On Sunday morning I found myself standing at the supermarket checkout behind an unnervingly good-looking Young Man doing what I’d call a “bachelor boy shop”: a litre of orange juice, an apple and some Lynx deodorant. And there was little old me, in my tracky-dacks and birkenstocks, buying a bumper box of sanitary hygiene products and (as per my husband’s request) “a shit load of pegs”.
I watched the Young Man carefully place a divider between our shopping items and thought about tapping him on the shoulder and saying “Uh, I think they’ll know where your shopping ends and mine begins.” But I didn’t, mostly because I didn’t trust myself not to lick my lips salaciously while doing it. He really was That Good Looking.
Then I began thinking of saying things like “I once was young and beautiful too, you know.” and then “Well, I was once young…”. Or perhaps even a little soliloquy like “My life is not so different to yours, actually, buddy. In case you were, like, wondering… For one thing, we both look like we’ve been up for most of the night. Admittedly it’s unlikely to be for the same reasons… Let’s just say that the kind of stains I’ll be washing out from my sheets later this morning are of a completely different nature from the stains you’ll probably be washing out of yours.”
And then, I thought to myself, that it was exactly this kind of statement that made Young Men like him not really want to talk to me much, even when I was young. So I changed tack in the conversation, which you can do quite easily when it is entirely imaginary.
“Yeah, being a parent is just like taking drugs, man,” I imagined myself saying to him. Which was something some friends and I had conversed about wittily just the other day (a non-imaginary conversation, actually). We had decided that both parenting and (some) drug-taking are the same in that they are “life-style choices” that are all-consuming and expensive. And, we concluded, if you do too much of either, you could do yourself some serious long-term damage.
“Except,” I had announced to my friends at the time. “One makes you fat and the other one makes you thin.”
We had all laughed at this but then I had suddenly stopped laughing to say: “Shit, I obviously chose the wrong thing.”
“And I obviously chose the wrong drug,” my friend Mzzzz E had piped up. And we had all laughed again because she was So Clearly Hot.
But then I stopped imagining myself telling the Young Man about Mzzzz E at this point because I realised he would totally fancy the pants off her and this moment was about Him and Me, even if he had actually paid for his three items and already left the supermarket. That’s the greatest thing about imaginary conversations: the person you’re talking to doesn’t even have to be there. Genius.
Anyway, when I finally got outside, I wasn’t at all surprised to find my husband sitting in the Love Bus and gazing longingly at the Young Man as he put his shopping away in his bicycle panniers. As I said, he really was That Good Looking.
“He’s really, really, ridiculously good looking, isn’t he?” I whispered, as I got into the car.
“What?” my husband said. “I was checking this guy’s bicycle out. It’s a beauty.”
And he licked his lips salaciously.