I experienced a nightmare the likes of which only a middle-aged man can understand, and somehow, by the grace of God, I survived.
I went shopping with my lovely wife, Jenni, to Victoria’s Secret. I know women think that that should be a dream come true, but I’m here to tell you, it’s not.
Deep down, all guys know they’re perverts, but we don’t really want anybody else to know this. Walking into Victoria’s Secret is like a crack head walking into a crack house. We enter the store like there’s going to be Victoria’s Secret models walking around in bras and panties. It’s never like that though. It’s more like finding a thong in the laundry basket and learning it’s your daughter’s. Awkward and embarrassing.
Jenni and I were at the mall – I must have been there to get a pretzel or something – when Jenni remembered that she had a coupon for a free pair of panties.
“Let’s run in there and grab these real quick,” she said.
“Okay,” I said, with dread. I had done this before. I knew there weren’t any scantily clad Victoria’s Secret models in there. I knew it was a store full of my daughter’s thongs.
We entered the store and Jenni went to the panties bins. In a normal store, I’d help her find what she was looking for to hasten our departure, but I wasn’t about to go digging through a bin of women’s panties, in public, in front of a store full of women. I already felt like the women in the store thought I was a pervert, I wasn’t about to give them evidence.
And then a thought occurred to me. The previous Christmas we had found a pair of Detroit Lions sweatpants for my daughter there and she had really liked them. I wondered if they had anything new that she might like for that Christmas. So I wandered, looking for Detroit Lions gear.
Before I knew what was happening I found myself standing outside the changing room, just as a lady was exiting. The look on her face screamed, “STRANGER DANGER!”
While totally innocent, I was the pervert hanging around outside the changing room in Victoria’s Secret.
I hustled back to Jenni’s side, my face burning with embarrassment.
“Where have you been?” she asked, not looking up from the bin.
She looked up to my face and shook her head. “Just stay with me, please.”
“Okay,” I said, “Are you ready to go?”
“Not yet,” she said, looking around. “I want to find a pair of yoga pants for Chelsea.”
We found the yoga pants, but Jenni wasn’t sure which size to get. I could help with yoga pants, they were like sweatpants. It was the perfect opportunity to redeem myself, and maybe earn a cookie before we left the mall. I thought I could find someone in the store about the same size as Chelsea, and ask her what size she wore.
So, I started scanning the other shoppers.
I found a clerk about the same size as Chelsea, just as she turned around and caught me checking out her legs and butt.
Again, I was innocent, but probably not getting a cookie.
“Can I help you?” the clerk asked, her eyes drilling into my skull.
I stammered, “I…um…you’re…my wife…Jenni!”
Jenni turned to see the angry clerk and me with an embarrassed look on my face. “Why don’t you go wait for me out in the mall?” she said.
I thanked her for her mercy and exited the store, looking at nothing but the floor the entire way.
It was the last time I’ve ever been in Victoria’s Secret. Jenni and I now have an unspoken agreement that she will not go in there when I am with her, and I…well, I don’t really have a side to the agreement. I’m just not allowed to go in there anymore, which is fine with me.
Steve Hagood is the author of the newly released Cold, Dark Places from Indigo Sea Press, as well as other novels and short stories. To learn more visit his website http://www.stevehagood.com