I admit, i am someone who pushes the boundaries of propriety on a regular basis. I can be in the midst of the most austere occasion, in full lady regalia, when some unfiltered comment will slip from my lips like a gravy fart at Thanksgiving dinner. I can’t help it. When God/Goddess/Universe made me, she replaced the usual filter with a trap door that opens and closes at random. And it doesn’t help that my brain functions like a neurological whack-a-mole, where my better judgement is always one step behind. Obviously, over the years, i have built up an immunity to embarrassment. How could i cope otherwise? Even when caught with my pants down (whether this is figurative or literal is left up to the reader’s imagination), it is instinctual for me to dive into the joke and own it. So when i tell you i was rendered speechless at her comment for a full five or ten seconds, understand that those were the longest seconds in all of Christendom.
I have mentioned before that, especially in winter, i have a tendency to dress a bit like a Manhattan banker. This, combined with my short hairstyle and direct manner, apparently gives some people a certain impression of my sexuality bent. I guess i can understand it. In spite of all we see in movies, tv, magazines, etc, we still have a picture in our minds of the type of woman who dons menswear. Basically, we are inclined to believe she longs for other women who don menswear. (If you are one who truly believes this, we need to talk about book covers. For real. ) This is partly why The Great Kate caused a fury in Hollywood in her day. No one was gonna believe she lusted after Spencer Tracy if she wore pants. Anyway, the point being that her confusion didn’t surprise me…
… After all, i often joke about my multiple marriages, and the fact that Liam Neeson makes me swoon. I make offhand comments regarding the fact that most of the men in the cubby farm are too young for me. And a few have seen me salivate at a well-dressed man. I’m sure this seems contrary to my visual persona.
In reality, it’s not as simple as that. I’m not as simple as that.
So when she complimented my vest, and i didn’t get the hammer out in time to stop the mole, i slipped my arm around her waist and said something along the lines of, “Thank you so much! And what are you doing later?” *wink * She laughed, then pulled me aside to talk.
“I have a friend i want you to meet, ” she says in a not-quite-whisper. “But i’m not sure if you, you know…..”
“Are single?” I ask. “Yes, i am.”
“No, i mean. Ummm. Well, this friend… I mean… She’s a girl. And i know you were married before, but i thought, i mean, maybe i’m wrong. You know, the way you dress and all, i just assumed. I mean, do you? I didn’t mean anything bad. I mean, not that it’s bad. I just….”
“It’s ok,” I say, trying to alleviate her awkwardness. “I generally date men. But tell me about her.”
“Oh!” she says, sighing a breath of relief. “That makes much more sense! You’re bi-coastal!”
This is where i am rendered temporarily mute for a handful of seconds. Then…
I’m laughing. A good-natured laugh that makes her start to laugh too.
“I’ve never been called that before, but yeah, you could say i’m bi-coastal.”
Apparently, she doesn’t win at Whack-a-Mole either.