Today’s teenagers are impossibly cool.
It’s a different crowd than the one I remember from high school. Of course, as a kid who was socially awkward and often wore her gym t-shirt all day out of laziness, I remember being intimidated by any fellow student who owned name brand flip-flops and seemed to have some level of control over her hair.
We had our cool kids, but even they had limits.
Now we’re talking droves of beautiful, poised, Instagram-famous teenagers who go to brunch and buy themselves fresh flowers and somehow acquire VIP passes to hang out backstage with The 1975.
You’ve seen them - drinking Vita Coco, taking Snapchats of their crop tops and cool dark red lipstick that I just can’t pull off.
I’m not ashamed to admit that when I stumble across these confident, cool groups of teenagers congregating by Anthropologie and using slang I don’t understand, I avert my eyes and start looking for a nearby exit. Even as an educated adult with a full-time job, I still find myself incredibly terrified by these “hip” teens.
Should you find yourself trapped in the same space as these intimidating teens at the mall, here are some strategies to remove yourself from the situation before you accidentally refer to them as “hip” out loud.
Be the wind beneath the angel wings in Victoria’s Secret
You will sense they’re coming by the sudden flash of a glitter-encrusted iPhone case that is both more expensive and cooler than yours. There are mere moments before they storm the gates and come flooding in to talk about which strapless bras are “Coachella-approved.”
Drop the pajama set you were considering and duck behind the closest pair of feathery angel wings. You’re standing behind a Gigi Hadid-sized mannequin, so they’ll still be able to see you, but this will give you enough coverage to pretend to browse a table of thongs until the teens move deeper into the store and you can escape.
Construct a smoke and glitter exit at Sephora
One second, you’re trying to figure out the difference between “Xtra Lash Blast Smoky Eye” and “Super Lash Fab Eye Fusion” mascara, the next, you’re surrounded by teens in vintage 90’s flannels who need to squeeze past you to get to the contouring kits.
Cover your unplucked eyebrows in shame, spray all the Chanel No. 5 you can, and disappear in a cloud of perfume.
Find yourself frozen in Banana Republic
You wisely skipped over H&M and Forever 21, but you never expected this ambush at Banana Republic. Your minimum-wage high school job barely covered gas and lunch, but somehow these teens are wearing $90 cardigans.
Stay exactly where you are - on the floor, tangled in clearance rack hangers, because these teens are attracted to movement. In fifteen minutes, they’ll be snapping selfies in the dressing room and you’ll have a clear exit.
Camouflage at Urban Outfitters
Proceed with caution, because not only do cool teenagers shop here - they work here. If you can slip in the door unnoticed, head for the apartment section and stay firmly put, because you will be judged if you even think of trying on one of those bohemian floppy hats.
Carrying a geometric planter and a $55 candle will camouflage you long enough to do your shopping, but stay alert. If a cool teen approaches you, throw a Lana del Rey vinyl record at them and RUN.
Seek refuge at the Auntie Anne’s Pretzels
These teens are disciplined and would never let carbs ruin their aesthetic. You can rest safely in the food court, amongst the moms buying their children’s silence with butter-dipped, doughy goodness.
Don’t let yourself become a victim of intimidating Instagram-famous teenager judgement. The only foolproof technique is to develop an unbreakable self-esteem that can handle knowing that you’ll never look as good in ankle booties and your vacation photos will never be as perfectly curated.
Or just start shopping when those little fuckers are in school.
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