Thursday, February 7, 2008

Customers: Part 10 - Hotmom


   She was a Regular before I began working. Shopped once a month, primarily for Rock. Maybe some Country artists, if their music sounded like Skynyrd or ZZ Top. Groups that wore cowboy hats, but were otherwise rockers. Half the staff knew her name, chatted with her, then forgot about her once she hit the exit.
   Had at least one child that we were aware of. Didn't focus on her, either.
   Then the daughter started senior year, high school.
   About the time, our Regular got that name, Hotmom.

   The daughter began showing up with jeans hitched low and snug. Panties were replaced with string undies. Tops rode higher. She wasn't what we'd call a Regular at our store. More likely, she was a Regular at the tanning salon. Mid December, she'd cruise in, skin stained mocha. Her teeth were professionally whitened and she had either enrolled in gymnastics class or gotten a gym membership.
   Hotmom also lost weight. Her blouses were cut low and open, better to display who had the biggest cleavage of them all. Also hit the tanning beds. Over her jeans she flashed the new tattoo. Tramp stamp.
   Behavior reminded us of an eternal competition. Mother vs. daughter. Youth vs. experience. Cougars who sometimes eat their young.
   Most of the girls at Camp Bowie noticed and exchanged comments.
   "She's too old for that tattoo."
   "Was that Japanese or a butterfly?"
   "Those pants haven't fit her since eighth grade."
   "Ow! My eyes."
   "She looks good to me. I want to see her wearing that leather jacket, and only that leather jacket."
   "No way that is her real hair color."
   "Hey, heifer, bull riding's yonder."
   "Last weekend, I saw her at the same club I go to! Grinding away."
   "How can she parade in public like that?"
   "Look! Wait ... If she ... just about ... One's loose."
   "I say, are they real, or are they Memorex? I'm not saying, I'm just saying."

   Several of these in-store critics were Hotmom's contemporaries. Also tattooed and pierced. Also preferred flattering attire. And hadn't they stalked the same clubs? It was also none of their business, but that rarely curbed opinions. If girls sought support from male coworkers, referencing blonde rinse or silicone, males generally confessed, "Huh? Like we know the difference? Like we care."
   That response didn't fly too well.
   Tell the truth, I liked Hotmom. She was funny, and in the best light she might be considered ... oh ...
   What was that question again?
  Gents treated Hotmom, like we treated fellow male customers who had become old-guy-at-the-club. We pretended they were whatever age they acted like. For years, we heckled wrinkling guys who strutted about with their shirts open, exposing sexy gray haired chests, or boasted tanned foreheads designed for widescreen viewing. It was easy for men to kick other men. With women, it was tricky.
   One staff member, whose name I have conveniently forgotten, started needling Hotmom, asked her about wildly popular boy bands, adolescent girl singers, Radio Disney.
   That Radio Disney was a mistake.
   Hotmom was unamused. Noisy, too.

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