Undoubtedly you’re thinking this was an admonition I needed to give a child, particularly a male child. Shamefully, it was not. Instead it was a note to self.
We were at church, it was time for the sign of peace, I turned around to be neighborly to the people behind me, and found myself staring at a woman’s shirt while vaguely shaking her hand in my periphery and mumbling, “Peace be with you.” It wasn’t that she was super tall or overly large, and therefore I could see nothing but shirt, it was just that her shirt was such a lovely shade of blue in an appealing pattern that I couldn’t take my eyes off it.
Then I turned back around thinking nothing more of it. Suddenly I realized that her son had been standing right next to her, and I had rudely ignored him. This turned out to a good thing. As I turned around again, so as to shake his hand, I saw his mother pulling her sweater around tightly to cover her tummy. D’oh! She thought I’d been staring at her stomach, which made her feel self-conscious about her weight, which would have led her down a path of anorexia, bulimia, or possibly both, which would have made her eventually hospitalized or worse, conceivably leaving her son an orphan!
Seeing all this flash before my eyes, I quickly said, “I love your shirt!” To which she smiled and said, “Oh, thank you,” and quickly let her sweater fall back limply to her sides.
Phew. A close save. If I hadn’t realized my rudeness toward her son and corrected it, he would have wound up in foster care. We all know what can happen to kids “in the system.”* In short, he would have led the life of a juvenile delinquent, ruined lives by selling drugs on the street to people who, in turn, would rob and steal to feed their habit, possibly even commit murder. Had I not turned back around, dozens of lives would have been lost!
So now we all know, people: Do not stare at women’s shirts!
*We don’t know, actually. Or, at least, I don’t. I’m only going from what I see on tv. Please do not write me nasty messages about how you were a foster kid and you turned out just fine. I’m sure you probably did. This was merely a satire, based on a true story, with a whole lotta creative license thrown in to hopefully teach a very moral and poignant lesson about women’s fashion and how our reactions to such may change the fate of the world, including, but not limited to, disrupting the space/time continuum. You have been warned!
Have any of you ever had a similar misunderstanding which nearly led to the end of the world, or, at very least, mild embarrassment? If not, tell me what your favorite shirt looks like! If you actually do have a habit of staring at women’s shirts, please don’t tell me about it. Just seek help now. Lives are at stake.