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What’s under the hood?

September 18, 2011

I should have known something like this would happen sooner or later.  There is nothing like working in an intimate-wear store to lead to potentially awkward situations.  I think I kept tonight’s incident from being awkward for anyone else but me.  At least, I hope I did…

I was working this evening when the door to the store opened up and in walked two women and…we’ll let’s just say it was Pat.  I greeted them and offered my assistance with their shopping.  They all just wanted to look around, which was fine.  I backed off and began to surreptitiously check out Pat.

Hair?  Dark and super short.

Shoes? Blue sport flippy floppies.

Pants?  Khaki cargo shorts, very baggy and slightly below the knees.

Shirt?  Large, baggy black t-shirt with some sort of nondescript logo on it.

Body shape?  Can’t see squat under that giant black t-shirt but seems to be broad in the shoulders and back and somewhat heavy.

Voice? Midtones.  Rather low for a female, rather high for a male.

Ugh.  I had no idea if Pat was male or female.

It’s not unusual for a male to accompany women into the store.  Sometimes they stand around and look awkward, and sometimes they help shop.  Pat appeared mildly interested in shopping, but seemed to be following the two women around more than anything.  It wasn’t like Pat was holding clothes up to his/her body and checking them out in the mirror or speaking in a way that I could get an idea what sort of clothing he/she might normally wear.  I didn’t want to offend Pat by addressing the women’s needs, but then again I didn’t want to make a potentially very embarrassing assumption, either.

Ugh.  Ugh! ugh! ugh!

Finally the women and Pat were standing near a wall of bras.  One of the women was checking out a style rather intently, and Pat seemed to be interested and listening.  I asked the group generically if anyone would like to try on that particular bra.  And Pat spoke up and said maybe…but he/she wasn’t sure what size he/she wore.  I had a tape measure and said I’d be glad to measure, an offer that was quickly accepted.

As I pulled out my tape measure all I could think was please be a woman…please be a woman…please be a woman…

Pat raised his/her arms and as I measured his/her ribcage, I discovered two things:

1.  Pat was actually quite small under all that bulky, baggy clothing.  Several sizes smaller than it would appear.

2.  Pat was female and not even close to flat-chested.  In fact, she was on the upper end of what I could fit in her size range.

Most of the time when people wear super baggy clothing, I want to tell them that they aren’t hiding as much as they think they are.  But in Pat’s case, I would have been wrong.  Pat’s clothing size and style choice made her look masculine and about four sizes larger than she really was.  And maybe she liked it that way, who knows.

I’m just relieved it all turned out without incident or accident.  And that Pat bought a bra that helped specify her gender a bit more definitely.  The next sales associate she meets will thank me.


One Comment leave one →
  1. September 19, 2011 8:58 am

    I love your workplace stories. I held my breath to the end on this one! hehe

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