Saturday, May 17, 2008

Two Sides Of The Same Coin.

Knowing I could sit at home with cramps and use them as a good excuse for relaxing all day long--although, seriously, who relaxes with cramps?--I looked at my To Do List and let it slide. For all of five minutes until I thought to myself, Fuck this! How is this nurturing myself? So, for the first time in a long time, I went out, despite painful cramps and a Bad Hair Day.

The bad hair I fixed by putting on a baseball cap, the cramps I tried to ignore as much as possible. Besides, I REALLY wanted a burger and fries for lunch. MMMM Beeefy iron-rich goodness. I swear I become Cave Girl during menstruation. If you presented me with a whole roast leg of lamb, I'd dive in, teeth first.

With one part of my abdomen satisfied, I felt more able to complete the rest of my tasks. First, to the post office. Fly, little letters, to your destinations! Second stop, The YMCA. I liked what I saw on the way in, plus it was a short enough trip from home to do a few times a week. Inside, there was a gaggle of elderly folk walking past reception on their way to the change rooms. They were all leaving the water aerobics class with smiles on their faces. A good sign.

Even better sign was the handsome specimen at the registration desk. Even with my reproductive system in purge mode, my libido definitely sat up and noticed when he smiled at me. And he kept smiling at me and making small talk. As I asked questions about the place and he answered them more and more readily, I began to get flustered. It wasn't until he handed me the registration forms to fill out that I figured out why, I was so affected. He was flirting with me!

And I noticed!

I don't know if I blushed or not, but I definitely noticed that I'd begun to look at him coyly through my lashes in shy delight. Mr Beefcake with the delicious eyes was flirting with me! Thank Christ he went off shift as I started to fill the forms out. I was so stunned by the whole thing that I filled out the first bits wrong. Then the next guy came on duty and I kept my gaze firmly affixed to the form as Sir HunkaSpunk walked away. I didn't dare look at his rear, his face and shoulders had been devastating enough.

New guy gave me and another pair of ladies a quick tour of the facilities, then I was off to shop for presents for my niece's birthday. On the twenty minute trip I went through various scenarios in my head, wondering what it'd be like to be held in HunkaSpunk's arms. Came to the conclusion it'd be nice, but not as nice as being in Alaskaboy's embrace. Mmmm naked Alaskaboy. Oh wait. Driving! Must concentrate.

Then it hit me. That's the first time EVER that I've noticed that a guy was attracted to me and flirting with me in the exact moment that the flirtation was actually happening And I can't believe I recognised it. How many of those other guys that I'd assumed were looking in disgust at the fat chick, or being nice to the fat chick, were actually thinking I was smokin' hot?

Probably more than I think there'd be.

I parked the car at my next destination, but couldn't get out of the car until I'd had a five minute sob session. As if in response to my libido's foolishness, when it was all too late to be impregnated, the cramps had kicked it up a notch.

Having recovered, and tossed my ball cap aside because it gave my overheated bod a headache, I left the car and moseyed on into the shopping centre. (A mosey being all I could manage at that point if I wanted to stay vertical.) My encounter in the toy store was another a first. Several in fact. When chatting with the saleswoman she asked me what I did, “I'm an author.” I replied quite blithely, as though I'd said it a thousand times before. Inside my head I freaked out a little about it, but oh well, the worm was out of the book. Over the course of the conversation, the woman told me, in her delightful Indian accent, several different variations on the theme,“You're so brainy!”

Knowing how important intelligence is to most Asian people and Indians in particular, I felt my ego being plumped up nicely by this woman's obvious delight in talking to me. We went through the usual Big 4 questions that Asians and Indians usually ask even total strangers: Employed? Income? In a relationship? Kids?

She also included several more iterations of You So Brainy!

As she was bagging up my stuff, she said something that made me blink, (paraphrasing here) “And to think, to start with you looked so simple.” Not really comfortable with a lot of the questions she'd been asking, (I know she was asking them from a cultural imperative, but still, it made me cautious,) I merely thanked her when she handed me my goodies.

It wasn't until I got back in the car that it hit me. Did she just say what I think she just said? Even now, I don't know if she truly knew how it came across. I hope she meant it as “Wow, I shouldn't judge a book by it's cover.” But, I can't help but wonder if she felt threatened by me in any way and had to chop me off at the knees after all that building up.

Or whether her first impression had been, Fat, Bad Hair, Wearing a Waist Pack and Sweatpants in our La Di Da part of town...the woman must be simple! Especially when in response to my, “Have you been here long?” she replied, “Yes, I haven't seen you in here before. Are you from around here?”

Now, a very small inner part of me started to question all of this, and I started to get angry. Who the fuck did she think she was? Simple? SIMPLE! And then I realised what I'd done. I'd told a Real Live Person that my job description was Author. I didn't even mention that I hadn't been published yet. When she asked if it paid money, I answered yes. I was without apology and quite proud of my job. I could tell she was envious that I worked from home and that I could keep up with my housework as I needed to. And that I had no children under foot yet.

I recognised the earlier parts of the conversation when she's looked at me with respect. And in doing so, I realised that her prejudgment of me as simple was her problem, and not mine. I'd walked into that hoighty toighty place, with no apologies as to who or what I was, and come out with my self respect still in place.

The first side of the coin was understanding that I'm a desirable women and men other than my husband find me so, and I didn't feel threatened. In fact I felt flattered. The flip side of the coin was acknowledging that I'm an author, and accepting that the woman's statement about my simplicity, or lack thereof, was nothing more than that, a statement.

What currency is this coin part of? Confidence. And I'm learning to both bank and spend it.

1 Nibbles:

Fat Lazy Guy said...

Great post :)

Like you said, any increase in confidence is a good thing :)