It’s Not Polite to Stare

Yesterday as I drove down a residential city street, a man in a white pick up truck pulled out of his parking place headed in my direction. I noticed that instead of looking out of his windshield, as is suggested and preferable, he was intently peering out of his passenger side window at something on the sidewalk. As a result of his wayward stare his oversized truck was headed down the middle of the street-straight toward me.

 

“What are you looking at?” I yelled as I looked to the sidewalk. The answer. A sweet young girl walking down the sidewalk in her summer skirt and t-shirt. “Really?” I impotently yelled through closed windows, “You are old enough to be her dad-first of all, you are going run into me or another parked car-second of all, and have a little respect-third of all.” (Is there a third of all?)

 

This morning on my way to work while I waited at a stop light, another man in a pick up truck-what is it with men and pick ups-had his head stuck out of his window to ogle a girl walking past. When he couldn’t twist his neck any further he used his rear view mirror to lock on. I began yelling again, this time hoping to catch his eye letting him know I saw him being a lech.

I get the attraction. I look at men and women too. I am attracted for many reasons. I think they are beautiful. I like their outfit. I don’t like their outfit. I like their dog. There are many reasons to look at one another.  But when guys are looking only at boobs and butts, as if the woman is on the side walk is there for their pleasure, it is time to teach them some manners. I wanted to slap their faces.

 

When my daughter, Jena, turned 21 we took her out to celebrate. My son’s fiance was singing at a local club so it was a perfect celebration. As we sipped our drinks, Jena her first legal one, I perused the room. My eyes caught a 50-60 something year old man, slight build, polyester suit, talking with many different women. I noticed when the woman turned her back his eyes went straight to her rear end. When she turned back toward him it was her boobs he zeroed in on. I felt a hot flash coming on.

 

Then, to my surprise, he was next to me and walked right up to Jena. He stood way too close to her and said, “Don’t you look sparkly tonight.”

 

I couldn’t help myself. My body moved into action before my brain was even consulted. I put my body between Jena and this lounge lizard. After his gaze left my breasts to meet my eyes, I squared off with him, “I am her mother. You need to back off!”

 

“Oh mama bear. I was just telling her she is sparkly,” he said, his reptilian tongue striking the air between us. “Back off,” I growled, puffing myself up to stand a good bit taller than him.

 

He walked away.

 

The kids were amazed, both that I intimidated him to leave and that what he did bothered me. Perhaps you have to be in your 50’s and menopausal (make my day) to be intolerant of one more man’s bad manners. Maybe you have to be a mom of a young woman to feel the fury that moved my body between them. Regardless, Jena gave me a hug and thanked me. She got it..it’s impolite to stare. I had her back.

 

 

The story doesn’t end here…this creep circled back. He wound his way around the bar to where we stood. He stopped in front of my husband. “You have one uptight wife,” he pronounced.

 

Tom held his gaze, man to slime ball and like waving a fly away from your food said “Go away.”

 

He did.

Mother Daughter Tattoos

Soon after her 18th birthday Jena called me announcing she wanted to get a tattoo. “Oh,” I responded, wondering where I had gone wrong, “Really?”

 

“Yeah” she said, “and I want you to get one with me.”

 

To understand the absurdity of this request you must understand just how much I HATE NEEDLES! I delivered both of my kids naturally, not as a political statement or as an “all natural earth mother,” but because the idea of a needle in my spine was worse to me than any labor pain I might endure.

 

“Mom, are you still there?”

 

“I’m here.” I eked out.

 

Jena went on to describe the tattoos she wanted branded into our flesh. When she was young I would tell her, “I love you to the moon and back.” A sweet nothing for just us. We continue to write, text and say it to each other still.

 

So what does this have to do with our tattoos? Everything.

 

Jena endearingly presented her idea, “Mom, I want us to get I love you to the moon and back. I will write it on you and you can write it on me. Then we have it forever in each others handwriting.”

 

She had me by the heart strings. How could I say no? What a very sweet request. So sweet it melted my fear. I agreed.

 

 

After we hung up I began my research on safe tattooing practices and the most painless part of the body to get inked. I discovered meaty body parts hurt the least. Inside of arms, ankles, tops of feet, or anywhere directly on bone is agony. So I asked myself, “Where am I the meatiest?” (Since beginning menopause I have many more meaty areas to choose from. This was the only time I have been thankful for that.) I also needed to combine meaty with private-this tattoo was not to be for others enjoyment or amusement. After much research and consideration I decided on my upper butt/hip. Right side.

 

The day of the appointment we arrived at the carefully chosen parlor. I was so obviously out of place in my summer skirt and top, panic in my eyes. I felt like Pollyanna in a biker bar. As we waited, sitting with heavily tatted repeat customers, the advise began, “Don’t get it too small, it will look shriveled in a few years. Don’t put it where you might stretch because it will distort. Don’t get red or pink ink because it fades (sounds good to me) and it can cause allergic reactions.”

 

I am headed for the door. “Really? Are they serious? How big is not too small- cuz I was thinking tiny. Where on my body might I not spread or sag in the next 10 years? And, okay, I won’t get red ink-as if that was on my color palette.” Jena calls me back and I sit down.

 

 

Our names are finally called. We head down a spiral staircase into what looks, feels and smells like someones damp basement. We are introduced to our artist, an early 20 something year old man/child. He shows us to his part of the basement. I go first.

 

He “invites” me to the “tattoo chair.” Because of where I want my “art” he directs me to get into the chair face first, resting my torso on the back of the chair, that he lowers, allowing my ass to rise into the air for easy access. Seriously. You get the picture. I threw Jena one of those you are in big trouble mom looks.

 

There I was, for what felt like forever, my ass in the air with a cute young man’s face dangerously close to my butt. What does one talk about in moments like these? I know how to make small talk with my manicurist, my hair stylist, even my gynecologist, but I was out of my comfort zone. Literally and figuratively. It hurt…a lot. I kept asking him what letter was he on.

 

So, in the end (no pun intended) Jena and I have our mother-daughter hand written body art axiom. It will be with us forever and ever. When I catch sight of mine in the bathroom mirror I always smile, feeling warm and loved. Unless I notice the O in love is a little wide. Then I I skip breakfast.