Excuse me, ma’am..

Howdy readers!

I figure a good ol’ Texan greetin’ be a mighty fine way of startin’ this here bloggin’ thing-a-ma-jig.

But, since I can’t keep up that Texan accent for the entire course, let’s just move ahead now.

I’ve been debating for a couple days now what to blog about. I’d considered Research and Writing; also Getting Back in the Groove; and a few other miscellaneous writing focused topics. But that didn’t seem to suit my style. Much less do I feel writing a blog about writing excuses me from my writing-absence. (I dare not refer to the time I haven’t been writing as a vacation; it deserves no such excuses.)

I’ve settled for telling an embarrassing anecdote from my personal life. It’s made a couple rounds, proven itself a hilarious tale, so let’s start, shall we?

To set the mood…


Excuse me, Ma’am…

The day was bright, unexceptional in East Texas. I had to run by the grocery store, pick up a few items.

As I’m wandering the aisles, I noticed a man had eyed me. Smiled as I walked past even and said “Hi.” I nodded and said “Hello” back. (I try to be very polite.)

After checking out, I stopped by the Blockbuster Express Box (similar to Redbox, just blue instead) to find a couple movies for me and the kids to watch later while Daddy’s at work.

As I’m standing there, browsing through the listings, the same gentleman walks past, his friend standing close by. He stops and says, “Excuse me, Ma’am, I don’t do this often, but what is that you’re wearing?”

……….. PAUSE…………….

I always have to pause at this part.

For men: If you walk past a woman in a store and ask her this question, what do you mean? What answer are you expecting?

For women: If a man approaches you in a store and asks you that question, what do you think he means? What do you answer?

Now that you’ve thought about that.


I very casually, and after only a few seconds of hesitation reply: “A black sweater.”


My reply to, “Ma’am, what is that you’re wearing?” is “A black sweater.”

And mentally, I was already cataloging my other pieces of attire to round out my reply with, “Grey tank top, black pants, tennis shoes, socks and under-things.” (Like I’m going to reference my under clothes in conversation with a strange man! At least, not by direct name!)

No, seriously. While I am the physical and feminine embodiment of the Absent-Minded-Professor, I am amazingly adept at cataloging those minute thoughts that pass through my mind in seconds. (I think it was the brief time I spent practicing meditation. I learned to see and hear my thoughts as they run past. Helps with keep track of story ideas, too.)

His reply….

Bent-over-clutching-belly-with-one-hand-grabbing-knees-with-the-other laughter.

And then, “Oh, sweetheart, I meant your perfume.”

In my mind was the glaring neon side: Why didn’t you just say THAT?

I replied, after pulling my mouth from the words Gray tank top, black pants, etc. “It’s just something I got at Walmart. Called Tabu.” (Or Taboo. I can’t ever seem to remember the spelling.)

While still chuckling, he says, “Well, it smells nice.” Then he leaves, a great big grin on his face. I get the movies and skedaddle as fast as short legs’ll take me.

But wait…. there’s more!

So, upon arriving in my drive way, still going over that brief conversation in my head, I keep coming back to:

1) Why didn’t the guy just say “What’s that perfume you’re wearing?”

2) How on Earth under Heaven did he smell it???????????

I started pondering whether or not men had a better sense of smell, because I sure couldn’t smell the small spritz I’d put on hours ago. There was a brief internal debate about the detection of feminine pheromones and sense of smell, and then I realized that I had a man in the house I could just ask!

A few hours later, I wake the hubby up for work and explain to him the situation at the store. I ask if men have a better sense of smell.


This is just for you average folk out there to really soak this in.

I seriously, very studiously, asked my husband if men had a better sense of smell since this guy at the grocery store could smell my perfume and asked me what brand it was.



My wonderful husband proceeds to laugh, though a gentle chuckle followed by an embarrassed head shake.

He explains that:

1) the man was hitting on me because

2) he more than likely couldn’t smell my perfume but

3) women are usually very proud of the accessories they wear and spray on themselves and

4) perfume is an excellent method of getting a woman to talk about herself which

5) leads the woman to think a man is truly interested in her since he’s listening and not yawning and

6) might get her to either offer her number or willingly give it if he asks.

He then explains why this fails to work on me because:

1) I don’t take particular care in my choice of accessories and tend to forget what it is I’ve put on, whether earrings, bracelet, perfume, or even clothing (as in “Oh yeah, that’s the shirt I’m wearing!”) and

2) I’m naive and

3) I’m innocent.

He then reminds me of the time when I was 22 years old and while driving with him down the road remarked: I don’t know why people paint their lawns that turquoise color. It’s not realistic. Why not paint it green?

Also that he almost hit the brakes hard enough to squeal so he could stop, stare at me, then shake his head in an embarrassed way. (He did inform me at the time that it was pesticide, whereupon I called my sister to tell her that–assuming she still thought it was paint, too, who told me that No, she knew it was pesticide and had known that for a while now. *sigh* I will also freely admit that I have to restrain myself from blurting out “paint” when I see it and remind myself it’s pesticide. Ah, the pieces of youth we cling to.)

I had to ask if other women would have known the man was referring to perfume, and after performing a short survey..

Yes. Yes, they would have.


There you have it. An extremely embarrassing story. One I will both enjoy telling and retelling for the laughs it gets, while secretly inside it’s to remind myself that when a man asks you what you’re wearing, unless he specifically asks for your brand/style of clothing, he probably means your perfume.

(I hope that video embed works!)

BTW, I’m Back in Business….

In two days I’ve written half of a short story, which I hope to complete tonight or by tomorrow afternoon. (Doing research for a, er, research project took a few hours longer than I thought it would, so I’ve been left with the option of sleeping very little or not sleeping at all–I will probably choose to get some sleep!)

I’ve got two other projects lined up and ready to start/resume as soon as I’ve finished this one. Editing another complete story before I send it out into the world once more. (It’s been rejected 3 times so far. But, hey, it has been rejected… which means I did send it out!)

I have plans to have new fiction posted to the site within the next week. (Not the current short story in the works. That one is something special. But something new, just for y’all.)

As well as more regular blogging, and a return to such prolific subjects like book/movie reviews (which earn my blog stat keep! At least 10 a day, even when I don’t blog!) and writing tips, and my specialty, funny personal anecdotes.

So, keep an eye out. I’m back in the saddle again. Ready to ride?

Random Paranoid Fear of the Day #48

Late in the Texas night, bugs begin thudding quite heavily upon the windows, attracted by the light (or two) that I can’t resist having on until I go to sleep. One day, several hundred of these bugs, particularly the big ones that don’t go “thud” –they go “THUMP”– will realize that if they synchronize their banging, they’ll crack the window and force their way in. *shivers*



(These, uh, pictures doing anything for ya? Let me know, huh? I put work into that, and if it just drags down the load time, I can just cut it out, yeah?)

Til next time, kiddies….

4 responses to “Excuse me, ma’am..

  1. You forgot option C: The dude is actually a superhero with a heightened sense of smell. I’m thinking more along the lines of “Mystery Men” than “Heroes” though.

    I had to redo all of my computer stuff and I missed re-adding you to my RSS (Seeing the Myspace blog on my list with the date of 2012 reminded me). However, I can’t help but notice it’s been a week now since you promised to have a short story up.

    Having a two hour round-trip commute to work, as well as starting a PhD program, has limited my own writing (personal, fiction, and website/politics/blog), but I’m finally back in the groove. I just posted a new article today and I actually finished my first draft of the first novel while listening to some professors talk about what it’s like to work with the Army, as if the 9 years I spent in active duty status didn’t already teach me that. I’m working on my first big edit.

    Good luck on your fourth try sending your latest out. Did they give you any advice on what to fix, or did they just send you a rejection letter?


    • Sorry it took so long to reply, Ryan. Busy, busy. I indeed wrote that story, just haven’t had time to give it a good once over and edit yet. I “help” my husband with his homework, and it’s gotten serial. (I will admit that we recently acquired a PS3, along with Netflix Instant, and I’ve been watching a LOT of South Park in what little down time I get each day..) So I’ve been busy with one task or another that keeps me from doing more than jotting notes and paragraphs on the new works in progress, let alone editing other works. I intend to just drag the laptop into the living room for the first time in over a month (usually it stays in my office so I can separate work and play) and see about combining the chill time with the editing time. We shall see how this works.. 🙂

      Ya know, if that guy had been a superhero with a heightened sense of smell, even if he were the cool “Heroes” type… I’d rather die in a burning building. Seriously. He was creepy. Especially once he started laughing at me for mistaking what he meant. I mean, sure, it’s not weird to approach a woman you’ve never seen before and ask “What are you wearing?” at all.

      And per usual with my rejections, I usually get a “It’s good, but….” A) we’re filled up already, or B) doesn’t exactly suit what we’re looking for. I thought that story would do really well in Weird Tales, too. Oh well…. Back to the grindstone, eh?

      Thanks for stopping by again, Ryan. 🙂 I’ll see what I can do about getting that story up tonight.


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