I was at the grocery store on Sunday with my girlfriend, Amanda, stocking up on whatever was on sale. Since I’ve got a pantry now, I’m gonna use it. As we went through the store, we passed a petite girl, around 5’4″, with sandy blonde hair.
Then her boyfriend and her (maybe their) daughter appeared. He was about six feet, with short, cropped dark hair. It was longer on top and it was teased out at the edges. It was styled more than most guys bother with, and he didn’t look all that happy to be there or all that happy to be with her. He had lots of words written all over him: Cocky. Pretty Boy. Arrogant. Jerk.

She and I made eye contact, briefly. There was an intense sense of curiosity and at least a hint of longing in her eyes, as if she was wondering if I was like her guy. If all guys are like her guy.

I didn’t think much of it until we went to the checkout line. The trio came around just after we did. She went into the checkout lane next to the one we were in. Pretty Boy got into the checkout lane behind us. After I paid, I walked down to the end to start bagging, and Amanda stayed behind in the lane, feeding the remaining groceries down the conveyer belt to me. As she fed the last couple of items down to me, Pretty Boy rammed his cart into her back. “Excuse me,” he said, very loudly and impatiently. She scurried out of his way.

I bagged the last couple of items as Amanda walked around beside me. I swung the cart around towards the exit, pushed it a few inches, then turned around to Pretty Boy. “Next time, why don’t you say ‘Excuse me,’ before you mow her down with the cart?” I asked.

“Oh, shut up,” Pretty Boy said angrily.

Ah, so I’d come upon the center of the universe and I was in the wrong for not acknowledging that. In his mind. (The rest of us don’t live in that world, fortunately.)

I looked Pretty Boy straight in the eye. “Thanks for being a [one-syllable word that begins with “p” and rhymes with “kick”],” I said.

The cashier looked our direction. Pretty Boy looked around, then looked abck at me and mouthed a three-letter word that starts with “F” that’s derogatory to homosexual males.

Noting that he wasn’t worth any more expenditure of oxygen, I turned around and walked away.

Why Pretty Boy chose to question my sexuality with my girlfriend (who holds her own in the looks department too) standing right there, I’m not sure. I asked her about that after we got in the car. The best I could think of was that maybe he didn’t know what the word means. After all, “homosexual” is a complex idea and the word is three syllables more than the longest word he uttered in our presence, and the longest sentence he uttered was all of three words, including “Oh,” which is a common filler word thrown in to sentences to buy time as your brain searches for the right words to say. So Pretty Boy didn’t exactly bowl me over with his speaking ability or intelligence.

I also noted that my one friend who does happen to be homosexual is 6’2″ and wouldn’t have had any trouble whatsoever knocking Pretty Boy down on his cocky, arrogant butt and mopping the floor with it. And he probably wouldn’t have hesitated to do it either.

That’s overreacting. Calling attention to his behavior and letting his true colors shine through for all around to see ought to be pennance enough for what he did. She said he didn’t hurt her.

But if Pretty Boy’s behavior is indicative of how he treats women, I can’t help but think that if someone does overreact next time and sprawls Pretty Boy across the floor, the world will be a better place for it.

At least for the moment before he stands back up.