R-E-S-P-E-C-T

jayne-mansfield

I rarely get embarrassed these days and certainly the tubes of Astroglide and the extensive collections of sex toys on the counter of that fancy bra shop didn’t embarrass me.

“I see you’ve expanded into new territory“ I said to the young woman helping me, since really there was no avoiding these bright and fanciful gadgets.

“Yes, we thought a touch of something light and fun,” she said, blushing as prettily as a contestant in the Miss America pageant.

“Well I’m all for sunlight. It was never right for a girl’s sexuality to be a mystery to the girl.”

“No,” said the young woman, who seemed so sweet I decided to tell her what else was on my mind.

“I really appreciate the fact that during the fitting you didn’t used the kind of slang I could hear other clerks using with their customers. “Let’s hoist these girls high!” one of them said in the dressing room to her client. I just find that so sort of …awful.”

She blinked – in surprise? – and said “Well I appreciate your telling me that and I will certainly pass it on to Management!  You find it inappropriate you’re saying?”

“No, that’s not the word quite. Most times I hear the word ‘inappropriate’ somebody’s using it to shame and one-down somebody else.”

I went on, understanding my thoughts only as I talked.

“It’s just that in the old days we didn’t have the real words for things. We could only point vaguely, saying “here,” or “there” or, God forbid, “DOWN there. The only words for breasts were the guys’ words for them and we couldn’t use those!”

“I was raised by two women and in all my life I never heard either one of them use the word ‘breast,’ which seems pretty sad. So a clerk saying ‘these girls’ or ‘these babies’ just seems terrible to me. We have the language now – we even have shops like these!” I said, indicating the virtual candy store of sexual aids “and it seems like all of this grows out of respect for and an appreciation of our bodies which work so hard every day to do our bidding.”

And there ended the conversation. She thanked me for my thoughts again, and the male shop owner, who I’d seen lurking in back, drifted out front to see who the HELL was assigning so much meaning to his inventory.

But he was nobody I wanted to talk to. I had said my piece to this young woman, sweet as she was and helpful, and so I took my two $85 miracles of engineering and walked out into the parking lot.

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