It’s raining pollen, kicked up by the mower the boy next door is running over his lawn. Tiny yellow flecks are resting on my computer, my apple, the dogs and my glasses, settling in my eyes and up my nose. The “Tommy” soundtrack’s been running through my head all afternoon while I vacuumed behind the stove, washed down the back of a neglected counter, threw mulch on the gardens and walkway, and now as I sit watching pollen drift and stick, drift and stick.
I should be writing. I should wash the car, too. Instead, I want to share a weird story with you that I woke up thinking about this morning. Hopefully by telling it, I won’t think about it anymore.
The first summer I owned my antique store, back in 2002, a man came in looking for vintage clothing. He was dressed in a suit, it was around noon, and my dad was eating lunch in his shop in the back. I told him we didn’t have much in the way of men’s period clothing or jewelry and he said that was OK, he was looking for women’s items. Oh, I said, will this be a gift? He said no, that he was going to a “party,” wink wink. An “adult” costume party.
It was like standing in the middle of a back issue of Penthouse Forum. I didn’t press him for details, although I asked him what he was looking for specifically.
A delicate ladies shirt or jacket, he said. I sized up his shoulders and it looked like he could fit in some of the items I had, so I showed him a pink feathery waist-length opened jacket and a teal blouse with eyelet closures in the front. Perfect, he said, and he asked if he could try them on.
I was dying of laughter inside, wondering what my dad would think if he saw this guy bringing women’s clothing into the bathroom. I told the man to give me a second to see where my dad was. The man looked a little nervous, but I assured him I could keep my dad busy. I wasn’t going to lose a customer just because he wanted to dress like a woman!
With the coast clear, the man went into the bathroom and tried on the clothes. He peeked his head out the door and asked if I minded rendering an opinion. Sure, I said. No problem. I walked over to the door, looked in, and there he was, buck naked in my bathroom wearing only the pink jacket and checking himself out in the mirror. He asked me, with a serious look on his face, “Does this look alright?”
I clenched my toes to keep from laughing (or looking down). He turned around and checked out the back in the mirror. I admit I looked down.
“Why don’t you try the teal blouse,” I suggested. “Maybe you’ll like that one better.”
OK, he said, and I shut the door.
I wasn’t sure if he was serious or if he was just some flasher who got off shocking antique store owners by wearing women’s clothing in their bathroom, but that seemed preposterous since I had the upper hand. He was naked in my store, and my dad and my .22 were in the back room. This guy really did have a party to go to.
So I went back to the rack and picked out a few other tops I thought would look good on him. He appreciated the effort, and found one he liked – a white lacy high-neck number that a school teacher would have worn with a long black skirt, only he didn’t want the skirt.
Just when I didn’t think things could get more weird, he asked me (while still naked in my bathroom), “Do you have any jewelry that would, you know, fit around ‘it’?” Apparently they dressed their Johnsons and hoo-haas for the party, too. Alrighty then.
I wasn’t about to take out the measuring tape, but at quick glance I could tell a small bracelet might actually work, so I told him to give me a minute and I’d go see what I had. I found a thick metal clasp bracelet with a tiny sword dangling from a chain that I thought might work. Strangely enough it did. Fit him like a glove. Its previous owner was surely rolling in her grave.
The man got dressed and met me at the counter. My dad emerged from the back and greeted the man. “Found something for your girlfriend?” Dad asked. The man turned several shades of red (funny he didn’t blush when he was showing off his bejeweled bishop in the bathroom) and I said yes, he found just the right things. “Well good,” said my dad, and he went back to his shop.
The man thanked me for my discretion and I told him he could come back anytime. And he did, sometime around Halloween, and he bought some dangling earrings and a black fur cape. I never saw him again, though, and I sold the store in 2006.
I sometimes wonder about those parties. Maybe that’s what was in my subconscious this morning that woke me up. I figured a whole lot of sex was going on, but that’s not what intrigues me. It’s actually the aesthetics. What was everyone wearing? Did every man dress up his jimmy, every woman her v-jay? I feel so naïve when I think about this! Naïve and amused.
Ah, the mower is off. The pollen is everywhere and I have to sneeze again. Thanks for listening and letting me share my weird tale of the jewelry sporting, party-going customer. Aren’t you glad you read all the way to the end? LOL I’ll probably think about it still from time to time, but at least I’m not the only one who knows it now, lucky you. I can only imagine what your thoughts are. Share!