Why I Fear Lingerie

And next time I'll poke out your other eye, too! I hate shopping for lingerie. The terminology is foreign to me, and it doesn't take long for the salesperson to figure out that I don't know a spaghetti strap from a noodle belt. So, having made the decision to buy my Significant Other a meaningful yet intimate gift, it was with some trepidation that I approached the clerk at my local department store.

"Excuse me. Can you help me with a gift for the woman in my life?"

The salesperson turned her head just enough to indicate that she had noticed me, but her eyes remained fixed on the computer screen she had been scrutinizing when I arrived.

"I'll be with you in a moment, sir."

I nodded, and stepped away from the counter to examine the handbag display. I was immediately overcome by their leathery fragrance and buttery softness, so I didn't notice the clerk approaching from the side.

"Sir!" Her voice was strident, and left little doubt that the bag I held against my face was for display purposes, and should not be sniffed.

I said I was sorry, and returned the bag to the rack. The clerk looked at the ceiling, shaking her head slowly from side to side.

"This woman," she said tightly, "has a name?"

I nodded. "It's Lil. But everyone knows her as Nanc . . . "

The clerk cut me off. "You should call her by her real name. She deserves that much, don't you think?" Her eyes were hard.

I nodded again. "Sure. You're right. I love her name, but she just . . . "

The clerk's hand was in the air. "Lil. What does she wear?"

I glanced in the direction of the lingerie. "A bra. I want to get her the overwire kind."

The clerk's mouth was open, but no words were coming out of it. My face felt hot. I tried to clear my throat, but it made a squealing sound instead.

The clerk moved closer. There was a new malice in her voice, and her words were slow and deliberate. "You want to . . . an over . . . wire . . . The last two words came out through clenched teeth, loud and hard.

I staggered backward into the leather handbags, bringing the rack to the floor with me as I fell. Before I lost consciousness, I could hear the clerk's voice on the store's public-address system, calling for security. Then there was only the smell of leather.



  1. You crack me up. "Before I lost consciousness" is always such a fun way to begin a sentence, eh?

  2. Heh. It's one of my favorites, right up there with "As I fell . . ."