The air-travel business can be weird, its own little culture that's kind of old-fashioned (to be polite) and sexist in ways that show up in strange ways even if you're not us. For example, about a month ago, Harmon started wearing skirts to work at every opportunity, and minis at that, a couple inches above the knee. I was kind of excited to see the change, because even my boyfriend finally accepting that he's got great legs is not exactly the best way a relationship can go, I figured that maybe him being more cool with the present shape of his body might mean we could be more at ease hanging out together, even if it's doing mother-daughter stuff.
Nope. Apparently, short skirts are a privilege that flight attendants get after they've gone through a probationary period, and it's not just that Harmon can be more than a little status-conscious, but pilots and other airline/airport staff use it to identify who might be young and wide-eyed. It's actually not unusual for some women to stick with lower hemlines to continue attracting that sort of interest, but that's not Harmon. I was a bit surprised that this was the tradeoff he went for, but apparently it's gotten some persistent group of guys on his back, even if the cost is passengers giving him more of that sort of attention.
Myself, I was getting Magda's annual physical, which was a couple hours filled with tricky questions. Do I find myself getting tired more easily than I did a year ago? Yeah, but I was in my twenties a year ago!
I kid, but I do kind of kick myself for not doing it when I first arrived in Oakland after the Inn and not dragging Harmon along. It seems like an obvious, sensible first step to living someone else's life, although I guess a lot of the time people aren't ready to be poked and prodded and have all those changes made real in clinical terms. Heck, I might have considered being off this one and leaving it for the real Magda if I'd realized that the doctor was going to advise scheduling a mammogram.
There's a part of me that's kind of upset that, paging through the blog, it doesn't seem like anyone who started out as a guy has been subjected to one of those (only Tyler seems to have hit the right window, but apparently "Judith" was spared). I'm not sure whether it will be better or worse in twenty years when my real body has enough miles on it for one to be recommended, since I'm not so busty.
I wound up joking about this with some of the other middle-aged ladies at the airport while we were having lunch (well, not the "my real body" part), saying it was awful and we shouldn't put up with it. Someone saw a guy with a vendor's badge stiffening and asked if women taking about they're bodies made him uncomfortable, and he just said no, but that a mammogram saved his sister's life, which changed the discussion a bit. Didn't make it bad, though, especially when I informed him that the doctor didn't find any sort of lump. He was pretty cool about not rising to the bait that the other ladies waved in front of him where my breasts were concerned.
I ran into him again the next day when I was grabbing a Diet Coke from his newsstand, and we had a few minutes to talk. I felt a little strange when he complimented my English and accent, since he'd been in the country roughly the same length of time as the real Magda and still messed it up occasionally, but given that I've talked to her on the phone and can probably only tell that she's an immigrant because I already knew, it's okay, I guess.
It got busy, he asked if I wanted to pick the conversation we were having up after work, and I said yes without realizing I'd just made a date. I was about to try and find a way to ball or, but Harmon texted to say he'd been assigned to a flight, and I kind of figured, better than sitting home alone. It's not like anything was going to happen.
I can't pretend that I didn't feel a little excited as I ditched my uniform and impulsively grabbed a skirt, camisole, and cardigan rather than the jeans and sweater that had been my first intention. I want really trying to impress this guy, but it had kind of felt different from the others who hit on me/Magda, and I kind of didn't want to say he wasn't worth the effort while still not doing enough to make me feel bad about doing this for someone other than my boyfriend (or at least the guy who will be my boyfriend again in a couple of months). I apologized when I returned to the living room - I'd offered him a drink, but he doesn't touch alcohol - and he said it was nothing.
We found a nice place to eat - vegetarian - and chatted. His kids are in college and couldn't wait to get out of the house, so he thought it must be nice to have "Alicia" still around. It didn't take a whole lot of fusing the details to say I appreciated it but it was certainly a different dynamic. He bragged about his kids a lot, got on the subject of traffic and public transportation, and similar stuff. He was a bit surprised at how easily I swiped notifications away and texted someone back on my phone, but left that behind when I mentioned that one was informing me that my mammogram was clear. He seemed pretty relieved, and blushed like crazy when I suggested he wanted to get his hands on those breasts and didn't want to accidentally run across any gross cancer.
Mostly, though, it wasn't really sexual; he just seemed to like me. He spent a lot of time listening, which was kind of a new experience. A lot of guys my own real age just seem to have nothing to say to women and ones Harmon's age, when they're not even hornier than younger guys, tend to feel (rightly or wrongly) that they've got more to pass on to you than vice versa, whether they're actually teachers or not. And, I admit, I've always kind of liked that, but having a guy really talk to me like a peer, someone with shared experiences and interests, that was kind of cool too.
We saw a movie afterward, and I've got to admit, as much as I liked this guy's company and respect, it was one of those "women past menopause want romance too" things, and it did kind of remind me that, despite current appearances, we didn't really have that much in common. I let him drive me home, said it was nice making friends with him, and then started browsing Netflix until I feel asleep on the couch. I told myself that I didn't really need to feel lousy about stepping out on Harmon, but by the time I woke up the next morning, I did wonder what "back to normal" is going to be like.