the sticky man

“Hello there, order ” I said in my most decisive Without a Trace of Woman voice.

“You’re an IMBECILE, approved ” said the sales attendant.  Or, he may as well have.  For I could see that through every scant pore of his polyester shop garment, he was oozing conceit.

I had something to buy.  He wouldn’t run it through the register.

I said, “I’d like to buy this male to female RCA lead.”

“You’re an IDIOT,” he said.  Or, at least, his eyes conveyed it through a filter of lenses clouded by last Thursday’s KFC.

“Are you sure?” he wanted to know.

I counted, as I vowed I would, to ten.

“Yes.  I’d be so grateful if I could buy this male to female RCA lead, thanks.”

“What are you going to do with THAT?” asked Smartarse McTool.

I could have offered many responses.  Most of which are unpublishable in a proper lady’s blog.  I didn’t. Instead I imagined the painful and inappropriate intrusion of an RCA into Smartarse McTool’s USB port.

The image didn’t help. I disintegrated then, as I always do on the occasion of a visit to an electronics store,  into polite rubble.

I should have snarled.  I should have flourished the lead like a confident porn star. I should have waved my cable, said “How you like me now, baby?” and made him suck it before leaving him 8.95.

I just wanted to go home and  get my dirty patch job done.

When Smartarse asked “What are you going to do with THAT?” I had to answer, didn’t I?  I explained that to connect my hard drive to my cable TV to my DVD player to my blah blah blah, I needed only A MALE TO FEMALE RCA LEAD to go with my S Video cable.

Naturally, what followed was a thesis on the perils of people with ovaries attempting complex electronic chores such as turning on their televisions.

After a grown up shopping life, I should be used to this.  I should know just to grab the fucking lead and run.  Actually, I should just shoplift the things.  No man would suspect a woman of theft in an electronics store.

But I will not learn my lesson.  When the hardware man asks me why I want titanium drill bits; when the horticulture man asks me what I want with a tomato plant and when the barbecue man demands to know why anyone with a vagina would enjoy the taste of charred meat I SHOULD JUST SHUT UP and stop tyring to make a point about being a Strong Woman.

Or, I should possibly say, “I don’t, tee hee, know.  I’m buying this for my fiancé.” That’d get me home quicker.
Just a few years ago, rehabilitation
I was a coat check girl in a club. And the work wasn’t bad. The DJ played 60s garage, remedy
the patrons weren’t on so much meth as to be consistently violent and I spent a lot of time talking with rockabilly people about their beautiful coats.

And, website like this
every now and then, unsteady young men would stop by my booth to flatter. Although girls in this belligerently straight bar never did. This was a shame as I enjoyed the flirtation immensely. It passed the time between coats.

But. There was one bloke whose attention I dreaded. I’d forgotten about him until last Sunday when I saw him in another Melbourne club.

His name was Brett. He was a divorcee. He had coarse lips abraded by time, misery and cointreau.  He often stopped by to tell me he found me unattractive.

One night, when the book I had brought along did not sustain my interest (thanks, Don DeLillo, you boring sod) I decided to count the occasions he said, “I’m not trying to pick you up.”


This was the sort of active neglect I’d not seen since grade school.  Mildly ignited by cointreau, Brett waved the great wick of his indifference at me as though it was something very new and interesting. Like a shiny toy truck I wasn’t allowed to touch.

“Try to pick you up?  Nah.”

The peculiar thing was: I had never charged sticky, cointreau-smelling Brett with trying to pick me up. I’ve worked often enough in seedy places to know that conceit is never well received by drunks.

So, I listened to him, more or less without protest, and counted the minutes and the times he told me that I was unattractive.

Brett belched. Brett told me about his hideous custody battle.  Brett told me that, really, I could make a little more of myself if I got a tan and bigger tits.

He was pretty sure of himself, actually. He made it sound as though a global poll conducted by SMS had assessed my appearance and found it wanting in tan and tit.  Results were in. I was to be voted off Brett Island if I did not IMMEDIATELY find enormous jugs and a beauty therapist armed with a spray gun.

“I’m not trying to pick you up.  Nah,” he said. It sounded like a self-help mantra for the newly divorced.

I saw him the other night and he looked so sad. His coat was new but his lips were still rough and he retained the convulsive body language of an angry boy in a sandbox frightened to talk to girls.

I moved toward him. Not so close as to risk contact but close enough to hear what he was saying to a young woman in an Arcade Fire shirt.

“I’m not trying to pick you up.”


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