Confession: I have extremely archaic ideas about male behavior. I know they are archaic, but I hold to them stubbornly nonetheless.
I stood in line at a busy supermarket, a cartful of groceries in front of me, my sister-in-law in line behind me. We stood there, chatting and waiting, comparing bargains. Waiting longer. Chatting some more.
“Excuse me, ma’am,” said a voice behind us. I looked past April and located the man speaking. He looked to be in his fifties at least, heavyset, wearing a dress jacket. He talked to me over her head. “Excuse me. Can I go ahead of you? I have only two things and I’m paying cash.”
I stood there looking at him. “Alright,” I said. It was the only word I could find at the time; the rest were strewn about the floor where my jaw had dropped them.
“Thank you,” he said sincerely, and passed me up. But he didn’t look me in the eyes again.
If you can feel okay with yourself after cutting ahead of two women, be my guest.
I sat in another supermarket, this time at a table selling chocolate bars with my son. We made good money, our sales steady and our crowd interested.
Our next customer looked to be in his seventies, a healthy old guy with a bill cap and a little paunch. “What do you have here?” He leaned over the chocolates.
“We have Daffin’s candy bars, one dollar each—caramel, peanut butter, or almond,” I said.
“Almond,” he said at once. “She likes almond.”
I grinned at him. “For a lady, huh?”
He straightened up enough to look at me sidelong. “She’s been my baby for fifty-seven years,” he said proudly, and handed over his dollar.
Now that’s a man.
It would have been so nice for the Mrs. Men to be able to look ahead before creating nuptial agreements and see how their guys would behave in supermarkets someday. But probably they cared more about what kind of cars the boys drove and whether or not they had acne. Silly chicks.