Transplanted Life
Saturday, August 14, 2004
No-tax day
I'm not certain exactly why the Commonwealth of Massachusetts declared that no sales taxes shall be collected on this day, but they did. I can't even claim to have known about it until Maureen interrupted my attempt to watch the episode of Stargate Atlantis I had taped last night, as excited as... Well, as excited as a girl who has just been told that every store in the state is, effectively, having a sale.

Obviously, she wasn't going to be denied, so I tagged along with her to the mall. Even if I wasn't as thoroughly jazzed about the whole thing as her, there were a couple of things I could pick up. I cringed a little as she made an immediate beeline for the shoe stores, but, really, what did I expect? She broke the heel on one of her favorite pairs a week and a half ago and I imagine that she's been just waiting for this day in order to replace them. And I did try on a few pairs, mostly so that I didn't look like I was boring her. Nothing leaped out and made me say wow, my feet look ten times sexier than normal!, so I didn't buy anything. Shopping for shoes as a girl is weird, though - when a guy goes to buy shoes, it doesn't matter what he's wearing, but if a I'm wearing shorts, like I was today, I can't try on boots or heels - they're only going to be worn with a skirt or dress, and even if I think they'd go perfect with black miniskirt X, I don't trust my instincts for such things. I'd wind up bringing them home and realizing I've just spent fifty dollars on a pair of shoes that don't go with anything I own.

After four stores, Maureen did eventually find a pair worthy of replacing her old favorites, so we started expanding our outlook. I bought a couple skirts and tops, she got a cardigan, little stuff. We wound up in Victoria's Secret just before hitting Borders and Best Buy. Only Maureen goes into that store looking for full-coverage flannel pajamas, but she found 'em. They are, in fact, pretty nice PJs.

Afterward, while I was looking through Borders, trying to remember just which Kinsey Millhone mystery novel was the last one I read a few years ago - they had P is for Peril and Q is for Quarry as remainders - Maureen looked around, and then said she'd caught me checking out the other customers in the lingeree shop.

"I was doing no such thing! Just because I remember being a guy..."

"It's okay, I'm not any kind of homophobe. But, like, that asian girl who was behind me in line? You were totally checking out her butt when she was going into the changing room."

"Hey, she was wearing a nice dress--"

"Please, give me a little credit. 'Christian' isn't a synonym for 'naïve'. I know the difference between 'I wonder how that would look on me' and 'I wonder how she'd look on me'. I--" She stopped, I guess a little embarrassed by what she'd said. "So, I mean, you know, I'm kind of wondering what your deal is. I mean, I know you've got a boyfriend and you really seem to like him, but is that it for you, or do you, you know, like girls too? That would be, like, totally understandable--"

"But still a sin?"

"NO! I mean, I've got to think that God's not going to send someone to Hell for falling in love with someone and then acting on that love, just because they both happen to be the same sex. That just wouldn't make any sense. I just, you know, saw you doing that and wondered."

I guessed she had a point. "I suppose you might be right. If I do do that, I don't realize I am. I guess I've sort of retained a heterosexual man's appreciation for the female form. I mean, as much as I like the sex, just looking at a guy doesn't do a whole lot for me, and a picture does even less. I suppose it works the other way around, too - I still enjoy looking at pretty girls, but on the occasions when I've had to share a bed with one, nothing."

She figured that made sense, and we moved into Best Buy. I first just wandered around the TV section for a while, bemoaning my lack of funds, occasionally pointing out that the no-tax thing could have saved me $100 on that one, or enough on that portable DVD player to buy one or two movies to watch on it. Maureen commented that if me checking out girls (which I was now incredibly paranoid about) hadn't convinced her I had a guy's mind, then this sad display of male hardware lust would do the trick.

What, like it takes a Y chromosome to see the beauty of a widescreen high-definition 720p image? That's just a sexist thing to say.

We were grabbing movies when she asked me if I ever gave her the once-over. I told her I remembered dating enough women to recognize a verbal trap when I saw one.

But, no, she was serious. I told her no, but that wasn't because she was unattractive - in fact as Martin I had always really liked redheads - but just that when we'd first met, she had, well, gotten on my nerves, so I'd sort of thought of her as "annoying" more than "pretty", and then later on as I'd gotten to know her and she became a friend... Well, you know how that is. I was sure she had attractive guy friends that she didn't think of sexually.

She laughed, I asked what was so funny, and she asked if I thought of her as a guy. I just threw up my hands and went to pay for Kill Bill Volume 2 and Predator: Collector's Edition. I swear, I've actually been a woman for over a year now and I still don't know how or why they do that.

Carter just rolled her eyes when we got back with a bunch of shopping bags, saying she was glad she'd had to work this morning and wasn't dragged along. Usual Carter stuff.

So, that's how Maureen and I spent my Saturday off. Now to take a shower to get rid of the sweat and maybe shave my legs before Doug gets here to take me to the Brattle's Orson Welles double-feature.

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