Thursday, August 25, 2005

Breast friends?

It was one of those everyday encounters you have with someone who crosses your path from time to time in the ordinary course of things. I don't know her well. In fact I barely know her at all, but it just so happened that we were sharing ten minutes together over a cup of tea, steeped in the sort of politeness that comes only with unfamiliarity. The conversation was peppered with What Do You Do's and Oh Really's as we passed the time of day.

Gradually I became aware of a sense of discomfort within me. I'm a talker, a bit of a charmer and can usually talk my way into and out of most situations. And yet at this particular moment I was clamming up and my conversation was at once both manic and stilted. Something about this woman was making me distinctly nervous and I couldn't quite put my finger on it.

And then suddenly, there it was. I waited a moment, and there it was again. This woman kept stealing glances at my breasts whenever it was my turn to speak. She would ask me a question and then stare at my boobs while I answered it. I moved my arm casually up to play with my necklace but it didn't seem to inhibit her in any way.

It was a particularly strange experience. My gaydar hadn't even remotely flickered in her direction, and nothing else about her suggested that she preferred the company of women, and yet something about my chest was overwhelmingly fascinating to her. I even got the impression that she was aware of what she was doing and was slightly embarrassed about it herself.

I made my excuses and carried on with my day, feeling somewhat bemused.