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Tales from a small town

Short stories about life in a small town. Non-fiction. Great reading.

Monday, December 05, 2005

our obsession with boobs

There's a woman who has a high ranking position in the personnel department where I work.

I'm "just" a grunt on the floor, and she's about 17 levels above me. I have occassion to wave "hi" to her whenever I go up front to iron out my tuition reimbursement plan or hash out my health insurance problems with someone below her.

One day, for some reason, I was in "Anne's" office. She asked me to pop in while I was up front, and she wanted to know what I thought about a co-worker of mine who was interviewing for a promotion. Anne is very pretty, but she doesn't dress like a ho, unlike alot of other women up front who are pretty (and some who aren't.)

She dresses very conservatively, even though she has some very large assets, which must make it very difficult for her to find clothes that allow her to dress conservatively. She was talking about something, placing her hand over her chest the way most people do when they talk with their hands. One thing I noticed that was character for her conservative dress: she has the most expensive nails I've ever seen. I'm by no means a nail watcher, but this woman's manicures obviously cost her a fortune. My eyes were fixated. I was wondering if she had stylized pearl inlays or what. I had no idea she was noticing where my eyes were, because she never gave any indication that she was annoyed.

She kept placing her one hand over her chest, indicating that she was appauled by something, but I can't remember what it was. I wasn't listening so much to the conversation, I just wanted to know how much those nails cost her. I've never seen nails so expensive. (Seriously. The sweaters she wears over her loose blouses, cover things up very well.) I couldn't take it anymore. I forgot about her large "assets," and as a result, how this would sound, and I said, "Those must've cost you a fortune!" I was referring of course to her nails, but the silence was deafening. The moment was very awkward, as I added two-plus-two, and figured out how she was taking what I just said.

She's got the authority to fire my boss and probably three levels above him. I just thought, "honesty is the best policy," so my gaze didn't falter to indicate that I wasn't nervous, even though it seemed like time was standing still, and I was wondering if she could hear the sound of my heart beating. I just kept looking ahead, even peering more closely as her hand didn't move from her chest. "Those nails; I've never seen anything so expensive!"

"Oh!.....Yes, of course," the heel of her hand thumping on her chest to indicate heart palpitations. You could tell we just experienced a classic "fight or flight moment."

Then she started to explain where she got her nails done and how much they cost, and how often she gets them manicured. At first, you could tell she was relieved. Then, when she started thinking more about it in the course of her explanation, I could tell she wasn't upset - but she thought I was taking advantage of a clever comeback, and she felt that I should have been more humble due to the fact she accepted my "story." Maybe I should have been - but I wasn't. In fact, I felt very much like James Bond - I don't know why.

Toward the end of her explanation, she shot me kind of a devilish grin as if to say, "You're lucky I'm in a good mood today, and you're even luckier I'm flattered."