Mall Benches

imageI’ve never really been a fan of the mall, even though each one has probably about five stores that I adore. Because for every Best Buy there are five ladies clothing stores, and for each five minutes spent in Kay B Toys there are two hours spent holding a purse while even more clothing gets tried on. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not complaining. Just telling it like it is.

From the time I was a kid I got used to mall trips. When Sears was in the mall it was all about portraits. Now my family didn’t get portraits every single year, and sometimes they were taken in the back of Pathmark or Acme, but occasionally we would doll ourselves up for the Sears drill. That involved more money than was probably prudent but it produced better results than the back of Pathmark, at least my mother said so.

And I would see the boyfriends, husbands, and fathers sitting on benches outside of the food court, the men who always looked bored and lost, like they had just stumbled in and couldn’t find their way out again. They twiddled their thumbs or stretched their arms over the balcony behind them that led to lower floors that carried even more women’s clothing stores. These men would only stir to relieve their ladies of bags on their way to the next store.

I vowed never to be one of those bored, lost guys sitting on mall benches, waiting for the next bag to be dumped in their laps. Yet here I am, at the biggest mall in Syracuse, trailing behind my wife and children, waiting for that next bag. And it’s okay. I guess time does indeed change things because it’s 30 years later and I know young boys are passing me in the halls of the mall and are wondering how I can still be smiling while holding these bags.


It’s because I avoid those benches. Plain and simple. Those guys I remember from way back when, all they did was sit and stew about how they didn’t want to be in the mall, about how they’d rather be somewhere else. Well, they shouldn’t have come then. Don’t think that you’re doing your lady a favor by “being there” for her because you’re not. You’re being there for the bench. She could bring a rolling case to keep her bags in. She wanted to spend time with you as you support her in her retail therapy, not look for you on the nearest bench.

So I go into the stores, and I offer my honest opinion on her selections, and I blog about the experience while we wait in the Apple store for the “geniuses” to fix my daughter’s iPad. I enjoy my family time because that’s what it is, not my private time with a bench I may never see again. And I smile because this is what I signed on for 11 years ago when I married the woman of my dreams.

And yes, she lets me go to Best Buy every once in awhile too. I’m good.



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