February 20, 2006

Fantasty #18: My grocery store romance

I am convinced that sometime soon I will have a produce-aisle romantic encounter. As you know, I have predicted that 2006 will be my best year so far, and so would not be surprised if aforementioned encounter took place this very year, and was extremely hot. Remember, I'm a little clairvoyant. I certainly wouldn't bet against me, anyway. Unless it's on baseball, which I can't stand. Anyway, where was I? Oh, yes. Produce-aisle romance. This is a long-running, little-understood fantasy of mine, and I promise it's not as deviant as it sounds. Hear me out:

There is something very, very sexy about the grocery store. Actually, that's not precisely accurate. I should say that I feel very, very sexy when I'm shopping, alone, AT the grocery store. This inner sense of sex-appeal is something akin to the way I presume everyone feels when driving alone on a sunny day very fast on a nearly empty road, sunglasses on, great music up loud, windows down, with a bit of a tan. It's that "I could totally be in a movie right now" feeling. This feeling also strikes most people when driving slowly in the pounding rain with anything classical or melancholy/edgy (think Fiona Apple or Bjork) playing, while occasionally glancing dramatically out the window.

In short: Very dramatic, extremely cool, and, well, hot.

In the grocery store, for whatever reason, I am able to channel this inner sense of hotness. But there are a few things you have to understand:

1. It's important to note that I am not a "prancing around in heels and a mini-skirt" grocery shopper, and that wardrobe/physical attractiveness isn't the source of the sex appeal. I'm typically dressed down. Casual, presentable, but distinctly fresh and a little mussed. Hair not perfect, definitely. But teeth always, always brushed and lip gloss applied.
2. No PJ's. Jeans. Exclusively. Unless traveling on business or coming from work, in which case the occasional business apparel is acceptable, but it is preferred to have hair secured with a pen or pencil and to only be buying beverages (bottled water, juice, or wine.)
3. This is the most important parameter of all: No one feels hot pushing around a cart. I ALWAYS carry one of those little red baskets.

There is something very empowering about being a single woman in a grocery store. While I have female friends who loathe to grocery shop, citing "old-maid" shopping carts of three cans of soup, cat food and two bananas, I revel in this red flag that I am shopping for only my sustinence. I carefully select my four too-expensive Wolfgang-Puck soups and my 1/2 gallon of milk (preferably chocolate soy). I love the five different flavors of yogurt and the small boxes of handmade pasta. I make careful choices, and I'm never ashamed... in fact, I'm a little proud of the fact that everything in my basket represents me.

As I breeze up and down the aisles, I know exactly what I'm looking for and where to find it. And I smile at people and feel mysterious that they don't know what's on my list. After the boring basics are covered I head to the wine aisle. I select a couple bottles (one red, one white, usually) while thinking about what meal I'll make to correspond. (Or, more often than not, which night I will consume the entire bottle with no help from my beer-drinking friends).

Then, on to the critical last leg of the trip, where the fantasy culminates: the produce aisle.

In my fantasy, up to this point, I've been going aisle to aisle, occasionally passing the male counterpart -- a single guy braving the grocery store for his monthly stockpile, including but not limited to large amounts of cheese, beer, eggs and cereal. Dog food is a bonus. The encounters to this point might go as follows:

When we first pass each other, we notice, but secretly. Politely. The next time, we might meet on opposite sides of an old couple's shopping cart, which sits perpendicular to the aisle and has nearly blocked it off except for a space large enough for one person and a basket to pass through, we do the awkward "you go..." "no, you--" dance and exchange knowing eye-rolls. A few minutes later, we find ourselves in the same aisle again. There might be a "you again?!" exchange this time. (This is where I usually get particularly witty and irresistable.)

**note: this is the best thing about fantasies -- as they're products of your own deranged ego/imagination, you can be as cool and desireable as you... uh... desire. So please excuse the nauseating lens through which you are viewing this fantasy. You are my guest, this day, in MY psyche. Don't push it.**

Anyway, as I was saying, we pass each other a few times, there's a flirtatious exchange, and we go on our separate ways.

On my way to the register, I stop at the produce section. I carefully select some fresh food. Maybe three apples, a few oranges, a mango, greens, maybe an onion, a bag of tomatoes, celery. I dally a bit on my way out, but finally turn to go when I stop for one last thing. Perhaps portabellos... And grocery store crush is suddenly next to me, or just over my shoulder - very close, anyway - and without so much as a greeting suddenly launches into a gratuitous but hushed question about the portabello. How do you choose them, or cook them? We are conspiratorial appropriately surface, though the conversation is full of innuendo. My basket is heavy, now, and I have to prop it on a hip. My arms are tired, but he never suggests it's too much for me.

There are any number of ways the fantasy goes from here. Sometimes I cut our conversation short, making my way to the checkout line and even the parking lot before he approaches me. Sometimes we, uh, never leave the produce department. Sometimes we don't even really speak there, but look at each other furtively and then leave, never meeting again. In this case the ending doesn't matter, because it's the waiting for the ending part that's so good. Something like the cooking of a meal...

I don't know why this one has stuck with me for so long. There's just something about being around all the food -- ingredients with so much potential, possibility. And there is the mysteriousness and anonymity of obviously being a single girl in a grocery store in the city. And the fact that my basket is always full of good, exotic, interesting food that I get pleasure from selecting by scent, texture, color. It's all very, very sexy.

Please tell me someone else out there finds this hot. Anyone? It might be a little unusual, but at least it's not the standard "So I'm a teacher..." or "So I get a flat tire on a hot day and..." fantasy. It's got flair! Imagination! Subtlety!

Okay, I'm clearly just making myself feel better because I realize no one is going to understand my little produce-aisle daydream. Eh, well. I tried.

Look, it's not my only fantasy. But it is one of the many reasons I rarely have an empty fridge. (Another high-ranking one: I get very, very cranky when hungry. Ask anyone who knows me. It's terrible.)


Ron said...


i work as a manager in a grocery store and i have to say i have seen relationships kind of develop from meetings at a grocery store. can't say i've heard about produce specifically but i suppose that's where you come in!

emynd said...

I'm only commenting because currently your comments link says "1 people are talking" and the bad grammar is so reprehensible, I have to fix it.

Now "2 people are talking" and the universe is balanced.



Trebuchet said...

E - Thank goodness for you.

Mister Underhill said...

Yeah, it should be 1 peple IS talking.

Your post reminds me of the 'turtle' from sex in the city..."Do these taste like shitakis to you?"

auntiegrav said...

Grocery store advice: When you shop, stay to the outside wall of the store. Don't go into the middle, that's where Death resides. Unfortunately, (from a guy standpoint) a 'Produce Aisle Romance', I think is highly likely to lead to someone of a lighter stepping persuasion than the guy buying chips and bean dip.....Not that there is anything WRONG with that...
Your sexuality is unbounded, Tre...you should be required to get a hunting license for it, don't forget to get a lawyer stamp. Look what happened to Dick...;-)

Pat said...

This is totally unrelated, but I've started to incorporate slang words into my normal, "white guy," voice, and I must say, I love it. This all started earlier, when I received an e-mail from Darwin Kaufman about lowering my mortgage payments. He actually said, "lower your monthly payments by 5 benjamins!" Nice business letter, my man! So, if I throw in a, "dog," or maybe even a, "holla if you hear me," you'll know why...ya HEARDDDD?

Trebuchet said...

Aunti: I'm fairly certain my alleged "unbounded sexuality" is slightly less hazardous to the health than a shotgun blast to the torso/head region. At least it's slightly less likely to cause an old man a heart attack.

On second thought...

Pat: I do prefer when this slang is pronounced like standard geeky white boy, though. It should be "holler if you hear me" or "holler at your boy". Also, "What is up?" is a personal favorite, as you well know.

I think we should bring back the term "Benjamins". I feel it lost traction some time ago, but am a big fan of the term. Maybe we could extend it out to all currency, including change.

Ron said...

just pretend it's the year 1993 and you're brian austin green trying to hold a normal (whatever he considered this to be) conversation with anyone. or trying to write another line for your soon-to-be chart descending "CD".

1 people are talking. even if that sentence was fixed it wouldn't make sense. i love it.

Ben said...

Well I will give your daydream this. It mixes two of my top three things in life.

Top Three List
1. Food
2. Sex (What meeting grocery man eventually leads to)
3. Sleep

The top three are not in that order per say, but change order depending on how I feel. And as far as I am concerned any one of them warrants a fantasy. If you can pull two into one fantasy, all the better. I am still trying to figure out how to get all three together in one spot. If I ever do, it would definitely be a fantasy to write about.

Ron said...

actually ben I remember george castanza did it quite well for a short time in sienfeld (except he replaced sleep with tv)...just remember that if you try to do it the same thing that happened to him will happen to you -- it'll be great the first time, hilarious antics will ensure, and you'll eventually lose your girlfriend who will be thoroughly disgusted by your behavior.