Monday, March 05, 2018

Tyler/Valerie: Alone time

I don't know what I was thinking moving in with four guys. Probably deep down that I was still a guy so it would just be like old times. Uh uh. Living with four guys as a woman ain't no picnic.

It doesn't help that I'm mentally older than these bozos by nearly a decade so I'm past the "eating Swansons and drinking Pabst in your jockeys" phase. I'm not saying you can't eat in front of the TV ever but I'm definitely "notices crumbs on the carpet" years old. I'm "Another random sock stuck in the couch cushions??" Years old. I'm "What does it take to get someone to scrub a dish??" Years old. Denny fancies himself a future MasterChef, loves to experiment, but leaves the evidence of his projects festering in the sink for days.

Even though my time as Judith may be influencing my need for cleanliness, I choose to frame this as an age thing, not a girl thing. These guys are years out of college, they should be up to speed by now. And yeah, I resent the implication that I need to be their live-in maid if I want it to be less filthy around here.

Ryan is the only one with a girlfriend, no surprise. So he's out most often. I don't have much of a relationship with the others and I guess I'm just not in a place to confront anyone about anything.

I'm already regretting moving in but there's no way I could find something comparable, in the neighborhood, affordable. I'll have to live with it. It won't be easy though.

This past weekend I found myself with the place to myself for the first time. I knew the guys were all planning on being out, potentially late, so I had no time to lose. I was going to treat myself right. I was going to put on something comfortable, take a nice hot bath, grab a bowl of my favorite hipster ice cream, and watch Die Hard in my robe.

So I was at the store getting the ice cream and... Fuck my life, it's on the top shelf. And there's only one left. I look around and there's no one to flag down to help a 5-foot-tall female out, so I try standing on my tiptoes, climbing awkwardly on the bottom shelf... I lasted a half a second before I could hear it buckling. Just when I was about to quit in frustration, I hear an annoyingly familiar voice: Rafe, from work.

"Chickpea!" He calls out. That's his "cute" nickname for me, ("Because you're a chick who's the size of a pea.") He gives little nicknames out to all the girls, at least the ones he would want to sleep with (ie, all of us.)

"Having a little trouble?" He asks smugly.

Flush with embarrassment, I groan, "Just trying to get some ice cream..."

He reaches up for the tub. "Choco Frenzy. Sounds good." I'm burning with rage that this guy gets to be 6'2.

Rafe... if I had a nickel for every time I came home from work irritated because of something that guy said or did. For instance, it gets very crowded behind the counter so when he has to pass behind any of us he puts his hands slightly on our hips as if to "guide" himself, playing dumb when we tell him not to. I see him eyeballing all the girls when they/we wear tights or yoga pants to work (sue me, they're comfortable and light.) I once heard him describe, at length, a scale "from tasty to wastey" to gauge how good a girl was in bed. Stupid crap like that.

He's the only straight guy working behind the counter anyway, so I don't know who he thinks enjoys his shit. I guess it's just him amusing himself, bugging the defenseless young ladies who work with us. He's decently behaved with the customers, which is why he doesn't get in trouble.

Something about his face bugs me, too. His scrawny neck, pointy jaw, the bags under his eyes, the way he wears his long hair in a man-bun. His whole deal annoys me, I'm just trying not to be shallow about it by bringing up all the other annoying crap about this guy... but that's part of it too.

He starts to walk away with the ice cream. "Excuse me!" I call out.

He turns back and flashes me that shit-eating grin, "What?"

"That's my--" I stop myself. "...Forget it."

"You want this?" he holds up the pint. "Must be good. I know you love ice cream."

"What makes you say that?" I sneer.

"You just look like a girl who enjoys her dessert."

I immediately glance down and, after seeing the familiar sights that have greeted me for the past several months bulging out of my sweater. My neck straightens back up. I'm a little choked up with anger that he called me fat, which I'm not, and just shocked at the gall he was showing by doing so in public.

After thinking on it, I'm more annoyed that I was so defensive anyway since it's not even really my body! And there's nothing wrong with being curvy or plus-sized or anything anyway! But still, I'm not fat! Just big-boobed and short. Just a way men can get under women's skin, and fuck, it was working.

So all of these various reasons to be angry were colliding in my head, and he looks at my obviously stunned face and starts to laugh. "Woah, don't have a cow!" he snickers.

At that point my annoyance and pseudo-rage turns to something else. "'Have a cow?' What, is 90's slang back? Because that... would be radical."

He doesn't laugh at my awesome joke but that's okay because it lets me go back to being annoyed. "Can I just have the ice cream?"

He smirks again, "Well it's mine, obviously. If you want, we can share..."

I huff, "Forget it, Rafe. Enjoy." I turn to go to the checkout.

"Aw, come on, Pea!" he calls out, following after me. "Come on, we never hang out outside of work."

"Wonder why," I say flatly.

"We could have fun," he says.

"I'm not looking for fun," I say as insistently as I can, hoping he'll back off.

"Val," he says, using my "real" name for maybe the first time in months, "If you're seriously going to go home and eat ice cream by yourself, I find that incredibly sad. I know you've just gone through a big break-up..."

"Broken engagement," I correct him.

"You're just going to wallow in sadness, and that's your idea of a fun night?"

"I'm not gonna wallow," I say, "I'm gonna... revel. I haven't had a night to myself in forever. Is it so wrong for a guy--er, girl, to want to be alone once in a while?"

"You swear this is what you want?" he says.

"Been dreaming about it all week."

He shrugs and hands over the ice cream. "Maybe next time."

I sigh. "Maybe." Doubt it, though. "Have a good one."

He leaves and I cash out and go home.

About an hour into Die Hard, Trent and Denny get home, drunk. "Shit, Die Hard's on!"

They were about to park themselves on the couch, but I improvised. "Oh, is that what this is? I was just channel hopping..." and switched it over to 27 Dresses on the Women's channel to scare 'em off.

They were on their way out again but I had to keep it on the Katherine Heigl movie for the entire time they were there, 45 minutes or so. Practically ruined my whole night.



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