With Christmas season upon us, it seems like the right time to offer a quick tour of the area’s local shopping establishments. Previously, we’ve looked at the Green Tree Mall and Oxmoor Center . Today we turn our attention to Jefferson Mall, voted “Number One Place to Get Your Left Ear Pierced” by Southern High School’s Class of 1988.
Jefferson Mall – Middle Earth, Kentucky
PROS: For many of us who grew up in Louisville, Jefferson Mall was the “alternative” mall. While all your east end friends were adjusting their ascots and cleaning their monocles, listening to Depeche Mode and feasting on French Dip sandwiches after a long day of shopping at Banana Republic, you were out at J-Mall in your fringed suede jacket, choking down Orange Julius and blaring Ratt from your Walkman, contemplating the proper way to huff a butane lighter.
In many ways, Jefferson Mall is still alternative. For example, while most shopping centers sell useful articles of clothing, such as sweaters or slacks, J-Mall has at least twenty stores where you can buy a tuxedo, zoot suit, or any number of outfits for those tricky professional situations that demand you dress like Morris Day. Additionally, all of these stores have names that include the words Man, Male, Casual, or Today. In fact, I’m pretty sure there was one called “Today’s Yesterday Casual Man Male.”
Jefferson Mall is also the premiere place to buy air-brushed attire. You can get literally anything on a t-shirt: Tupac, Biggie, Tupac and Biggie, Biggie and Tupac. It’s overwhelming. Personally, I went with Biggie and me wearing cowboy hats and eating corn dogs while surfboarding.
If you are a man, your shopping experience will be enhanced if you have facial hair. At least, that’s my assumption based on the fact that literally every dude there (including me) had some. Goatees, Van Dykes, moustaches, or even that dirty looking thing where you leave just a thin line of hair across your entire jaw bone so that if a serial killer ever catches you, he can easily cut your face off by gliding his rusty scalpel across your pencil thin beard-like thing.
If you are a woman, your shopping experience will be enhanced if you spend the entire time looking completely pissed off. I mean this in the nicest possible way when I say I seriously thought that any lady I made eye contact with would bite me until I bled out.
CONS: As someone who lived for a time in that area and who spent a great deal of his youth at J-Mall, I struggle to find legitimate criticisms with this place. Therefore, for the next few paragraphs I will assume the role of one of Louisville’s “shopping elite.”
Do you remember that scene in Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers where Saruman builds that giant army of Orcs, and there’s just lava and surliness spilling out all over the place? That’s exactly what it looks like when you approach Jefferson Mall – anger and heat. At least Green Tree Mall had the courage to outlaw battle axes. Shame on you, Jefferson Mall!
Furthermore, there were so many kiosks, I thought I had been transported to some sort of gypsy street market. At one of them, a strange woman – with a pony tail no less – offered to give me a free massage. It starts with a neck rub, then the next thing you know, she’s captured your soul and placed it in a cursed gypsy wind chime, trapped forever until a coven of witches spills the blood of some random barnyard animal.
And finally, did you know that Jefferson Mall is located on the same street as a White Castle?!? Whatever happened to the high ideals we’ve come to expect from our country’s shopping malls? Maybe they should just convert the place into a maximum security prison, where street urchins and mythical pig warriors give each other voodoo back rubs and practice poor portion control while denying the good people of Louisville access to an American Eagle Outfitters!
Now that I think about it, I do have one legitimate criticism. At some point, they shut down Frederick’s of Hollywood. Although that place was straight up nasty, I feel like by not hanging out there more as a young man, I missed my best chance of meeting an actual high end porn star.
Does it have a Hot Topic? Yes. In fact, I had the pleasure of watching a middle aged woman engage in a lively debate with her nine year-old daughter about which Wiz Khalifa shirt they should buy for grandma – the one where he’s taking a hit off a fatty or the other one where he’s taking a hit off a fatty.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that although this particular Hot Topic had several Metallica shirts, they did not have one featuring the Master of Puppets album cover, which anyone from Fern Creek will tell you (me included) is an f’ing crime against humanity. Thomas Jefferson would be spinning in his grave if he knew the mall he built with his own two hands would allow such an injustice to occur.
Melt Down for the Ages: While shopping at Spencer’s Gifts (or as I like to call it “T-Shirts About Weed and Romance”), I saw a young man get particularly bent out of shape because the shirt he wanted to buy, which referenced a woman and something called “German Knuckle Cake,” did not come in his size.
I’m not sure he truly melted down, but his tantrum did seem unnecessary considering they had an equally disgusting shirt about something called a “Sioux City Omelet” that should have fit him. Or at least I’m assuming it would have fit, considering he was roughly the same size as me and mine fit just fine.
Final Rating: Jefferson Mall is the bomb. Although it’s not the prettiest thing to look at, it has more personality than a young Steve Guttenberg. I love this place so much that I won’t stoop to another closing joke about your mom, as that would be disrespectful to Jefferson Mall. I give it fourteen Calvins-peeing-on-a-Ford-logo out of a possible sixteen.