Abercrombie and Fit

December 9, 2008

Well, my dears, last weekend I finally decided my babies were grown up enough for Abercrombie and Fitch. A sensitive moment in any mother’s life, this – a passing of the baton, if you will. Though of course I didn’t take the treasures to the shop. Oh no, after the stories I’ve heard, I thought I’d better check it out myself first.

Off I went, and by the time I’d finished searching for other essentials (all right, I admit, the odd little nugget of choc might have slipped into my bag from nearby Fortnum and Mason …) the skies were inky black and the shoppers were getting restive. There may be a crunch on, but tell that to 4,000 disgruntled shoppers, none of whom have factored in the 3,999 other shoppers getting right in their way.

I veered off Piccadilly in search of Burlington Gardens, and trawled along past various swanky stores, noticing vaguely that there seemed to be a commotion ahead. Gradually, it dawned on me that the commotion was the Abercrombie and Fitch shop. The road seemed to be blocked off by great swarms of teenagers. Outside the premises was a red rope barrier, like those guarding swanky nightclubs, complete with menacing looking bouncers, all dressed in black with strange bluetooth headsets clamped to their shaved craniums. In front of the shop and snaking all the way back onto Piccadilly was a queue of sighing girl teens, a cloud of Impulse and hairspray destroying the ozone all around them. Meanwhile, posturing before the doors themselves was a half-naked teenage boy. Yes, with his shirt off, displaying – I’m afraid I did notice – a perfectly toned, evenly browned, slightly sheeny carcass. Yes, more than a bit like the turkey we Mummies fantasise about yanking out of the oven on Christmas day.

A very strange business indeed. This half-clad lad, it turns out, is a sort of human billboard for Abercrombie and Fitch. Buy the hoodie, get the body, as it were. See the logic? No, me neither. But at least the nation’s teens will be wearing nice warm sweatshirts as they slump in front of their tellies, convinced they now have washboard tums, if A and F have their way.

Back to the shop, where I was still puzzled. Were the girls queueing to meet the half-naked boy? Or to get into the shop? If it was the latter, there was no way I was going to join in the wait. I pushed past the bouncers and stomped into the premises, already annoyed. Once inside, I looked around, blinking in the half-light, wondering what on earth was going on. Either A and F are incredibly energy conscious, using even lower wattage bulbs than Ikea, or they are purposefully trying to extend the nightclub conceit even inside. Of course, as soon as I started trying to locate Christmas gifts for the treasures, I saw the problem with this. Apart from being irritating, it also renders it virtually impossible to choose a ridiculously over-priced sweatshirt, as you just can’t see the colours. But, by this time, I was almost past caring, and determined not to come back. Ever. Did I mention the thumping pop music? Or the great gaggles of dimwitted teens clogging the place up so you can barely move? It was now or never. I grabbed two hoodies and asked a perfectly toned and turned-out assistant where the till was. ‘Turn right at the naked man and join the queue,’ the child smirked. ‘Would you like your photo taken with the naked man?’ he asked. ‘Not even, ‘ I said, with all the dignity I had left, ‘if he begged me.’

With that, I pushed and shoved my way to the till queue, obediently turning left at another perfectly basted specimen of muscled boyhood, waiting ten minutes in pulsatingly loud semi-darkness, for the privilege of being ripped off to the tune of £70 each for the hoodies! My God, I’ve made some sacrifices for my children – my body and my career spring to mind – but this may be the ultimate. I just hope they’re happy on Christmas Day. Sniff.

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  • Lindsay December 10, 2008 at 2:32 am

    What an awful experience. I do not go near the shops in December – the thing I loathe most in life is the muzak especially jingle bells – it must drive the staff mad in the stores. Perhaps this is why A & F had dimmed lighting – the staff probably all had migraines!

  • rosiero December 10, 2008 at 3:54 am

    I bet next year you’ll opt for brightly-lit, no-frills Primark!! Who was the semi-naked boy, anyway?

  • splodge December 11, 2008 at 5:15 am

    Hilariously written post – again! Tee-flippin-hee!

    Thank goodness my teenager now shops for his own clothes as my choices are considered uncool.

  • jenny smith December 11, 2008 at 10:18 am

    gosh, DD, it sounds like our Woolworths in Twickenham this morning.

    I have heard about that amazing shop but fortunately my daughter hasn’t! so will make the most of that. Do like swanky shops tho’. Would love to walk through that Burlington arcade again.


  • Anonymous December 11, 2008 at 3:47 pm

    D2 – spectacular post as ever. Does this mean that I should no longer shop at ?

    (I think that is where A&F get their ideas and stock)

  • Susanna (A Modern Mother) December 14, 2008 at 8:37 am

    Great post! The things mother’s do…

  • Susanna (A Modern Mother) December 15, 2008 at 1:47 am

    Also, included you in the best of the British Mummy bloggers list … you may want to put your two pence into the debate…

  • DulwichDivorcee December 18, 2008 at 5:48 am

    Lindsay, you are undoubtedly right – it was the most migraine-inducing shop ever. I’m afraid I secretly quite like canned jingle bells music though, sorry xx

  • DulwichDivorcee December 18, 2008 at 5:49 am

    The semi-naked boy was a kind of human advert for A and F’s fares – sadly, you don’t get one free with every purchase. I do love Primark – they had some fab £4 nighties last time I was in xx

  • DulwichDivorcee December 18, 2008 at 5:50 am

    Thank you dear Splodgy and aren’t you lucky to have a self-service teen lad? Maybe you could hire him out to A and F??x

  • DulwichDivorcee December 18, 2008 at 5:51 am

    Hi Jenny, I would leave Burlington Arcade until well after the sales, is like a war zone at the moment, I think people are extra-aggressive this year because they can’t afford to buy anything …well, that goes for me, anyway x

  • DulwichDivorcee December 18, 2008 at 5:52 am

    Oooh, Anon, I did love your fashionfornerds, what a great site and a very useful public service. Should be compulsory viewing for all teenage boys (and their daddies. Thank you x

  • DulwichDivorcee December 18, 2008 at 5:54 am

    Susanna, I’m so excited! Thank you for putting me on your list of glory, what a lovely surprise! I shall certainly hurl my views into the Mummy maelstrom forthwith ….x