Sunday, September 27, 2015

The Kind of Men Who Hit on Me Now

On the last day of summer vacation I loaded up 3 kids and 2 bulging beach bags and headed to the pool. We didn't get very many pool days this summer thanks to the Broken Leg Crisis of 2015, so when I asked the kids how they wanted to spend this last hoorah, the pool was definitely their number one choice (right after I said no to Target).

Besides, the pool would be a welcome distraction from the mixed emotions about starting Kindergarten the next day. Not a distraction for Jack of course, he was fine, but to keep me from trying to pull him in my lap and smell his hair and force him to look at his baby book for the 18th time.

It was a beautiful eighty degree day and the pool was relatively empty save for a handful of sunbathers and a few families with small children. 

I sat on the stairs in the shallow end, the water rhythmically slapping my knees and the sun warming my shoulders as I watched my kids bob up and down, playing a pool game of their own invention. The last day of summer vacation was shaping up to be a fantastic day, until the lifeguard blew his whistle to signal adult swim, and it all went downhill from there. 

I held Elise's hand as we all trudged out of the water toward our chairs. As I handed out towels and snacks, I noticed a man standing about two feet away from us, staring in our general direction. He was tall, broad-shouldered and muscular, probably in his late 20's. I suspected he was also quite attractive, but it was hard to tell since he was wearing giant reflective sunglasses that seemed to cover half his face.

He stood there, rooted to one spot, with an unwavering gaze that caught me off guard.

My first thought was to immediately scan our surroundings for the thing which had so completely captured his attention. Was there a swarm of bees behind us? Were they giving out free ice pops at the snack bar? Were those brazen Europeans trying to sunbathe topless again??

When I could spot nothing that seemed out of the ordinary, another thought dawned on me. Holy moly, he is staring at me!! I became flustered and immediately aware that bending over to retrieve dropped goldfish dramatically increased the rolls in my stomach.  I instantly stood up and tried to position myself in a casual, yet very skinny pose.

Most of my days are spent with little children who are unconcerned with how I look and who are actually rather fond of squishing their tiny faces into my cushy stomach. Most adult interaction is with other moms or with Mike, the very nice man who fulfills my home shop order at the grocery store so I don't have to go into the actual grocery store and push my kids around in the giant two-seater racecar cart which has the propensity to knock over the very large display of loose nuts which can be heard bouncing and rolling all over the store as they cascade to the ground and then Mike has to sweep them up as I back away apologizing profusely.

Anyway, the point is that I no longer have any idea how to behave in a situation where a young, shirtless man is about to ask for my number or tell me I'm beautiful or offer to buy me an ice pop. I just tried to stand there in my skinniest, casual-est pose, entirely ignoring my children's screams of He took my granola bar! or When is break time over?! or Elise just peed on the ground!

I was completely preoccupied with composing a response to whatever pick-up line he decided to use. I would let him down gently of course. That's so funny you thought I was the babysitter! I had no idea that tummy-slimming one pieces were what all the young girls are wearing these days! Actually, I know it's hard to believe, but these are all my kids! I'm married to a wonderful man, who is also tall and muscular and looks great without his shirt on. Thank you so much for offering, but you see why I cannot accept an ice pop from you.

Yes, that is what I would say. So I stood there, sucking it in, and he stared. And I stood, and he stared. I'm not sure at what point staring goes from flattering to creepy, but it probably happens a whole lot quicker with a 33-year-old mother whose 3 children have emptied the entire contents of her pool bag all over the wet cement, than it does with a 21-year-old at a bar.

I had had enough. This was ridiculous. I was SO DONE with this charade. I marched right up to Shirtless Joe, close enough that I could see myself in his stupid, shiny glasses. I gave him my harshest glare (which is about as threatening as a scolding from Mary Poppins) and tried to summon the courage to say something really snarky and clever like Can I HELP you? or the classic Take a picture, it'll last longer!!

Then his friend walked up.

Shirtless Joe took off his glasses and placed them on his chair. His friend then took him by the elbow, led him across the pavement, and guided him into the water...because Shirtless Joe was blind.


I know there is a lesson in this story somewhere, like don't judge a book by it's shiny, shirtless cover or pride goeth before a super embarrassing fall, but I am not Aesop.

Instead, I will take this opportunity to say THANK YOU to my husband for loving me and my squishy tummy and please don't ever leave me because the only men who stare at me these days are BLIND.

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