It’s late Thursday afternoon, and I just got home. I try to avoid grocery shopping on Fridays or the weekend–when it’s really hard to find any parking at all at my Trader Joe’s–so I stopped by to make sure I could get through the weekend without buying food. I had checked to see what I was out of or was about to run out of before I left home this morning.
I drink a lot of skim milk, so just to be sure I bought two gallons instead of one, some plain yogurt, a few apples, and a couple of sweet potatoes. (If I ever get a boyfriend who is seriously into meat, I’m going to be cooking two different meals at the same time. Challenging, but might be fun!)
I took one of my heavy-duty reusable bags into the store. I should have taken the other one in as well, because everything I bought was fairly heavy. The checker asked me how full to pack the bag before she left one of the milks loose instead of putting in the bag in my grocery cart.
Good thing. I have had cisgender people whom I have related this to snicker and refuse to believe me, but after a trans woman starts marinating in the hormone cocktail, she begins to lose muscle mass at an impressive clip. After a couple of years on hormones, she is no stronger than a cisgender woman of comparable age, height, and degree of fitness.
As a kid, I was the the weak, delicate-boned little sissy who got bullied a lot and was definitely never very muscular even with I was being poisoned by testosterone. These days, I must use gadgets to open jars, and I can no longer use some of my old luggage because I can’t pick it up.
When I got to my car and popped the trunk, I found that I could just about lift the bag out of the cart and get it into my trunk without hurting myself. I must have grunted with the effort.
A man passing by me carrying his groceries asked whether I was OK.
He seemed pleasant. I smiled. “I’m fine. It’s just a little heavy.”
This man was about my age, fit, and I liked the laugh lines around his eyes, which were brown and warm. He returned my smile. “You live around here?”
“In town, yeah.”
“About three years.” OK, just so you know, I realized that this had gone from politeness well into flirting, but I had something happen that morning that made me want to cry. The male attention was boosting my mood and, yes, my ego!
Let she who has never craved a lot of chocolate or some flattering attention after a bad day, cast the first stone!
So we chatted for a few minutes. He told me what he did for a living. He guessed that I was a nurse–I’m not, which I told him, but we weren’t far from a large university hospital with thousands of employees. People who meet me and chat for a few minutes usually think I’m a high-school English teacher or librarian.
He asked me whether I was seeing anybody. Up to that point everything I had said was the truth. But I did not know this man, and the sun would be going down soon. I needed to end this. I told him I had a boyfriend.
He looked disappointed. “Is it going all right?” he asked.
“Pretty well, yes.” I lifted a detail from the romantic life of one of my sisters. “Eight months.”
“Oh. That’s a shame. Well, you’re a very pretty lady. I shop here a lot.” He grinned. “I’ll keep my eyes open for you. Maybe things will change.”
The compliment threw me a little off balance so it took me a few seconds to respond. “Thank you.”
As he started to walk away, I called after him. I shouldn’t have, but I did. “You made my day!”