Well, it finally happened and it was better than I expected. Like how cryptic I’m being? I was at Wal-Mart the other shopping for new bulbs for a lava lamp. It’s probably the very last thing you would expect me to be shopping for, but such is my life. I was also looking for oregano pills, which they didn’t have. Apparently most people like their oregano sprinkled into pasta sauce or over anything someone is trying to make taste like pizza instead of encapsulated in a time release gel. People are weird, what can I say? Um, just to set expectations here, if you just poured yourself a glass of wine to enjoy the rest of this yarn, prepare to be impressively underwhelmed.
I was poking around the lava lamp section, which is something they surprisingly have, and I noticed a young man edging closer for a better view. This I am used to – people love to be extra subtle in checking me out to figure out what they are looking at. My favorite is the “turn around to look for something quick” where their eyes instead play over my face, followed by my chest. Sometimes the order is in reverse, but same difference. Then he spoke. That I’m not used to at all. Women will stop me from time to time to say they like my necklace or to ask me if I know where they keep the Manwich sauce, which I never know, nor does anyone who works there. Men usually look through me and wave to their enthusiastic, but invisible, buddy Dave.
“I think your dress is really pretty” Holy shit, a compliment! I stammered out a thank you and attempted to get away. I told you, I’m not used to this kind of thing and wasn’t sure what to think. Before I could, he added that he really liked my coat as well, and tacked on that he thought my whole look was very pretty. This time he got a big smile and a “That is so sweet! Thank you!”, and yes, I meant it. I made a quick bee line for the hosiery section, where I was betting he wouldn’t follow me. Men are never over there for some reason, perhaps because the temptation to buy pantyhose will get too strong or something. I was afraid of where the conversation was going to go next and I was woefully unprepared for it. What if he was going to ask me which pair of ear-muffs looked better, and it was really some kind of code I didn’t know about? Or worse, I did know!
Other trans women are full of tales of guys approaching them or hitting on them or whatever. I’m not real sure how to tell the difference to be perfectly honest. Since that kind of thing never, ever happens to me, I’ve had to assume that either they were full of shit, or much prettier than I am. I was good with either reason as it allowed me to go about hither and dither without ever worrying that I was going to have to brave such a situation. If this lone incident represents the frequency rate, I should be just fine for the next couple of years or so.
I’m not going to lie. It felt pretty fricking fantastic! I beamed all the way back to my car, especially since my continuous backward glances indicated he was not following me or anything. I got in, again gratified that he wasn’t crouched in hiding between the cars or in my backseat. It kept me in such a good mood for the rest of the day that I was able to muster the energy to make my famous chicken parm for my ex (I really have to find another term for her as this isn’t exactly accurate), even though I had no good sleep the night before and just wanted to curl up in a chair.
While the whole little tiny encounter made me feel really good, I had to ruminate on why it gave me a slice of panic as well. I concluded that it was because I had no idea what he wanted. In my years in living amongst the men folk, I’ve been under the impression that the only reason they approach women is because they are interested and hoping something, you know, somethin’ somethin’, will come of it. I have trouble wrapping my brain around that situation. He was maybe all of 25, or could have even had a fake ID indicating that he reached the advanced age needed to rent a car. What would his interest be in a 40ish trans woman buying lava lamp bulbs? Yes, I was very pleased with my outfit that day, but still. I suppose the remote possibility exists that he didn’t read me and thought he was doing some cougar hunting.
How do cis women handle these situations? If for some god unknown reason he asked me out, it was going to be a big fat no. I am still technically married and scruffy young men really are not my thing at all. I really need to be prepared in case this ever happens again because I really don’t want to make someone feel like shit for being really sweet to me. At the end of the day, it was a positive experience. Someone not obligated to do so told me I looked pretty. I am so going to wear that outfit more often.