By Michelle Lindo-Rice
“Excuse me, miss,” a young man, who appeared to be slightly older than me, called out. He attempted to seek me out again, but I decided to ignore his desperate, frantic call. I rolled my eyes, barely glancing his way, feeling supercilious and highly insulted that this man would even deign to try to hit on me. After all, he was not what I considered highly attractive. He should have known better to try to talk to me, I told myself. I was way out of his league. So, I tilted my chin in the air, deciding to ignore him, sped up and kept walking. It was a beautiful spring day in New York City and I was feeling pretty. Real pretty.
I was twenty one years old and had finally shed those pounds packed on by puberty so I was no longer the chubby-cheeked, chunky teenager. Instead, my sleek young body welcomed the feel and sway of a size-two fuchsia shirt tucked neatly into an extra small black skirt. I had gotten up early to flat iron my new short do. I had cut my hair three days ago and felt grown up and sophisticated. I always had a young face, so I thought the style made me look my age.
Just thinking about my hair cut gave me an extra bounce in my step. I had taken the train from Queens into Manhattan, where I would walk the eight blocks to the musty little room that I had spent my last semester of school. I was about to take my last final exam to complete my bachelor’s degree.
I sipped on the Mistic fruit punch I had purchased as soon as I came out the station. It had been packed in ice and was refreshingly cool on what promised to be a hot day. My ego suffered another boost when yet another young man beckoned to me. He had dread locks and judging by the b-ball in his hands and the sweat pouring down his body, had followed me from the nearby basketball court. I merely sucked my teeth. Dread locks gestured profusely with his hands to get my attention, but I refused to acknowledge his very existence. I felt relieved when in my peripheral vision, I saw him give up with a slight wave of exasperation.
However, I was secretly enthralled by all the interest I was receiving. Grinning from ear to ear, I pulled out the chocolate lipstick I had purchased the day before and gave my lips a quick touch up. Spotting my headphones, I pulled them out and hung them underneath my chin so I wouldn’t ruin my hairdo. I was not listening to anything, but knew that would keep the predators at bay if they saw I was otherwise occupied. But, that didn’t stop me from putting an extra sway in my hips and sashaying until I got to the campus.
Just as I was about to open the door to enter the building, a lady in a navy blue pin-striped suit tapped on my shoulder. I almost jumped out of my socks because the headphones had somewhat muffled my hearing. I tugged the headset from my ears and smiled at her, thinking she may be a professor or dean at the university.
She reached over, patted my on the back, and whispered something in my ear before going her way. I stood frozen. It took a moment for me to fully register the impact of her words. My heart thundered and the confident grin slipped off my face. My eyes widened and I instinctively covered my mouth with one of my hands, even while knowing that would do nothing to diminish my mortification. Her words had hit my core like a whirlwind and my stomach churned in consternation.
In slow motion, I reached around to feel my backside. Instead of feeling the smooth feel of spandex, my hands encountered the unmistakable feel of nylon pantyhose. My skirt was bunched up inside. Quickly, I pulled it out and felt my skirt hit the back of my knee in freedom. Perplexed, I wondered how I could not have known, how I had not felt the wind, so to speak.
I slowly trudged into the classroom hoping that the fire on my cheeks would cool. As I sat down to take my final test, all I could think about was that I had paraded my butt cheek for eight long city blocks for all to see. I thought of the men who had tried to get my attention! They had been trying to rescue me but I had spurned their chivalrous attempts. That day, I learned a lesson in humility for because I had thought I was all that, I had really showed my butt for all New York City to see. Pun intended.
Copyright (2009) by Michelle Lindo-Rice. Please do not copy or redistribute without expressed permission.