As Sam walked through the supermarket, he doubted he would go to the gym today. Despite the fact that he knew missing a session would doom him to never return, he wasn’t really disappointed in himself. He was actually proud that he’d gone three times a week for a month.
“I’ll still eat better,” Sam thought as he picked up some broccoli and turned it over in his hand. No brown spots. Into the cart it went.
As he turned to take a look at the grapes, he saw the woman looking at the next fruit display over (which just happened to be the cantaloupes) and stopped. She was awfully pretty. Pretty enough, Sam thought, to be a part-time model or a stewardess. Pretty enough for Sam to wonder if she ought to be the first woman he tried to pick up in a produce section. Pretty enough that Sam kept staring while he thought all this.
When Sam realized he was staring at her a bit too long, he focused his intense gaze upon the grapes instead and moved slightly closer to her. Not close enough to be creepy. A natural, I-just-happen-to-be-checking-out-the-grapes-which-you-also-happen-to-be-near type of closeness.
At one point, Sam made a point of turning in her direction just to weigh the batch of grapes he had selected. This was something Sam never did. He decided on amounts of fruit and vegetables based on looks, not weight.
The move served its purpose, however. Like the theories about T-Rex, Sam believed you had to move in order for a pretty girl to actually see you. Sam saw her look in his direction out of the corner of his eye. So, he quickly finished weighing the grapes, not noticing where the needle on the scale stopped, if he’d given it time to at all, and placed them into his cart.
But as he turned to do so, he made a bold move. He looked to initiate eye contact.
Sam was surprised to see the woman’s eyes down near his belt. When her eyes moved upward and caught his, she smiled, bit her lower lip and scurried away as her face turned red. She was obviously embarrassed and Sam watched her go in shock.
“She was checking me out,” Sam told himself. He evn had to mentally repeat, "Holy crap! She was totally checking me out!" Had he been able to give himself a high five without looking clinically insane, he would have.
As Sam pushed his cart to the deli, his head swelled.
“Half a pound of provolone,” he said to the young man who leaned over the tall counter to hear him.
Sam couldn’t stop thinking of how pretty that woman had been and how he, Sam, of all people, had embarrassed her. Usually he was the one embarrassed when he was caught staring. Sam recalled how that had nearly happened moments before he caught the woman staring at his trousers.
“Here you go sir. Will that be all?”
“And a half pound of turkey,” Sam said and as he added, “the smoked, not the honey,” he sensed someone watching him.
When Sam looked to his right, the woman waiting for the other deli worker to finish packaging her chicken salad quickly averted her gaze to the floor. Once the thirty-something mother (a description Sam developed based on the Lunchables in her cart) had the round plastic container in hand, she turned quickly and walked away, noticeable avoiding having to look in Sam’s direction as she smiled uncontrollably.
“Not as pretty as the first,” Sam thought as he puffed out his chest, “but I’ll take it.”
Inspiration had arrived for Sam in the form of female attention. He decided that he would get to the gym after all. Obviously, the weights were making a difference and to stop now would be to go back to being invisible to women. This was way more fun.
As Sam walked down the frozen food aisle, he made sure to check out his reflection in the glass doors. His profile looked good and he discreetly raised his hand to his forehead to scratch it gently and flex his bicep at the same time.
“Looking good,” he thought.
All in all, three more women were caught looking at Sam a bit too long before he left the store. One was a store employee that couldn't have been more than eighteen. This simultaneously bothered and encouraged Sam. Each one seemed to be looking him up and down. Sam had even noticed a clean cut, well dressed man staring at him in a similar way. While he wasn’t interested, Sam still found himself feeling a bit flattered.
When he returned to his sedan, Sam threw the groceries in the trunk as he beamed. Not only would he keep up the work out regimen, but as he looked over his brown four door Buick, he thought he might need to get a new car. Something more manly. Previously, Sam’s thinking wouldn’t allow him to buy anything flashy. Sports cars raised insurance and trucks used too much gas. Of course, this was when women were ignoring him anyway, so what good would a car do other than to highlight his lack of any other positive attributes?
When friends would ask him why a single guy like him hadn’t bought a nicer car, suggesting it was exactly what they would do if allowed to live his life more than vicariously, Sam had always said, “I’m still too young for a mid-life crisis.”
But now the idea held appeal. A new Sam ought to have a new car that fit him.
As he sat in the brown sedan, he turned the mirror to check his hair. After also ensuring nothing was in his teeth, Sam started the car and prepared to get his groceries home. He needed to get to the gym and keep his physique.
It was when he pulled the seat belt across his chest and down toward his hip that Sam happened to look down and notice his fly was open. Sam’s jaw dropped and he tried to think back to how long it had been that way. His memory brought him back to the stop he’d made at home after work to use the bathroom. This had been immediately before heading to the supermarket.
Instead of going to the gym that evening, Sam sat on his couch, ordered a peperoni pizza and watched reruns of Sanford & Son.
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