Monday, August 31, 2015

5 Beauty Lessons I Learned From My '90s Mall Job

A photo posted by Shannon Ray (Gloss And Dirt) (@glossanddirt) on

I grew up in a relatively small town, and teenaged it up in the '90s. So, suffice it to say, malls were everything. And kind of the only thing to do, save hanging out in giant groups in front of 7-11 and paging people from payphones. I worked at CHAMPS SPORTS in the mall, which is probably the most ill-fitting mall job I could ever have, as a staunch sports h8r.

Before we get started here, let me set the scene for you: I was wearing a pink ice ring and a gold anklet I got from the mall jewelry kiosk, which hit my ankle just above my Adidas shell-toes or Pumas, depending on the day at Champs. I had a haircut and chunky highlights also from the mall (see above), but more on that later. It was 1998.

This was actually my third job, and maybe where I learned the most. At least beauty-wise. My second job was at a car dealership, where I learned that men in their 30's will give 16-year-old girls cigarettes if asked, but that's not a super-helpful Soul Sunday lesson. Instead, let's go to the mall and see what I beauty info I gleaned from doing time there.

1. Jerry Maguire is an actual person.

Okay, so I straight-up lied to your face. There are only four beauty lessons here. This first one has nothing to do with beauty, but I needed to share this story with the world (i.e. the five people that will read this). My Assistant Manager's name at Champs Sports was JERRY MAGUIRE. And I could never get over it.

Him: "Hi, I'm the new Assistant Manager, Jerry Maguire"

Me: "Wait, what? Like JERRY MAGUIRE, Jerry Maguire????"

Him: "Yes."

Me: "Wow! What was that like, when you first heard about the movie? Did you freak out? Did you scream in the movie theater? Did you pee just a little bit? Did you slap someone with a pair of satin gloves?"

Him: "No. It wasn't really a big deal."


YOU DON'T EVEN DESERVE A MOVIE NAME, SIR. NOT EVEN A TOM CRUISE MOVIE. I spoke to him as little as possible after that.

2. Mall hair cuts can eff you up, man.

My actual haircut was pretty much this gif. It was very shitty.

I got my hair done in the mall because, uhh doy, I worked there and could strut my ass down there in less time than it took to drink an Orange Julius. A perfectly pleasant-ish woman close to retirement age would highlight and cut it to my non-specification every couple months. I said I wanted to have hair the color of Heather Locklear's (THIS IS SO '90s), and ended up with chunky highlights. I told her to give my a fun haircut, and ended up having THAT for my senior pictures.

Listen, #NotAllMallHaircuts are bad haircuts. Just choose your adventure carefully. And bring extra Heather Locklear pictures.

3. Work your shit, even when you get in trouble for it.

A part of the Champs Sports sporty uniform included khaki shorts. My shorts happened to be very short khaki shorts. During one of my short-shorted shifts, the Regional Manager came to visit the store. This man informed me that my shorts were too short. I told him I wasn't changing, and the only reason people even came in the store was because of my shorts. Oh, 17-year-old bravado, you are such an asshole-y card. I somehow did not get fired, or even in trouble, and I kept wearing the shorts.

Bottom line -- if ever there is a time to show all that gam, it's when you're a rude 17-year-old. So do you, and eff what a mid-level manager type has to say. Have you seen Kylie Jenner?

4. You can still lace up a Nike with really long acrylic nails.

My high school acrylic nails were long as hell. They were so long that they almost started curling back toward my palm. But I didn't let those plastic talons hold me back from completing my mall job duties. I could lace a K Swiss in record time. I could spray the Michael Jordan cologne sample on the drop of a dime. (Am I writing a poem right now?) I could ring up those no-show athletic socks tout suite.

Other non-mall job duties I could perform included: inserting/removing contact lenses, applying chocolate brown lipstick with just a hint of frost, and opening and closing the clasps on chokers from Contempo Casuals.

Don't you ever let someone tell you your beauty choices are limiting and ridiculous, even if they probably are.

5. Cocoa butter is the tits.

My manager at Champs Sports was a giant of a man with deep, glowy skin, and probably the last person I would think would give my a beauty love to last a lifetime. He was a really manly type of dude.

But one day, after a long shift of my adolescent complaining about dry hands, he opened a drawer and tossed me a tube of something. "What's this?" I said, completely unfamiliar with this new lotion he had tossed into my Edward Scissorhands hands. He was like, "You've never heard of cocoa butter? Try it." AND THAT'S WHEN I FELL IN MF-ing LOVE. (With the cocoa butter, not the manager. He was like 30-something.)

If you have read this blog for even three seconds, you know I have an undying, ride-or-die love for cocoa butter. It's one of the only products I have used consistently for over 15 years. And I owe it all to that man, whose name I can't remember, because it wasn't Jerry Maguire.

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