Monday, August 3, 2009

The finger ... of shame

I got scoped out at the grocery store this afternoon. Well, I think? I did. I'm usually obtuse about this sort of thing. Really, really obtuse.

But this afternoon, I saw it. I mean, I SAW it.

I was walking down the soda/beer aisle with Brigit, because she enjoys a good brew from time to time. I'm trying to introduce her to the good local brews, but she has a strange fascination with the Belgian ales. Personally, I think they taste skunky, but what are you going to do? She has a mind of her own. Almost-three year olds these days, I tell you.

So I'm loading up the cart with soda (diet, oh thank you, bastard diabetes) when Brig starts playing a shy game of peek-a-boo with a man down the aisle. He had just gotten his six pack and was going back to his cart. He started talking to Brigit. She instantly fell in love and started telling him all about her stuffed dog, Buddy. I was observing, mostly because Brig makes me laugh when she plays shy. Because it is so counter to her normal kick-ass attitude.

And then it happened.

He looked at my hand. LOOKED looked. Checked me out.

Now, given that I am wearing an old bleach-stained Minor Threat concert t-shirt (real old school, not Old Navy old school) and a pair of jeans, about which the most flattering review was "do not look like mom jeans," and my hair was tied in a knot (literally, a knot), I'm pretty sure I know why he was looking.

I do not wear a wedding band.

For those of you playing along at home (hi, Mom!), I have been married for 11 years. My children, while entirely capable of being monstrous, were not born of out wedlock.

I do not wear a wedding ring because, well, I can't fit my old, blessed ring over my finger. Within 6 weeks of being pregnant with Brig, my joints had swollen beyond that pretty white gold's capacity. And either my lower finger joint really retains pregnancy weight or my fingers are just permanently fat, whichever it is, I still cannot wear it.

Over the years, I've gotten some looks. Some when I was heavily pregnant with Brig and accompanied by Ror. Some when I had both kids in tow. It happens at grocery stores and at schools.

And it's ridiculous. Whether or not I am married has no bearing on my ability to parent my children. Whether or not my children are "illegitmate" does not change the people that they are, who they will grow into. Whether or not I am a single mother is a not matter to be judged by a guy in the grocery store.

What he could have judged was whether my daughter was clean. (Yes) Dressed. (Yes, in a dress, even) Harmed. (No - except that she'd not 5 minutes earlier twirled into the cart and got a divot in her forehead) Being berated or beaten (No)

I admit to judging parents. Based on their treatment of their children. How they interact with them. How they handle (or mishandle) them.

But as for the rest of it, have we not grown past this? The 50's era assumption game?


Tyler said...

he wasn't checkin you out because of you being a single parent! he knew what i know. you are the hottest thing in the world. and by the way, no more shopping damn it. you are mine and beer man can go suck it!!!

Sarah said...

You know, no ring means more than just heathen-slut bearing children out of wedlock. Maybe he was checking to see if you were a fabulous divorcee...And Ty's right, you are the hottest thing this side of the beer aisle!

karen said...

So, why don't you and I go get ourselves some truely fabulous fake rings while you are out here?