I know it’s hard to believe (you’ve seen my pictures), but one time I was mistaken for a prostitute. It’s not what you think. I wasn’t hanging out on the corner slinking around in a sexy Halloween costume or anything. Nope, I was selling handmade Christmas stockings, at a flea market, with my mother.
There I was minding my own business whan an old man drove up in his rusted out truck and stared at me through his window for at least eight minutes straight. He was staring at me in a creepy, unrelenting way. Like you might stare at cattle before making a purchase. I was wearing jeans, a sweater and a jacket because it was November. It was cold. I’m only telling you this to make it clear that the only skin I had exposed was on my face and on my hands. There is no way any rational person would have thought I was selling anything more than Christmas stockings on that fine November day. No way at all.
He finally got out of his truck and came over to our table. Then, he offered me $50 to go home with him. I don’t think there is anything quite as embarrassing as being offered money for those kind of services IN FRONT OF YOUR MOTHER, but what could I do? I simple said, “No thank you.” Then I asked him if he would like to buy a Christmas stocking. Inside I felt a little insulted, a little disgusted, and a little bit like jumping over the table and strangling the man with my bare hands. It made me feel unsafe and uncomfortable and angry. He didn’t leave right away either. He just stood there looking at me as if he was completely dumbfounded by my response. As if he had never been turned down before. I found that hard to believe.
I started to look around at the other young woman selling their crafts and junk at the flea market and wondered how often he got a yes from one of them. Someone must have been saying yes because he seemed pretty surprised to hear me say no. I wanted him to leave, but instead he just stood there staring at me. Then he moved back about three feet and stared at me some more. It was strange. Finally, he left and I was relieved.
It took me a few months to stop worrying about running into that man again. I would see a truck that looked like his and flinch. It wasn’t so much that he thought I was a prostitute that freaked me out. It was more the staring and the not leaving that made me worry. I haven’t been back to that Flea Market since. I’m not sure what is going on over there, but I am pretty sure I want no part of it.
So, that’s the story of how I was once mistaken for a prostitute. Let’s all hope it never happens again because that is not how anyone expects to spend their Saturday morning at the flea market. Is it?