Wednesday, September 2, 2009

forever 21: friend or foe?

let's get real here: we are in a recession. no bones about it. we're all broke, cranky, anxious, and if you're in new york, on the verge of combustion from the sun's incessant assailing rays. all this taken into account, us ladies, we still all want to look good. no one wants to go job hunting looking like a shabby wabby, but being monetarily stunted can put a damper on donning yves saint laurent's finest, and even the fendi bags on canal st. are suffering the effects of inflation. what's a girl to do?

instead of the clouds parting, harkening to the angel's choir, and rainbows shooting out of my ass as I'm lifted to the retail hosannah in the highest, I climb wearily out of the fetid, swampy subway, bust out my sweat rag for a satisfying wipe, and throw elbows on 14th street like a shadowboxing breakdancer to get to the front doors of the discount fashion mecca:

ah, made it. I always try and give a nod of recognition to the security guard in the doorway because I feel like not many people do, and they've got to just stand there all day bored out of their minds lamenting on how pointless and boring their job is. (it beats being a fluffer, but not by much more than a bee's ass. ) now, it's time to start the dig. you know where you are, and you know what you're facing: mediocrity, lycra and broken teenaged dreams. you're being assailed from every angle by offensive fluorescently colored halter tops and plaid overall shorts that only a mother could love. this isn't just about convenience and value anymore, it's about the thrill of the chase, the huntress on a mission, and how high your tolerance for psychic pain is.

somewhere, deep in the forever 21 jungle that is inhabited by long island chippies and bronx cholas alike, is the triple cherry jackpot of 19.99 sundresses. we all know it's there, and that's why we go. it's the fashion blood on the dancefloor, it's the holy grail of a date dress, it's the perfect hot pants that august has pined for so fruitlessly... and it's so close you can almost taste the chic, swirling floral print of a darling topshop knockoff.

about a half an hour into the search, I've got an armful of hopefuls. a couple of onesies, an article with way too much taffeta but perfectly placed sequins, and maybe a pair of jeans from the bargain bin that are a size too small to practice wishful thinking. now to face the dressing room. the line is 20 strong and seemingly stagnant, and I'm running out of patience and friends to text. at this point I have no choice but to pay attention to the music, and I've deemed forever 21 the only place on earth in which I don't feel guilty listening to lady gaga. the 8th grader in front of me knows the words and the dance from the video and the 35 year old woman behind me is reading twilight and fighting back tears.

once inside the room, I pull the curtain closed behind me and try to keep as covered as possible as I'm changing because of the frequency with which I've been walked in on at this particular establishment. I usually try on what I'm most hopeful about first, so that the rest of the outfits turning out horribly is less irksome in the end. the zipper is pulled up, a few buttons fastened, and voila! there it is. the one dress I was sure was the one... and now I'm staring in the funhouse style mirror that makes my skull look like a pinhead and coming to the realization that cap sleeves make me appear uncomfortably similar to a powderpuff linebacker listening to a song about "riding a disco stick". beacon's closet is starting to look pretty good, again.

I've decided after my 900th bout with trial and error that resulted in self esteem stock plummeting and 2.34 panic attacks, that I'm returning to my all-thrifting, all the time policy until I win the super lotto or find a better job. forever 21 is strictly a supplier of cheap sunglasses and frilly underpants from here on out.

RIP forevs + christina, forevs.

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