Friday, March 12, 2010

Did somebody say "awkward?"

I was shopping. Looking for a few basic items to add to my wardrobe. I stopped at one of my favorite stores - one geared toward women of larger-than-average size - and whatever do I see upon entering the store? A man. A thin man. And he's not just there helping his bootylicious girlfriend pick out a new pair of jeans. No! He's working there!

I made a beeline for the clearance racks in the back of the store, but he stepped away from the display he was working on to cut me off at the pass and ask if I needed any help. "I'm just browsing, thank you, " I said casually. And then I remembered that this is the store where I usually buy my undergarments and they happened to be on my list today. Good lord.

No problem. I'll just pretend this guy is Clinton Kelly of What Not To Wear fame (though it was a stretch) and make him my new best girlfriend (not as much of a stretch). Ummm ... use your imagination.

I'm not gonna' lie. I was so glad that when I was in the dressing room he was busy helping someone else. What would I say if he asked "how are those working for you?"

"Well Derek, this blouse hugs the rolls in my tummy too tight, and that one isn't long enough to cover my fat butt, and these pants look great but only from the knees down. Take a peek - what do you recommend?"

Uhh, no.

I tried on four blouses and three pairs of pants and got them back off and my own clothes back on faster than my kids can find the chocolate bar I've hidden behind the pork chops in the freezer. Of course I was incredibly embarrassed when I opened the dressing room door and there he was with one hand on his hip and the other hand in the air with one finger sticking out and he said, "I'll take the ones that didn't work for you."

Oh, rub it in why don't you?

One pair of pants worked for me. ONE. How discouraging. And I still needed to choose those undergarments I came for. I managed to get through that without the gentleman asking me if I preferred bikinis or briefs or high cuts or boy shorts.

Guess who was at the counter waiting to help me check out? Yep. Skinny Boy. Call me crazy or immature or sheltered or whatever, but something about this 20-something, hemp bracelet-wearing dude folding the underwear I so carefully hand-selected gave me the heebie jeebies. Furthermore, while I stood there trying not to watch him fold my new undergarments, a female clerk came over to ask this young man for advice for another customer. Apparently said customer was falling out of her bra in a couple of ways - from the sides in the area under the armpits, and in the front over the tops of the cups. I would expect any woman on the planet to know what I'm describing here. I would expect very few men to understand, much less be able to give suggestions on alternate cuts and/or materials for this woman. But that's exactly what the female clerk asked of the male clerk.

I'm pretty sure by that time my brow was all crinkled up and I was breathing out of my mouth.

After exchanging a few pleasantries and punching in the code for my debit card, I grabbed my bag and hightailed it out of there. Because, ya' know, I had to get home to pick up my kids from the bus stop.

Then came awkward interaction with Strange Man No. 2.

I approached my vehicle in the parking lot to find a man leaning against my pickup smoking a cigarette. I didn't feel at all threatened, so I cheerfully approached him with my keys in my hand, smiled and said "excuse me!" expecting him to step out of the 1.5-foot space between our vehicles and let me through.

Strange Man No. 2 barely acknowledged me, continued leaning on my pickup, and sucked that skinny brown cigarette in short, quick bursts like his life depended on it. I noticed there was a woman with him, standing outside their minivan with the passenger door open and looking around as if she had lost something under the seat.

"EXCUSE me!" Puff puff puff puff puff. No response.

Then from the other side of the vehicle I heard a woman's voice say "close the door!" and shortly afterward she came around the end of the van, grabbed the cigarette from between the man's lips, and stomped it out on the ground.

She looked at me, chuckling, and by way of explanation for her fellow travelers' behavior said, "Clients!" and then told both of them to get into the van, which they did, and then to close the doors, which they did.

Uhhhh. OK. That was fun. And about as many awkward interactions with strange men as I can handle for one day, thankyouverymuch.


  1. I ran in to the same thing at a women's clothing store -- a man working and I felt very uncomfortable. I love having a nice old lady help me out. :-) Like you said, they just don't understand.

  2. Ah..Adventures in Shopping :) Never a dull moment. It always amazes me the behavior of some people. I liked the part "puffing on the cigarette like his life depended on it" That made me laugh. :) I hope you were able to bring home a few new items after all that...

  3. Camille, the nice old ladies are the best, aren't they? I just think a WOMEN'S clothing store should be a safe, comfortable place for women!

    Thanks, Bobbi, I did find a few things. It was a good trip overall.

  4. Thanks for the nice comment is a good time in my life right now...and its so nice to just be content and happy.. :)

  5. I once went shopping at Kohls and purchased a bra and some underwear. When I went to check out the only lane open was with a male cashier. An obviously straight male cashier. As he was folding my underwear, he felt necessary to make comments on them- how they were nice, or colorful, or soft. I wanted to run out of there so quickly! It was one of the most awkward shopping experiences I have ever had! I could not believe he was commenting on my underwear!!!