Never Judge A Book By Its Leopard-Print Mini Skirt

I had to go to the mall today...a Saturday, which is like the worst day to go if you're me. I don't know if it's since I got sober and started to actually pay attention to other people, or if it's always been this way, but people like to talk to me. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy a light hearted conversation with just about anyone, but most of the time I leave conversations with strangers armed with way more information than I need or want.

I'm not sure what it is about this face that screams, "Tell me EVERYTHING." What am I missing?

I'm not really sure what it is about this face that screams, 
"Tell me everything!" 

He's cheating? 
That's terrible!
Oh wow, your ovaries exploded? 
I didn't even know that could happen!

Even the most immodest would cringe at some of the shit total strangers have shared with me in line at Target. 

Obviously, this "gift" was tremendously helpful during my ten years as a counselor, but when I'm not on the clock, it can leave me feeling mentally and emotionally drained. It's such an issue, I've thought about making up a t-shirt that says something like:

I'm usually caught of guard when people confide shit in me while I'm out shopping. This time, I was prepared.

My point is, I hardly ever go out of my way to talk to strangers; especially while shopping. 

Today was different.

Today I was in Charlotte Russe, pretending to be skinny and trendy, and I couldn't resist. While perusing through one of the racks I noticed a six-foot-something, 60-year-old man wearing a very short leopard print mini skirt, too much make-up, and black tights looking at a polka-dot dress. After taking a head to toe mental picture of this guy, how could I keep quiet? Holy shit, I had to say something. 

"Excuse me," I said. "Can I be super inappropriate right now?" 
A very deep voice responded back with hesitation, "What?"

"You have great legs." She smiled with relief, extended her hand, and said, "I'm Michelle." She said she was just "starting out" and was nervous about how to dress. The length of her skirt had made her really nervous this morning. 

As it turns out Michelle works at the mall in the maintenance department and has felt the eyes of judgement on her. She said that she has wanted to be a woman forever and waited "too long to come out" because of her fear of judgement. I quoted Dr. Seuss and I told her that she looked amazing. I told her how wonderful it had been to meet her, wished her a great day, and left the store. 

That conversation left me feeling hopeful, energized, and with more faith than ever that life is on purpose. I have no doubt that I was supposed to meet Michelle today, and perhaps make her day a little better with an accepting smile and a little Dr. Seuss. Besides, who doesn't like to hear they have great legs? 


  1. Considerer9/07/2013

    'Starting out' at 60 must be so hard! You did a Good Thing - I'm glad events lined up so that you were there, and brazen enough to say something :)

  2. what an awesome thing to say to a stranger - especially at a mall on a Saturday! (what *were* you thinking??)
    I hope she continues to get the support she needs - I've noticed a LOT of people in New England don't really talk to strangers.

  3. They Call Me Mummy9/07/2013

    You're wonderful.

  4. I was thinking she had GREAT legs!

  5. AnotherCleanSlate9/07/2013

    I'm sure it must have taken her a ton of courage to head out and you likely made her day! I'm not a fan of small talk at all, so I know how you feel about typical random convos!

  6. hahaha, no, I meant, what were you thinking getting up and going to the mall on a Saturday in the first place!

  7. Lucy Ball9/08/2013

    This was such a great story! I too, suffer from the affliction of being most everyone's proverbial shoulder to cry on. I loathe shopping to begin with. So people should stay the hell away from me when I have to do it. That said, it feels wonderful to help someone feel genuinely good. I bet Michelle had a spring in her step on duty that night that she never had before. Wanna see my legs? PS, only you would have the balls to compliment a dude for having great mini-skirt legs! I love you!

  8. Sarah Puleo9/08/2013

    Love this so much- everyone needs a compliment now and then.

  9. Insomniac's Dream9/25/2013

    There are many reasons why I love you. This is but one. What a wonderful way to brighten someone's day, especially someone who was nervous, frightened, and probably ridiculed by the rest of the world.

  10. SM Johnson9/29/2013

    Just found you, love you already. XOXO

  11. This is going in my favorites post today. It'll be up in a few minutes. Your kids are so lucky to have you.

  12. Cameron Garriepy11/02/2014

    You do this all the time you know, brighten someone's day just by being you. We've only been in the same room three times, but I'm completely confident in my opinion. It's why the people talk to you in the mall.


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