About a year ago I found myself kind of done with men. And not in a "I kissed a girl/And I liked it"-way. I kissed a girl like 20 years ago and I liked it well enough, but have never found a reason to do it again. I was done with men the way you get fed up with a former favorite restaurant. "You know, it used to be really good. But the last three or four times I went there I was so disappointed" So I was retired. And then I learned what people had been telling me since I was 13 was indeed true. Many, not all, but many men are attracted to ambivalence or being treated with disdain. And now I get hit on constantly.
I do not understand this. My favorite thing about any lover is that he's really nice to me almost all the time. But this has not been a shared interest with the men I've met lately. If my attitude towards men was a person she would address people like this, "Ugh. What do you want? Really?!?!? You want to flirt with me? How dare you. You are late. Ten years ago I was sweet and fun and open and capable of love. Now i'm like a piece of gum you found under a table. Sure I'm still gum, the same way I'm still a woman, but someone has chewed all the flavor out of me, and I will never be sweet again. So just let me eat this burrito in peace." This is how I usually feel. But it is not how I felt about the guy I met at Rite Aid last night.
I did not get his name but I will call him Jean-Pierre, because I call all my imaginary boyfriends Jean-Pierre. And I will go into that another time. Jean-Pierre held the door open for me and smiled. He asked me how I'm doing and I responded with "I'm wonderful. How are you?" and gave him a coquettish little smile over my shoulder as I headed toward the potato chips. And he tossed back "Wonderful. Really wonderful now that I've seen beautiful." I giggled, while not giving much thought to him. I was trying to catch a train in 9.5 minutes. But I ran into him again near nutritional supplements. He smiled and I felt all silly and goofy and wished he'd just ask for my number. But he didn't and I noticed he was going in the direction of the registers. Oh well. Time to finish shopping and catch that train. I grabbed my supplements and some "personal care" products. Pads, OK? I was buying pads. And not just any pads but Always Discreet Sensitive Bladder Long Supreme. I have my reasons and they will be revealed shortly.
I picked up a Little Debbie apple pie and went to the register. Where he was still waiting. Some demon sent to test me was arguing with the cashier about the cost of toilet paper and had held up the line. Jean-Pierre was still in line. So there I stood behind him with my arms full: bag of Jalapeno Kettle Chips, four bottles of supplements, an enormous package of basically adult diapers, and a deep-fried apple pie.
They opened up another register at the same time that Jean-Pierre got to the front of his line. So we stood side by side checking out. And I tried misdirection and chattered and pointed out other things in the store so he wouldn't look at my purchases. But of course he looked. And he raised an eyebrow and smiled. And when he left the store he gently touched my shoulder and said, "Hey you take care of yourself" in the most earnest, talking to your grandma way.
I wanted to chase after him and at least try to run him through the flirtation cycle I call THE TLC after their 1994 album Crazy/Sexy/Cool. I first say or do something Crazy, then I manage to be about 15% Sexy, and then I try really hard to convince the guy I'm Cool. Here's how it played out in my mind as my feet itched to run out the door and catch him.
CRAZY: I scream "I DON"T PEE IN THESE!" while waving the Always Discreet at him.
SEXY: I just have really heavy periods. If I don't use these my panties look like a communist country's flag. You know...If I wear panties *wink* But the other 26 days of the month my vagina is awesome and you could see it if you want.
COOL: Oh and these supplements are just for my chronic pain. (in Matthew McConaughey-like voice) I mean my body is breaking down, but hey isn't everybody's, man. Like we should all just accept and love each other in our imperfection. Because dude, we're all just made up of matter that used to be something else. We're all like part dinosaur. Nothing is every lost or destroyed. We're all just changing. I'm entering into my middle-aged chrysalis and you can be there when I become a butterfly.
This of course would not have worked. I was already cemented in his mind as a broken down old lady full of tablets and gushing urine. Just a hollowed husk of a woman he was now flirting with out of pity.
While there will be a segment of you who say I should only buy potentially embarrassing things when I am certain no one hot is around, I can't take on that pressure. I can't live my life like there is a Jean-Pierre lurking behind every corner. I need to be able to buy lube and a 12 pack of AA batteries without worrying about being judged, because they were in fact being purchased for two unrelated reasons. And I need to wear weird hats, or not brush my teeth before running out for coffee, or verbally abuse pigeons. I love hats. Almost more than I hate pigeons. I accept that I will meet men who are not repelled by my shitty demeanor, and I may be won over by that and smile, and then they will not understand all the stuff I've got going on, and not be interested anymore. And that isn't my fault. IT IS THEIR FAULT. They should've shown their asses up ten years ago when I didn't need industrial pads, or take supplements, or defiantly eat Little Debbie snacks.