Back-story: Every single job that I've ever had has been a total...whatever the female version of a "sausage fest" is. (I can't come up with anything that doesn't make me a.) want to vomit or b.) sound extraordinarily gay, i.e. lady fest.) (Update: I just googled "what is the opposite of a sausage fest?" and the consensus seems to be either a "taco fest" or a "fish market". And now I want to slice wrists.) In high school I worked for a small woman-owned book store; my first job out of college was working for Soap Opera Digest (which was 99.9% homely women and .1% token gay guy with his dead dog's name tattooed on his forearm;) and my most recent job was, of course, working for the menopausal Macgyver of tampons that was Boss #1 and Boss #2. Now I'm back working the retail job I had in college, and in turn, I'm experiencing the same problem I had there during my first tenure—it's a total dude-tease.
I feel like there's this myth about working in retail that hot guys are in and out of your store all day and you help them and make them laugh and there's a spark and they ask you when your shift ends and you're like, "um, not soon enough?" and you both giggle and meet up for drinks at Garrett's afterwards and you fall in love and everything is wonderful and you have this adorable story about how you met and when he gives his speech at the rehearsal dinner he's like, "I went into her store that day because I needed envelopes—who knew I'd leave with a wife?" (Not like I've thought about it before...) I probably got this idea because I feel like customers were always asking out Helena when she worked at the Barnes & Noble across the street. Although to be fair, the discrepancy between our Georgetown retail experiences may have something to do with the fact that Helena's a petite blonde with sparkling blue eyes and I look like I should be an ironic cartoon about a girl who hates life that only comes on The Cartoon Network Network after midnight, but still. Despite our store's all-female staff, I was looking forward to hot guys coming in and having lots of flirting opportunities with them.
And to be fair, they do. Hot guys come into the store all the time. Unfortunately, they come in with their equally hot girlfriends to pick out wedding invitations. And it's such a fucking tease, you guys. Such a tease. Last week this hot guy came in looking for stationary and I took like, 20 minutes to explain all of our paper options and helped him put together a nice combination of flat cards and envelopes and at the end he was like, "This is awesome. My wife is really going to like this." Really asshole? You couldn't have mentioned that this was for your wife a little earlier? And wear a ring, hippie. I just wasted my special reserve top-shelf customer service on you. Had I known you were married, I probably would have just pointed to the back of the store and been like, "Meh. It's all on that wall somewhere." Gawd.
My point being, you can imagine my excitement last week when an extremely attractive guy came in all covered in sweat, fresh from a run, asking if we had biodegradable envelopes he could use to pick up his dog's crap. Now I'm going to stop myself there—yes, he was looking for biodegradable envelopes to pick up his dog's crap. Yes, I just found out that my friends refer to not recycling as "Meg McBloggering". But with facial scruff like that and forearms like those, I'd chain myself to a tree and throw used tampons at BP gas pumps any day of the week if he asked.
Besides being painfully handsome, this gentleman had a few other things going for him: he was sans significant other, he wasn't wearing a wedding ring, he was in our store for a reason other than celebrating the love he'd found, and he was only a tiny blip on my gaydar. And in a city like Washington, D.C., I will take those odds and I will run with them.
Truthfully we had nothing that could really work for what he needed, but I wanted a chance to lay on the old Meg McBlogger charm, so I showed him our glassine and eco-white envelopes to buy myself some facetime. Unfortunately what I didn't factor into this situation was that "Meg McBlogger charm" is an oxy-moron and I was so excited that a hot, potentially single guy had wandered my way, I lost any social skills that I at any point ever had. (And mind you, I wasn't starting with much.)
But how could you blame me?! I've been waiting four months for this mythical creature to wander into the store and there he was! AND HE HAD A DOG! AND EMOTIONS ABOUT THE ENVIRONMENT! Slightly obnoxious emotions, yes, but EMOTIONS nonetheless! If Nessie wandered over to a group of Loch Ness Monster Hunters and was like, "Hi! Here I am! Want some pictures, because I came with headshots!", you wouldn't expect them to be like, "Oh. Sure. Yeah. Good to see you. Leave them on the top of that pile over there, will you? Kay, take it easy." and go on with their day like nothing happened, would you? WOULD YOU?! No. So I'm sure you can understand what happened next.
As we discussed his dog, what we sell and what exactly it was that he was looking for, I don't want to say that I was shaking, but let's just say that I had been more still before. That and when I get nervous, I tend to talk a lot and really fast. So basically what I'm trying to say is he probably thought I had just made love to a giant vile of crack cocaine. We decided that the closest thing we had to what he was looking for was our glassine envelopes, but they didn't fit the bill perfectly. I then suggested that if he were in the mood for a lovely drive, he should check out "Bark", an eco-friendly pet store in Olney, Maryland, which I only know about because that's where I'm from. (And by the way, I'm still 100% shocked that I didn't suggest we swing by on our way to have brunch with my parents because I think it's high time they finally met. Shocked and a little proud.)
He was really fixated on our glassine envelopes, however, and kept stressing that they'd be perfect if they were a little wider so he could stick his hand in to pick up his dog's crap. We actually do have wider glassine envelopes, but unfortunately the flap on those are on the long side and not on top, so it wouldn't really be that conducive to shoving your hand in.
Now, what I meant to say to him at this point was, "Yeah. These [meaning the wider envelopes with the opening along the long side] won't work because you need the hand jab thingy at the top. [Makes jabbing motion in the air like you're sliding your hand into a bag that eggrolls come in when you get chinese]"
However, what I actually said was: "Yeah. These won't work. You need a hand job. [Repetitively jabs hand in the air, back and forth.]
YOU NEED. A. HAND. JOB.
WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH ME?!?!!?!?! It's like I could see the words that I was trying to say on a chalkboard, and then I could see the key words falling off and what's left moving together to suddenly make the most molestery sentence on the face of the planet.
I was looking down at the stack of envelopes when I said this, and when I realized what had just happened, I swear to god, my head shot up and I just stared ahead for a few seconds like a deer caught in headlights. Then, my eyes darted over and met his and we had the following conversation without ever having to say a word:
Him: Did...you just say—Me: YES. YES I DID. I'M SO SORRY.Him: Like a hand jo—Me: PLEASE STOP. DON'T SAY IT OUT LOUD. PLEASE JUST DON'T SAY IT.Him: Do you really think I need a—Me: NO. I THINK YOU'RE PROBABLY DOING JUST FINE. I'M SO SORRY.Him: So you have thought about me getting a—Me: I WILL PAY YOU CASH MONEY TO PLEASE JUST MOVE ON AND GO BACK TO TALKING ABOUT YOUR ECO DOG.
"Yeah...I think I'm going to try a Chinese restaurant. Thanks for your help though."
And just like that, he walked out of my life and I spent the remaining two hours of my shift having random outbursts of, "HAND JOB. I said he needed a HAND JOB," while my co-workers shamelessly laughed at me.
And to think, I gave someone advice this week on how to not be socially awkward. Sigh...I clearly owe that person one helluva hand job.