Wednesday, June 07, 2006

B-List Week Continues

Shells in the pavement. The New York analog would be "glassphalt."

Being accustomed to stores and restaurants being open at inhuman hours, I inevitably forget or run out of some health or beauty item on nearly every vacation I take. This results in a hunger for a drugstore unprecedented since my last vacation. In New York, there are three or four drugstores on every corner. They carry everything from suppositories to makeup to sunglasses to beach chairs. Because, you know, people in Manhattan really need beach chairs. In basically every other city I've ever visited, there is one drugstore every ten miles or so, and many of them have little beyond aspirin.

This time around, I needed tampons. I left my hotel room around 7:15 am and went off in search of The Great Rolls of Cotton. I was wearing what I had slept in--black sweatpants, a black tank top, no makeup, and unkempt dark, curly hair. Did I mention that we were in Savannah? Oh, and it was Graduation Weekend. Everyone around me was wearing dresses, blazers, and collared shirts. I stuck out like a blond Southern belle in the Bronx, and Savannah isn't even one of those cities where Italians are safely confined to theme restaurants, lest we roam free and inflict our spices and vowels on an unsuspecting populace.

Abandoned sauna. Kind of like Chelsea!

Women ignored me but for some glances of pity that my hair wasn't naturally sun-streaked, nor my breasts buoyant. I knew, immediately, that men's reactions would be different. Sure enough, I got both the reactions I had anticipated:

1. Panhandling;
2. Flirting.

The panhandling, by New York standards, was incredibly tame. I saw the guy coming from a block away--skinny and unkempt. When he passed me, it was with a halfhearted "Spare some change," as if he knew it was futile to ask a woman wearing black pajamas in public in the South and carrying a dominatrix-esque handbag. It was. ("Is that the best you can do?" I thought. "Back home, we eat your kind for breakfast." Mmmmmm, breakfast.)

The flirting caught me by surprise. It began with, "You're not from around here--I can tell by the dark hair and the dark eyes."

I humored him politely--he was the least-threatening individual on the planet--and went off in search of my menstrual products, which I clutched conspicuously with my ringed hand as I stood behind him at the register and he took the opportunity to speak to me again.

"Are you a student?" He said student like it meant stripper--tinged with sexuality and possibilities.

"Nope. I'm just here on vacation with my friends." [And my wedding ring. And my period.]

"With your friends?" ["You mean there are more of you?"]

"Yep. Gotta go." [I'm late for the hotel-room underwear tickle-fight.]

Usually when stuff like that happens when I'm on vacation without my husband or my family, it makes me feel fundamentally alone and vulnerable, even though I'm perfectly capable of brushing off the nonthreatening guy who's just looking to score. In this case, on this trip with these other four women, it didn't feel that way at all. As I left the drugstore, all I could think about was how the morning's events would make a good story for them, how they would understand, and how it would be something we would come away from the trip having all shared.

Broughton Street by night


Anonymous V-Grrrl said...

When Southerners go to New York or Paris, they think, My God, where's the funeral?

Yes, in the South, it's all pastels all the time after March 1.

When the panhandler said, "Can you spare some change?" I'm surprised you didn't say, "I gotta quarter if you got a tampon." : )

I never get flirted with anymore--unless I'm with my expat buddy Cindy Lane--a green-eyed blonde from TEXAS. Then I'm like the broccoli and she's the steak.

10:29 AM  
Blogger Tink said...

LMAO. That was the funniest thing I've read all day.

12:03 PM  
Blogger Mignon said...

You and your wedding ring and period are hott. Student or not.

1:16 PM  
Blogger Mignon said...

Wait - I didn't mean your period is hott. That's gross.

1:16 PM  
Anonymous TB said...

I'm still wondering why you didn't invite him back to the hotel - that would have been hott alright.

Every time I see someone else's pics from Savannah, I am reminded of something new :o)

5:59 PM  
Blogger Jess Riley said...

"... and Savannah isn't even one of those cities where Italians are safely confined to theme restaurants, lest we roam free and inflict our spices and vowels on an unsuspecting populace."

You are hilarious, girl. And I'm so glad you had a great time!

12:22 AM  
Anonymous Izzy said...

I'm late for the hotel-room underwear tickle-fight


2:14 AM  

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