I work two jobs, both in a suburban shopping mall. Malls like this are an ideal place for people watching. Sitting at the back register today, I've seen a troup of mall goths trying to decide if it's worth attempting to steal manga from right under my nose. I've seen at least one man trapped perpetually in the 80s, unfashionable acid-washed jeans and a beautifully tough girlfriend who looks like she gets out in the deer blind with him.
And I've seen my favorite, the mom-teen.
Let me explain. This is not like the television show, where young women who somehow decided that allowing a tv camera to film an extremely stressful portion of their lives was a good idea air their dirty laundry exploitatively. Notice the reversal of the words, as well as the hyphen. These are both indicative of what you're looking for. These are the women (and occasionally men, though this is far less common) who dress like their kids. They parade in a PINK Victoria's Secret hoodie over a matching tee, with jeans that are more bedazzled than their daughters and a complexion that is giving over to leathery.
Am I being harsh? Yes. But I think it comes more from a feeling of pity than anything else. These people, the mom-teens, the mall goths, the sex-section browsers (I didn't mention them by design, as they often are the most uncomfortable people to watch) are all acting this way because, as I see it, they don't really know themselves. They haven't really found a direction and cling to this 'other' instead.
I'm not the most self-aware person. Let's be honest, going back through this blog and my old livejournal (man, that's embarrassing to read) there are more than a few 'woe is me, I'm alone forever' entries. But with changes in a few things (body-chemistry and medicine being part of it) I'm feeling a lot better, and more human. I've found some stuff to believe in.
And the best part? I don't need to wear bedazzled jeans.