It’s been an odd year for mall sightings, which on the surface is neither completely good nor completely bad. Certainly none of this year’s “mall haul” compares with the best of what I’ve scored in years past as my all-time top-10 mall sightings have some truly incredible entries, but this year the limitations of mall sightings that I’ve grumbled about before got the best of me and this year’s entries all feature a taste of top-tier sightings bliss that were regrettably undermined by bad timing and logistical challenges. With better timing and a more tangible “storyline”, all four of these sightings would be worthy of my all-time top-10 list of mall sightings, but said limitations instead force me to put an asterisk next to them as honorable mentions to my Hall of Fame. With that said, I think readers will enjoy these for what they’re worth…
#4. The first sighting on this year’s list from a Saturday in late July epitomizes the term “short but incredible”. I had just begun driving laps around central Iowa’s most upscale mall after spending a couple of hours fetishing and only seconds after firing up my car engine I turned the corner and saw a middle-aged woman and a blond 17ish teenage daughter walking from their car towards the entrance of the Younkers store. I was temporarily breathless when I observed that the young daughter had a half-smoked cigarette between her fingers. I made eye contact with both mom and daughter as mom motioned for me to keep driving and that she and the daughter would wait for me to pass before they proceeded. I only got a modest look at the daughter and while she wasn’t an incredible beauty, she was nonetheless quite attractive for a present-day underage smoker smoking a cigarette publicly in the presence of her nonsmoking mom. Her long bleach-blond hair went down her back onto her John Deere green tanktop, and a pair of tight black leggings framed her wonderfully slender young lower body. Having passed in front of them in my car I feverishly looped around to the fairly open parking lot and parked my car in a stall just soon enough to see the blond girl standing near the ashtray and taking a final drag from her cigarette before following mom inside.
Once they were inside, I sprinted into Younkers behind them and they cooperated by hovering near the entrance looking at displays in the front of the store. There was the cutiepie casually browsing through some female clothing and looking so wonderfully feminine doing so. She was turning around and we were about to pass next to each other. I was hoping she would reek of fresh cigarette smoke and suffice it to say the girl didn’t disappoint. I was genuinely struck by how badly she stunk and was hopeful that some helpful cashier would approach and take note of the foul odor she was emitting too. I think she may have been the smelliest smoker girl I encountered all year, at least at a close enough range for my olfactory senses to be this offended. I exited the store to check out her debris and the only cigarette in the ashtray was a Marlboro Red butt. Pretty hard-core for my wholesome-looking blond cutie.
I went back to my car with the plan to drive more laps around the mall. After one lap, I got it in my head that a girl of her caliber was worth waiting outside the mall to see again in hopes she’d light up again when she came out. But as I started to think it through, I didn’t even know which car was theirs and I didn’t want to wait there for hours if that’s how long it took to leave, so I ended up not sticking around. Still, every time I circled the mall and approached that Younkers entrance for the next half hour or so that I drove laps, I held my breath in anticipation of seeing mom and her stinky daughter exiting the mall again, ideally lighting up another Marlboro Red. Unfortunately it never happened.
#3. Less than a half hour later on that same late July Saturday at central Iowa’s most upscale mall I scored my first leg of a sighting that was even more frustrating, even though the still had and still has the potential to produce a rock star moment. But as happens far too often with sightings at the mall, logistics screwed me over. Some young dude was walking near me outside a mall entrance and he spotted an early-20s brunette taking a seat on an obscure bench nestled in a mall crevice where it’s impossible for a stalker to watch. Great! The guy apparently knew the girl–a decently attractive brunette in a black blouse and dark jean shorts–and asked if she minded having a smoke with him. I did the best I could to hover near the edge of the sidewalk to see snippets of a sighting out of the corner of my eye. From out of the brunette’s purse came a pack of Camel Pink Lights….don’t see that every day! She proceeded to extract a cigarette and light it up, but then got very distracted in her conversation with the guy and her straightening out the wires on whatever electronic device she was preparing to listen to…quite possibly an iPod. I assumed this girl was on a work break, but that scenario didn’t match how casually she was dressed, so it just didn’t make sense.
Anyway, it was adorable watching her deftly hold that freshly lit all-white cigarette between her fingers while unwinding the cords on that iPhone/electronic device….and it must have taken her five minutes to get it in working condition. Once she finally got that straightened out, she began attending to her cigarette more judiciously, with nice long drags and cloudy exhales that came mostly from her mouth. Unfortunately, I was not gonna be in a position to linger and watch this at my awkward standing position so I walked away for a bit hoping to catch a brief encore in passing a few minutes later. When I returned, she flung the smoldering cigarette to her right as piggishly as humanly possible and not bothering to crush it out. Nothing more adorable than cute young smoker girls behaving as rudely as they possibly can. I lingered just long enough to see her reach for her pack and fire up a second cigarette. Gah! Why couldn’t she be sitting at a bench more accessible for stalking so I could see this impressive show upclose for a sustained sighting!??!?!
I was lingering waiting for her to leave so I could see how nice her body was but she wasn’t going anywhere. The guy smoking with her left, but in a few minutes, another guy came out and sat next to her on the same bench for a smoke break. Great! Just great! It was time to move on, but I never fully left the area and wanted to make further passes in the minutes ahead. On my first pass, she was silently listening to whatever was coming out of her earbuds sans a cigarette while the dude next to her was still smoking. But on the second pass, there she was, smoking her third cigarette in the last 20 minutes still listening to her music.
She didn’t seem to be going anywhere as the minutes passed so I ventured on, ultimately driving my laps around the mall. She was gone from that bench on the first pass but on the second pass, she sat at another nearby bench smoking at least her FOURTH cigarette of the last hour, this time with two middle-aged guys she didn’t know on both sides of her, one seated on the bench next to her and one standing. Perhaps they were fellow fetishers enjoying a lovely show but given how close they were to her it had to be awkward. I turned around in the parking lot to make another pass and get a better look, and my timing was good as she was taking the final drag from her cigarette and, once again, boarishly flung the butt to the ground without crushing it out despite the fact that there was an ashtray only inches to her right, then stood up to go back inside the mall. I finally got to admire a nice female body in jean shorts and was able to follow her ass with my eyes as she went inside. Obviously a sighting like this at a fairgrounds would have the capacity to really stand out, but unfortunately I didn’t see enough actual smoking with this one to rate it in the top-tier despite her heavy consumption and terrible manners. Still, it was an excellent appetizer to my county fair which was only two days away.
Fast forward to October when, after a full day of mediocre sightings at this same mall, I was wrapping up the day driving laps around the mall and took notice of the same bench in the inverted space near Barnes and Noble to see an early 20s dark brunette smoking a cigarette. I was able to get just close enough of a look on my drive past to discover it was the same girl from July who smoked four Camel Pink Lights during a half-hour period. She clearly must have some close association with this mall even though she certainly wasn’t dressed in a work outfit. It wasn’t quite the T-shirt and jean shorts she was wearing in the summer, but it was nonetheless a very casual T-shirt and jeans ensemble, with the medium-blue pair of jeans looking incredibly tight as she sat cross-legged talking into her phone. The best I could do was take repeated laps around the lanes of the parking lot that led to her bench as even if I parked my car to approach her in person, I still wouldn’t be able to score an extended upclose sighting with her sitting at that inaccessible inverted bench. So for the next 10 minutes I just circled laps around the lot, catching her in mid-drag on several occasions while chatting on the phone, occasionally releasing her smoke by way of talking exhales but usually just expelling nice streams of straight-ahead smoke from her mouth. The girl wasn’t gorgeous and wouldn’t stand out in the crowd under normal circumstances, but the combination of her “girl-next-door sexy” outfits and her heavy smoking and obnoxious butt disposal gave her a needed extra sizzle that I couldn’t get enough of.
And I had a feeling I knew what was coming amidst my laps around the parking lot and she came through, obnoxiously flinging her spent butt to the ground next to the bench and making no attempt to crush it out, and then breezily opening her pack of Camel Pink Lights to extract another. I wasn’t able to see the light-up but by the time my car was back there moments later she was smoking a freshly lit cigarette. I made a couple more laps around the lot and caught a couple more drags while she continued to chat on the phone, but this pattern was growing tiresome and I wasn’t seeing what I wanted from it so eventually I just kept on driving. By the time I was back to the spot near Barnes and Noble, my smoker was gone. I pulled into the nearest parking spot and approached the bench, finding two Camel Pink Light butts that were very recently flung next to the bench by the young brunette cutie who smoked them.
Every time I go this mall now I approach this bench whenever it’s empty and check out all the rudely flung cigarette butts near it, and there are always several. In the past, it was primarily Camel Pink No. 9s or Camel Pink Lights, but I was surprised when in early December it was mostly Camel Crush butts polluting the area. I didn’t jump to any conclusions but about an hour into the day I was approaching the area on foot when a familiar face emerged from the bench and was heading towards the mall. It was the decently attractive early 20s brunette in a blouse and jeans with some ruby red lipstick on her lips that I hadn’t noticed before. She had clearly just smoked a cigarette at her favorite spot. I approached the bench and, sure enough, two recently disposed-of Camel Crush butts were sitting next to the bench, both of them with lipstick stains, and one of them still smoldering. She apparently has changed brands, but hasn’t changed her sociopathically obnoxious smoking style a bit. With three sightings of this girl in the last few months, it’s a pretty good bet I’ll see more of her in 2015. Unfortunately the bench she chooses to sit on makes it a longshot I’ll ever get the caliber of upclose sighting needed to catapult this girl into my mall Hall of Fame.
#2. My favorite mall in the Des Moines area for sightings had a pretty weak year. Part of the problem is the mall was under construction most of the year for a new attraction that just finally opened the week before Christmas, and that probably reduced attendance for much of the year in a mall that’s been in general decline since I moved to central Iowa in 2006. But the mall did have one recurring player that delivered for me through thick and thin nearly every time I visited the mall in 2014, and she was a worker at the tattoo and piercings store. Now I’m no fan of tattoos or piercings and I’m sure the visual that comes to mind when I cite a worker at this place is a girl decorated with all kinds of hideous facial jewelry and body ink….but that couldn’t be further from the truth with the girl in question. She is a 20-21ish light brunette who exudes wholesomeness in every way with a nicely sculpted female body to match. There are no visible tattoos or piercings on her, so at the very least the most visible parts of her face and body have remain uncorrupted aside from the fact that she seems to be unnaturally tan for the dead of winter in Iowa, undoubtedly the result of tanning beds. As for the noncorruption of her lungs, well that’s a different story….
It was last January I saw this girl at the rear mall entrance closest to her store out smoking with a co-worker, puffing on a cigarette while decked out in a nice red coat with leggings on the bottom, bending down at her knees while smoking and staying out of the cold winter wind. I couldn’t believe this beautiful and wholesome girl was smoking and watched from afar as she chatted with the coworker and puffed away, producing generous exhales that were extra cloudy due to the cold weather and the smoke mixing with the frost on her breath. She flung the cigarette obnoxiously onto the street before heading back into the mall and I walked on over and identified it as a Marlboro Red. Less than two hours later, she was out again, this time by herself. My presence didn’t go undetected as I sat on a curb watching from about 25 yards away, but I pretended to be waiting for somebody and largely got away with I suspect as I stole glances of her smoking at key moments, with the same impressive performance and wrapping things up with the same obnoxious butt fling into the street before heading back into the door, disregarding the ashtray no more than 10 feet away from her. I don’t know what it is with these hot chick mall workers who insist upon defiling their workplace with their tobacco refuse but she is the third mall worker of the last two years whose made my countdown to dispose of their cigarettes this way and it never ceases to be unbearably hot.
Mall workers tend to come and go, especially at a store like this, but this girl has defined 2014 at this mall, and just about every trip I made there this year has produced sightings of her. The downside is that I’ve become familiar to the point where I have to watch from afar so she doesn’t recognize me and confront me. I would by no means be opposed to striking up a conversation with her, but if my repeated presence was put into question, I wouldn’t have a good answer. I often get oil changes and basic car repairs done at the Sears Automotive in this mall but that excuse wouldn’t explain all of my visits there and why I’m hovering in the general area of outdoor entrances where she happens to be. Complicating things further, the construction zone was right at the epicenter of her old smoking area, so she found a different spot that is less accessible for her frequent smoke breaks. And I do mean frequent! There have been times I’ve gone to this mall for three hours and she has taken three smoke breaks. I’m sure her coworkers just love her for abandoning them to run the store while she’s feeding her insatiable dependency on nicotine.
Every time I see her I’m struck by her wholesome beauty, often including headbands holding down her hair. I’m not sure what is more out of place about this girl’s lifestyle based on her wholesome image….her heavy smoking habit and obnoxious butt disposal or the fact that she spends her days working at a tattoo and piercing store. At some point mid-summer I saw she switched from Marlboro Reds to Camel Crush and at first when I went to inspect her discarded butt I wondered if I was looking at the wrong girl’s cigarette as I saw the smoldering Camel Crush, but subsequent encounters confirmed she had switched. It was so hot roaming around the area where she always smoked and seeing her there again less than an hour since I saw her previously. And making matters even wilder, I saw her later in the summer at the Iowa State Fair! She was Sighting #72 on Day 3 of the 2014 ISF, chatting with friends and taking the final two drags of her all-white. After she left, I approached and IDed it as her new brand Camel Crush, confirming it was indeed her. Pretty sure she’s my first girl to broach two of my primary sightings mediums–malls and fairgrounds–in the same year. Unfortunately even at the state fair my sighting of her was too brief and lacking in storyline to elevate her to the Hall of Fame where she deserves to be.
The last great encounter I had with her in 2014 was in November. I saw a white car pulling towards the parking ramp and a hot girl with a cigarette in her hand behind the wheel who I quickly identified as my favorite mall employee of 2014. I wanted a closer look and took the risk of approaching the ramp where she parked her car. She was just getting out as I turned the corner, only about 10 yards in front of me and walking my direction, holding a bag of fast food she picked up for lunch in one hand and taking the final drag off of her Camel Crush with other before flinging it to the side. She didn’t pass me closely enough to exchange greetings (or be confrontational for that matter) but it was spectacular watching her awesome ass in conservative dark jeans approach the rear mall entrance knowing how stinky she would be when she got into the store. I looked at her Camel Crush smoldering there in the parking lot and wished I could have the kind of up-close inspection of one of her sightings that could catapult her into the upper reaches of my blog where she deserves to be if she produced a sighting with a worthy storyline.
My final observations of her came the weekend before Christmas when I spent several hours at this mall, but unfortunately it was a bust. The downside of the heavy mall traffic the week before Christmas is that the nicotine-addicted workers don’t get to take smoke breaks. But as I walked by her store, I picked up on her easygoing rapport with the customers checking out the cheap jewelry selection and wondered how hard it must have been for her to keep up her perky attitude going hours without a cigarette. Her voice didn’t even have much of a husk to it, which surprised me given that she was clearly a pretty heavy smoker. It was disappointing to not get a sighting from her on December 20, but it was also kind of cool to see her in this work setting being professional and knowing the only thing she was thinking about was her next nicotine fix. I don’t like getting too attached to these mall workers the way they come and go, but here’s hoping this girl sticks around and produces the sighting she’s capable of in 2015.
#1. I had just arrived at metropolitan Des Moines’ most upscale mall on a steamy early Saturday afternoon in late June, still lacking a mall sighting in 2014 worthy of this year-end greatest hits list. It wouldn’t take long to get my first truly impressive find for the year, but my heart still breaks for what could have been with this sighting if I had a few more breaks. Still, the most important break of all was the one I caught…the break that put me near the highest-volume rear entrance of the mall just as I watched an SUV with young two blonds was pulling up. It was a deja vu moment to two years ago when, at this same mall, I spotted a duo of hot blonds pulling into this same lot in a truck and both were smoking. I couldn’t get that lucky twice….right?
I watched as the SUV approached with the passenger window down and took note of the genuinely gorgeous blonds inside. As the SUV was passing right in front of me, I was truly surprised to see a cigarette approach the mouth of the adorable passenger. It was a split second sighting, but my legs were spinning like the road runner when Wiley Coyote is hot on his tail to make sure I kept tabs on where that SUV went. But it wasn’t a long chase as they soon turned into a convenient traffic lane and were lucky enough to score a parking spot not too deep into the lot. The driver struggled to wedge the large SUV into the tight spot and I was approaching from behind hoping to get a closer look. The driver’s hands were on the wheel and her window was not down, but I knew that passenger would still be smoking as her cigarette looked only about half-smoked. I approached from a rear angle and while I didn’t see her face, I watched the passenger ash her mostly smoked cigarette out the window. There was all kinds of potential here and the sky seemed to be the limit if they’d simply cooperate and get out of the SUV…..
But they didn’t. The vehicle was parked and I found myself bobbing awkwardly (and dangerously) from one lane of the lot to another to get a closer look. And doing so, I saw the driver now had a cigarette of her own lit. I watched one drag from my brutally awkward position before realizing I couldn’t do this without risking being caught by any number of people coming and going. So I did the next best thing and approached one of the benches at the main mall entrance, knowing that’s where the girls would likely go in. It was killing me sitting on that bench, their SUV just out of my sight range, knowing that both extremely beautiful girls were smoking. Now it was just a matter of waiting for them to come out, undoubtedly having disposed of their cigarettes, but at least giving me a close-up look of them and the chance to take a photo as they approached.
In a few minutes, they did. Two beautiful blonds were approaching from the SUV with Starbucks cups in hand….but it wasn’t what I expected. Like the two blonds from two years ago (Mall #17) who this duo reminded me of, I figured I’d see a couple of 20 or 21-year-old beauties emerging….but instead I saw a couple of high school girls. The driver was nominally the prettiest, with platinum blond hair, a lacy white top and pink shorts. She was average height for a young female and I can’t imagine she was a day older than 16. The friend next to her (the passenger who I saw smoking first) was almost as pretty, but her presentation was arguably even more impressive given that she was petite, a good three inches shorter than the friend, with dark blond hair, a lavender tanktop and tight jean shorts. Perhaps it was just how petite she was, but I swear this girl looked 14. And we’re talking about unequivocal mid-teen beauties here….the kinds of girl you’d be shocked to discover were smokers even 20 years ago let alone in 2014.
The girls approached the mall, drinking from their caffeinated beverages and looking like the picture of summer feminine innocence, and I was aghast that both had fresh tobacco on their breath. Suddenly a sighting that seemed amazing from the get-go had become special in a way that put it in the running for “sighting of the year” qualification. I’m able to be pretty stealth with my new camera phone and snapped two photos as they approached. I attempted to follow briefly and snap a rear photo before they went into the mall as well, but the rear photo didn’t turn out and the frontal photos were from further away than was necessary to truly admire their gorgeous mid-teen features. I had struck out on the photo front but wanted to see if the girls left any tobacco debris outside the SUV. It was a very windy day and no butts were to be found near the SUV. I even peaked inside the window as I walked by and saw no signs of tobacco paraphenelia either. Unlike the aforementioned 2012 blond smoker duo, I wasn’t catching the necessary breaks needed to get this sighting the context it deserves.
I went into the mall and randomly wandered for a few minutes, hoping to see the girls again. I didn’t, and decided these girls were such rare finds that I should move my car to their lot in search of a parking spot where I could see them get in their SUV when they left the mall. I was not confident they’d smoke anywhere but inside the SUV given their tender ages so I figured this would be my only chance to see more from them. Within a few short minutes, I was getting inside my car from a completely different lot, and as I drove towards that rear lot where they were parked, I was contemplating how many things could go wrong here, like not being able to find a spot close enough to see them walk back to the SUV and being stuck waiting for hours for two teenage girls to leave the mall on a Saturday afternoon. But none of these fears came to pass as I pulled into the back lot and saw the girls were already inside the SUV getting ready to leave. Oh shit!
No windows were down and no smoking was transpiring, but that’s all I saw as I frantically searched for a parking spot. I finally found one about a minute later and started racing towards their SUV in hopes of one last look. They never did light up again, but I did get that final close-up look, walking in their parking lane at the exact moment as they pulled out. What spectacular beauties they were, and the close-up confirmed they were indeed mid-teen high school girls. As I watched that SUV drive off, my heart sunk. At one level, it made my day to see two blond beauties of this caliber were among the shrinking cohort of high school smokers in the year 2014. But at another level, these girls were worthy of being as high as the #2 all-time mall sighting on my blog (2008’s three generations of nicotine ladies is pretty close to a permanent lock for the #1 spot) but their show was so abbreviated that they will instead languish in the lower rungs of my all-time greatest hits. I wasn’t able to get this sighting out of my mind the entire day, distraught that the culture has become so challenging for teen smokers that the girls self-censored their smoking performance, hiding out inside their SUV to smoke, and preventing me from my most satisfying moment of 2014. Again though, I’m still much better off for having seen what I did.
I don’t blame anybody if they’re a little disappointed by this list. I’d say it’s without question the weakest mall sightings list of the four years I’ve done these year-end lists. But as previous years have proven, if a fetisher logs in enough hours at malls, he’s bound to find that elusive oyster with a pearl in it, meaning the odds aren’t too bad for me hitting pay dirt in 2015 with one or more sightings better than anything on this list.