Yesterday I got hit on at the grocery store, by a stock boy probably young enough to be my son. I mean, I would have had to have been preggo with him in high school, but still, technically, I suspect it would be possible. I should be less pleased than I am, but damn, it’s such a nice ego boost. This week, I began writing a blog entry titled, “The long, slow fade of giving a shit.” It’s about how I feel invisible as a woman, and how that feeling has entered into some kind of feedback loop with my inherent sloth and laziness, causing me to wear less and less makeup, blow dry my hair less and less frequently, and wear comfier and comfier shoes. That invisible feeling, that “Why should I put on earrings? No one is looking at me” feeling, it has really been dragging me down lately. (And now I don’t have to finish that entry, because I just summarized it for you. Score one for the lazy sloth!)
But nothing can perk up a lazy, invisible sloth like getting hit on at the grocery store.
I’m walking down the soup aisle. Stock boy is putting soup on shelves. I grab some chicken broth in a can. I probably won’t even need to use it, because I have a chicken carcass in the freezer and would much rather make the stock from scratch, but if I don’t have time (see above re: lazy sloth), it’s nice to have the cans in the pantry. Stock boy glances up and says “Hello.”
I smile, actually look at him, and say, “Hi.” I look at him because I try really, really hard not to treat people like they are invisible. This behavior was apparently sufficiently odd as to earn me a once over and a smile big enough that maybe it could be counted as an invitation.
Thanks, stock boy, but I am someone’s wife, and someone’s mother, and I could be your mother. So no thanks. Smile back and move on.
In the next aisle, I look at my list… and realize that I have forgotten something in the soup aisle. Crap. Crap crap crap. Lipton beefy onion soup mix. I have to go back. I’m almost out of that magical secret ingredient. I can’t go back. He’ll think I’m hitting on him. Come on, Pam. You’re a middle-aged woman wearing no makeup with air-dried hair, and wearing extremely comfortable shoes. Just go get the damn soup mix. He probably won’t even notice.
He notices. He raises his eyebrows and gets this sort of self-satisfied look. It’s nice to know that I probably gave him a little accidental ego boost too.
“So, what are you making us for dinner?”
As pick-up lines go, it could use some work. Kid, I am old enough to be your mommy, and if I WERE cruising the grocery store in search of a tender young thing for my bed, I would not want to be reminded that you are so young that your mommy probably still cooks for you. And possibly still cuts up your steak.
I didn’t say that. I sputtered out something about grocery store sushi (the traditional post-grocery-shopping dinner in our house), trying to make it clear that I was not inviting him to join me.
“I love sushi. Or, you could come over to the fire station and I could cook for you.”
Damn, stock boy actually has some game. I don’t have the fireman thing. Some firemen are cute. Some are not. The mere presence of a fire hat does not cause me to drop my panties. But for some women, the fireman thing combined with the offer to cook? Not bad, stock boy, not bad.
I don’t say that either. I laugh it off and go back to looking for beefy onion soup mix. They don’t carry it. Damn.
And I’m off to the baking and spices aisle. Did you know that saffron costs $20 for a tiny little envelope? This soup had better be delicious. I’m definitely going to have to make the stock from scratch now. But I didn’t go back to put back the canned broth.
I should really close this little story with some uplifting comment about how beauty comes from the inside and how we don’t need anyone else’s validation to feel sexy. Self-love, confidence, blah blah blah. Yeah, that crap is awesome, and nothing replenishes it like getting hit on by a 20-year-old.
[Edited to add that the beefy onion soup mix is NOT going into the same soup as the chicken stock and saffron. Because those three together? Ew. I use the beefy onion soup in beef stew, meatloaf, etc. The saffron is for a pumpkin-shrimp bisque.]