thats something I always take note of when traveling elsewhere.

And call me old school, call me old fashioned, but sometimes hanging out in Virginia freakes me out! I once went to a nightclub in the Tysons Corner area, and I was hit on by a man from every continent on the earth! Im not used to that crap in the DC! Hell, I didnt even get that when I was at Smith! Im not against it...Im just not used to it, lol.

Young people are just taking things to a "whole nother level!"


Heather said...

Hi GF! I see I am your Blog buddy for the exchange next month. Shoot (ha ha) me an email at cool_zebras at hotmail dot com so we can hook up!

BTW, I voted for your post last month!!

Hahn at Home said...

GF - It's been 40 years since the Supreme Court's Loving decision duked out in your very own state.

I am amazed at my kids' friends - Indian, African-American, Asian--Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, and so on. The kids all seem to get along just fine. But, none of them can wear red to school.

They are odd teenagers though--they don't hang at the mall.

Desert Songbird said...

To be honest, I don't know about the state of our malls since we don't frequent them. I do know that the trend in shopping is now these "village" shopping areas, and most of them contain high-end stores and eateries. Most shoppers don't want to walk around the mall (probably because of the hordes of teens!); they just want to go to the one store and get in and out quickly.

These villages offer nice ambiance, though, and they are places to see and be seen. They have flower-covered pergolas, fountains, benches, and artwork. I've only visited a couple of them, mostly to shop at a specific store or eat at a given restaurant, but I don't see many teens there.

I know what you mean about the demographically mixed groups nowadays amongst kids. My neighborhood is considered upper-middle class, and my children's friends are of all cultures, religions, and races. It's a nice change from when I grew up the "brown skinned" kid in 1960s Midwest America.

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