First, I have to tell you that this morning's headline in my local paper reads, “Sex offender causes uneasy feeling.”
Damn. If I knew my local paper was The Onion, I’d have subscribed YEARS ago!
Okay, on to my story.
Last night, as I made my way back to the parking ramp to retrieve my car and head home from work, I was following a cute blond girl chattering away on a cell phone. She wore stylish boots, with next season’s black winter coat cinched around her trim waist. A hip pink bag was slung over her shoulder, chock full of bubble gum and lip gloss and a pastel iPod and pixies with fairy dust. Suddenly, a young man across the street whistled at her. “Hey girl!”
Because she was deep in conversation, she just smiled coyly at him and continued on her way. I, on the other hand, felt somewhat demoralized. It wasn’t too long ago that I was getting my own catcalls. Were they over for good? Did this mean I was…old?
I decided to zip across the street to ask this young man. “Excuse me,” I said. “I heard you whistle at that young lady ahead of me and I was wondering why you didn’t whistle at me.”
He gave me a slightly pitiful look, but one tinged with good humor. “Oh, I don’t want to be rude.”
It was worse than I thought. “Go on. Tell me.” I glanced down at myself. “It’s the sensible shoes, isn’t it?”
He nodded. “Yeah. You also have a pretty sensible haircut.”
I cringed and touched my hair. “But it’s such a snap to style in the morning!”
“That doesn’t matter. What matters is how you look to me. And that haircut might take you two seconds to style, but if it’s not giving me a woody, what’s the point?” He suddenly seemed concerned at my downtrodden expression. “But don’t worry! That’s so easy to fix. Also, you are wearing earmuffs. See, you’re substituting comfort for style, and that’s bad. But easily taken care of.” He reached over and pulled my earmuffs off my head. “That’s better! Look world, she has ears!”
I self-consciously looked down at my outfit again for other easy things to fix. “Oh Lord.” I chuckled at the bag on my shoulder. This one was easy. "It's my insulated lunch cooler." Nothing screamed “sensible, aging office drone” like an insulated lunch bag. How could I have missed this!
He laughed. “Well, yes, that and the fact that you clearly got it for free from the Defenders of Wildlife Foundation. Also, it’s kinda dirty.” He leaned in, as if to study my outfit more closely. “And? You smell a little like bran.” He leaned closer, sniffing and wrinkling his nose. “Is that…is that poop?”
I felt myself blush. I had indeed soiled myself as I walked out of my building, and I thought I’d be able to make it home without further incident. I was wrong. I went for a weak chuckle. “I am wearing Depends. I guess they don’t really trap the smell.”
He pinched his nose. “I’ll say. But I tell you what. Tomorrow I’ll smear some bacon grease in my eyes and as soon as I see your blur, I’ll give you a shout out. But you know what really would solve all your problems?”
“What?” I licked my dentures eagerly. “What?!?” I was desperate. He held the keys to a future that would only be rewarding if whippersnappers like him found me attractive.
“You need to ditch the Rascal scooter.”
I felt my heart sink. How do you like that? Well, I had to draw the line somewhere. No way was I giving up the freedom of convenient, legless mobility for a few catcalls. “Sorry bud. That’s one concession I’m not gonna make.” And with that, I flipped my clip-on sunglasses down over my spectacles, settled comfortably on my donut pillow, and slowly zoomed away.
“Wait! Don’t you need help crossing the street?”
“You can get your Boy Scout badge elsewhere, punk," I shouted over my shoulder. "I’m an independent woman.”