An "innocent upper."
Yesterday, I went to the gym as I hadn’t been since writing the story about the ass-revealing shorts known as “Scrunch Butt Shorts” on Amazon.
As an aside, I encountered another wearer of these buttcrackers. A young woman, who looked to be about eighteen or so, was checking out her sumptuous bootie in the restroom mirror. For a few seconds, she turned this way and that, and then, she allowed herself one last peek and left. The shorts were hot pink, by the way, like a heat-seeking missile for pervs.
I didn’t stare, I swear. (I was standing right next to her.)
But, I digress. My workout was reasonably intense. I’d already completed two miles on the treadmill before leaving the house and ran/walked an additional mile at the gym, rode three miles on the stationary bike, and then worked my arms on several machines.
Gym time is my time and I love it. Working out never fails to lift my mood, no matter how dark it is going in. It wouldn’t be the same without my music, though. My eclectic collection of tunes is the perfect catalyst to spur me on from machine to machine. I get lost in them.
So. Yesterday, as I went through my circuit, head bopping to World Party’s All Come True, I noticed a young man noticing me, in return. A good-looking, very fit, Black dude, about thirty or so.
I want to pause here and tell you that I thought l long and hard about the blowback I might receive for referencing his race and that some people might skewer me for that. But, that would be hypocritical of me as I’ve written about my distaste for those who are offended by damn near everything. And, as a writer and screenwriter, I feel compelled to set a scene, you know? To accurately describe what I see so that readers can share my vision.
That said, I simply cannot bring myself to tiptoe around the truth, which is that I find Black men extraordinarily attractive, as I do Black women. In the same way that I find Caucasian men of Italian and Irish heritage (like my husband), appealing.Or, the actor Cillian Murphy, with his shock of hair and crystal-blue, otherwordly gaze. (My heart rate elevates at the thought of him.) Or, cats.
Have I adequately explained myself?
So, back to the gym. As I said, the young man appeared youngeryounger cheeks on display, why me, right? I mean, WTF?
And here’s the answer, folks. Once again, the secret lies in the “eye of the beholder.” For whatever reason, another individual sees something appealing in you, and you in them. It’s mysterious and sexy and as ancient as the Pyramids.
It didn’t take long for me to get that the guy was homing in on me because when I walked by him as he was doing his thing on the Triceps Extension machine, he favored me with a dazzling smile.
And then it happened again, as I was coming out of the restroom after checking myself out in the mirror, wondering if perhaps I had some kind of schmutz on my cheek. This time, he mouthed a “hi,” and I smiled and executed a perky chin lift in response.
Finally, as I was packing it in and walking toward the exit (bad-assedly I hoped), there he was, right in front of me on another machine. Once again, he flashed that glorious smile and said, “Have a great day.” I mouthed the same and as I approached the glass doors leading to the parking lot, I stopped, thought for half a second, and then walked back to him.
“Why not,” I thought. Why not let someone know how mere seconds in their presence uplifted me?
Although the guy’s back was to me, he must have sensed my return as he pulled his earbuds out and turned to me, questioning.
I leaned over and said, “You’re a handsome man.” At that, impossibly, his smile became even more luminous and then he stood up, touched me on my arm, and said,“I wanted to say the same to you, beauty.”
As buoyant as if I’d been pumped full of helium, I floated out of that gym, my cheeks warm. That one line, those few words, from a stranger, brought me back to a different time, a time when I wore fire engine red pants and a lacy, white midriff top for a night on the town. My “feeling invincible” outfit. But right then, I could have been clad in a rucksack and still felt as high.
Perhaps he was futzing with me. Merely trying to make an older woman feel good. But, I don’t believe so. I felt a spark and so did he.
Such is the beauty of the flirt. Of an almost instantaneous, combustible, and yes, sometimes highly improbable reaction between two people who will probably never see one another again. But, who knows?
I do know that it felt darn good. More than that. It was delicious.
© Sherry McGuinn, 2023. All Rights Reserved.
Sherry McGuinn is a slightly-twisted, longtime Chicago-area writer and award-winning screenwriter. She is currently pitching her newest screenplay, “The Month We Fell Apart,” a drama with dark, comedic overtones inspired by a true story, as well as “DEAD TIRED,” a female-driven, erotic thriller.