I was with a girl shopping for assorted consumerist baubles. Technically, she was shopping and I was providing color commentary. A man must learn to amuse himself to pull through these dreaded moments. In the middle of a well-delivered quip, I noticed from the most distant corner of my eye a familiar jeans-covered ass. I studied the ass for a bit and the flow of hair down the back and realized it was one of my exes. She turned around and confirmed for me it was her.
She didn’t see me. I watched her for a bit. The three years were not kind to her. Her body was still great but her face looked drawn, eyes sad, and was that an incipient turkey gullet? When I dated her she was a solid 8, and sexy as hell. Now? A 7. Barely. In just three years she dropped a full point. I wondered if she had gone through an emotionally draining divorce in the time since I’d known her. She was at the store alone on a day in which most women are shopping with their partners.
My time spent with her had been good. I held no ill will toward her. We departed not as exes, but as former lovers, blessedly free of bitterness or rancor. And yet, when I saw my ex there in the store, and mentally noted that the girl I was with was better looking than her, a sadistic urge to flaunt my latest lover and parade her past my ex like a trophy float overcame me. I maneuvered myself and my female company into visual range of my ex. I refrained from looking over. I wanted the bump in to feel natural. (Had my lover been less attractive than my ex, I would’ve hid behind the clothes racks and rushed us out of the store.)
As I maneuvered closer to my ex through the aisles of clothes and kitchenware, I placed my hands lovingly on various erogenous zones of my companion’s body. All while pretending not to notice my ex. I slid my hand down my lover’s back, played with her hair, and made sure to tell a joke so that she giggled girlishly within earshot of my ex. Unfortunately, my ex didn’t notice. Either she was captivated by the 40% sale on hand towels, or she was expertly avoiding acknowledging my presence. I doubted the latter, because usually even the best actresses cannot hold it together with zen-like calm and serenity when bumping into an ex who left such an indelible impression on them. They give away their true feelings with a nearly imperceptible quiver in the shoulders, or a nervous dart of the eyes.
Had she forgotten me? Not possible. We dated too many months, and I… did things… with her that assured a memorial to me would forever be etched in her brain, like a Vietnam Lovers Memorial of sex acts. Or maybe she didn’t recognize me? I *was* wearing a hat, crisply turned down along the front brim.
Nevertheless, no matter how much I maneuvered, I couldn’t needle my ex with my profound pettiness. She remained steadfastly unaware of my presence, flitting about the store like a hummingbird. What a wasted opportunity for a deliciously ego-massaging bump in.
I told my girl about my ex being alone in the store, and how I was trying to get the ex to see us. I also told her she was hotter than my ex. Instead of chastising me for my immaturity, her eyes lit up with conspiratorial glee and she offered a strategy.
“Ooh, I’m curious. Which one is she? Let’s walk by her and I’ll stick my ass out for you to smack. Yay!”
God bless women. Just when you are about to resign yourself to the thought that they are made of nothing but sugar and spice and everything nice, you are reminded of the arsenic laced within.
We left the store mission unaccomplished. I pondered for a second why I relished the thought of rubbing my happiness in the face of a sad, possibly single ex for whom I had nothing but warm feelings. I had released the id monster from its hindbrain depths, and danced a little jig with it.
I guess it just feels too good. And I’ve no doubt she would’ve done the same had the shoe been on the other foot. Any woman would’ve done the same. But don’t bother asking them. They’ll deny deny deny. They’ve got an image to burnish, you see.
Note: As with many of my posts, the chronology of this post has been altered to protect the innocent. Namely, me.