Cleanup in aisle 5…

Weekends around here aren’t complete without a typical, American-style visit to the grocery store to stock up on the things we need for the week.  This morning, after a breakfast at a Cajun joint in Bethesda, we stopped at a grocery store outside our usual orbit to do a quick shop.

John was at the deli counter and I was sort of spacing out when I suddenly recognized the body language of a woman who was saying something to John: she was pretty clearly in the early stages of trying to chat him up.  At about the moment I realized this, she happened to look over at me.  Since I have one of those faces that when at rest communicates something akin to severe disapproval, she was a bit taken aback.

I wandered over about 30 seconds later, since I was intrigued.  The woman had a small daughter.  What’s going on here?  Ah – no wedding ring.  John, by the way, wears one.

However, this didn’t stop her from continually throwing herself in John’s way as we continued around the store.  Had I had the foresight, I would have visited the snack aisle for popcorn, because her efforts and John’s obliviousness was grand guignol.  When we finally reached the checkout and I mentioned the woman’s determined efforts in John’s direction, he said, “Oh – is that why she kept getting in my way?”

What a man I have. I could have told this woman what it took to get John to realize I was interested in him all those years ago. It took more than some flirtatious body language, I can tell you.

The episode also reminded me of the last time I wrote about John’s babe-magnetude. The original version of the following ran on November 8, 2004:
I live in a house full of male creatures. My husband: John Smith, International Terrorist, MacIntosh (aka Mac, Toshie, Dogface, Fuzzy, etc.), Simon, and Dash. Simon and Dash are stay-at-home types, enjoying (we hope) the lazy, safe existence we have foisted upon them. The rest of us venture out into the world to suffer its slings and arrows. Or, in the case of MacIntosh, to enjoy the love and adulation that is your rightful due when you are fuzzy and cute and have fur that a guitarist in an 80’s hair band would give his eye teeth for.

When John and I first moved to Maryland, we lived in a temporary apartment and got Mac after we had lived there a scant few weeks. Mac was a babe magnet from the beginning, all lollopy paws, big brown eyes, and snubnose curiosity. Walks around our temporary apartment tended to be extended enterprises, with Mac’s fan club stopping us to chat, pet, and play. John and I have spent the last two and a half years knowing our place: we are the roadies, there to serve. Mac takes all the attention with a blasé attitude – he has always been a babe magnet and he knows no other way to be.

My husband is also a babe magnet of a specific variety. For those of you who like your men flashy and trendy, John is not for you (well, he’s not for you anyway – he’s for me, but that’s getting ahead of ourselves). For those of us who like quiet capability, thoughtful intelligence and good sense, and a certain wild-card sense of humor (not to mention, as I lapse into the New England vernacular, wicked cute big brown eyes), John is terribly appealing.

But we have been together for a long time – about five years in total, and while our familiarity does not breed contempt, it does breed comfort. So I was surprised and amused yesterday as we made a stop into Hudson Trail Outfitters and I suddenly found myself to be invisible.

Being on the brink of leaving the store because we couldn’t find a mechanic in the bike section, a young female employee offered to help us find someone.

I should rephrase: this Siren of the Bohemian Outdoors offered to help John find someone. Depositing some clothing on a rack, she deplored her clumsiness – veering precipitously close to a giggle, and flashing John a sideways glance.

I stood behind him, realization of my sudden invisibility starting to dawn, amusement starting to spread. John replied with a somewhat sharp joke, and she flashed him another glance, saying in an admiring voice (and I kid not), “You are direct, aren’t you?” It was all I could do not to start giggling myself.

The best part of the joke is that when I batted my eyes at John later and teased him for being such a babe magnet, he had no idea what I was talking about. Either that, or he’s even smarter than I thought he was.


  1. Obliviousness to other women is not a bad thing in a husband!