I realise the catwalk is perhaps a little unrealistic as a potential career option for me, but I think I now know what it’s like to be oogled and judged on nothing but my physical appearance.
Some people, of course, like to be checked out: I’ve decided I’m not necessarily one of them.
“I haven’t seen you for a long time,” a local senior citizen said to me today at Aldi. I held out my hand and mumbled something about it being ages while wondering where the hell I knew this man from. “I’ve just got back from a couple of years in Europe,” he told me.
“Fantastic,” I said, trying to sound a little envious, because I’m pretty sure that’s what people are looking for, when in actual fact the idea of a long flight with an increasingly stinky toilet fills me with dread.
“You weren’t at the bank,” he continued, giving me an excellent clue as to how I knew him. “They tell me you’ve retired to look after your family.”
“Kind of. I’m not really retired,” I corrected him. “I’m just sort of writing now.”
He looked doubtful.
“What, like in books?”
“No,” I admitted. “Nothing that legitimate. On the internet.” If anything his face took on a disappointed expression. “I have a blog and I write on that.”
I’ve had this same conversation several times the last couple of years, so I waited for the next line where he asks me what a blog is. I still don’t have a definitive answer. It’s sort of like a newspaper column that’s not printed in a newspaper? It’s sort of like a private diary you hope people will read?
Only I didn’t get to wow him with my vague answers because he didn’t ask about the blog at all.
Instead, his gaze left my face and went past my chest, down towards my hips, and then back to my eyes.
What’s going on here? I thought to myself. Is he checking me out?
Yes, he was. And the experience was not very pleasant.
Well, if I’m honest it wasn’t too bad until he decided to open his mouth again.
“You’re a lot bigger now, aren’t you,” he said.
There’s no question mark in that bit of dialogue because it wasn’t posed as a question. Assumably because he figured we both knew the answer.
“Um….it’s been a stressful year,” was all I could think to say on the spot.
“You should do the exercise,” he added. And his eyes went for another wander up and down and way over to the left and then way over to the right of my body before meeting mine again. “At least a little bit.”
On the bright side, I may not have placed him at first but I bet I remember him next time.
Raising a family on little more than laughs