Don’t stare at women’s shirts


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.

23 responses »

  1. Well, at least you didn’t make a mountain out of a molehill… 😉

    Glad I’m not the only one who over-thinks things. Of course, I can’t think of anything specific now, but I know I’ve been in many situations like the one you found yourself in, later scrambling to try to fix what I’d done. Knowing me, I probably only made it worse!


  2. I started to smile and then laughing right out loud. It actually reminded me of a story one of my good friends at work told me. She said a lady was sitting two pews ahead of them in church one Sunday and when she looked up the lady had a bra hanging on to the back of her sweater.It was dangling.She went up to her and told her. The lady left in a hurry and she has never been back. True story.


  3. This really made me laugh. It is a “many a true word spoken in jest” situation though, while you obviously couldn’t exactly predict the outcomes in the way you had, it is true that all our lives and interactions are all so connected that sometimes a small thing one person does can have big knock on effects for others further down the line (good or bad!), like Sliding Doors. it sometimes blows my mind when I start thinking down those lines.


  4. I stare at people a lot, and in at least some cases explaining why wouldn’t help, either because I don’t know whether I’m calling att’n to a stare the object of it may not have noticed (and therefore may become MORE annoyed rather than less) or because the explanation would itself be embarrassing.

    Once at a meeting there was a late-arriving newcomer across the table I kept staring at because to me he looked uncannily like someone who used to come there who’d died. I told this doppelganger immediately afterward. Nobody else at the meeting thought he looked that much like the dead guy, and some thought he wasn’t even close in appearance.

    Another time at a HS football game I was very attracted to & stared at the band leader, who I assumed was faculty. Turned out she was a student, just looked very mature to me.

    Later I was coaching children in football and one I thought was a girl turned out to be a boy. I kept looking at him after learning that, because he (I keep wanting t write “she”) looked so female to me and I kept trying to figure out what features in children were giving me sex identity clues. The long hair was part, though not all, of it.

    And then there was a time on the bus when the woman sitting in front of me kept goggle-eyed, gape-mouthed staring at me! I never figured that out, and never asked, but guessed that either: (1) she had a huge over-reaction to my nose hairs, which were sticking out slightly; (2) she was a crazy lady; (3) it was an acting exercise or psychology experiment; or (4) I was like the person in my first story above, and she thought I had an amazing resemblance to someone she knew.


  5. I never really see things that I like that much until Spring time rolls around. Spring time brings out the florals, cotton, and all other things flowy and feminine which I just love. I saw someone wearing a pretty blue shirt two days ago – it was chiffon with red, orange, and yellow flowers on it. It was lightly fitted at the top but hung in a flowy kind of way at the bottom, and had cap sleeves with a little bit of puff.


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