I was almost entirely sure that the events transpiring were not, in fact, legal.
I was in the local liquor store. In Kansas, you can’t even buy wine in a grocery store, which is where I’d normally bought it in Nebraska during our tenure there. (Kansans consider wine “hard liquor.”) It was simply easier. Now, having relocated to a new Airbnb in Smalltown, Kansas, I was having to relearn the rules.
And, as far as I knew, this purveyor of devil drinks was breaking several.
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All I wanted to do was buy some beer. Out in the backwoods, beer is essential to survival. Because I prefer a beer of a deeper, reddish hue with a higher alcohol content, I had to patron the designated liquor store to attain that as well. My total came to $9.87. I pulled out my flashy Visa card and ID (not because I look under 21, but because they demand it with credit/debit cards) and handed it, as well as my most charming smile, to the rather large and particularly gruff-looking woman behind the counter.
Neither were well-received.
She hurled her body in my direction, onto the counter, the move of which had a very much Jabba-the-Hutt-look to it. However, I can only assume that all she was, in fact, doing was leaning forward. She pointed to a sign on the counter next to her which read in very plain murderer-scrawl, for all to see:
“Ah! Yes, I see where the confusion is. You see, this is not a credit card. It’s my debit card. It’s just a Visa debit.”
She veritably shouted back at me, though I can only assume that it was an innocent attempt to project her vocalized thoughts clear of her gravitational pull, “It’s a Visa. That’s a credit. Minimum on credit is $10!”
Seeing the futility of arguing the point, I said, “Right. Well, I don’t have any cash on me. What do we do?”
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A sly look overtook her Huttish face, “Well… I’ll just charge you for the $10.”
It wasn’t that I minded. Really, I didn’t. It was 13 cents, for goodness’ sake. It wasn’t even that she was clearly trying to get something for nothing. What the hell do I care? I don’t begrudge this woman, or anyone for that matter, money for nothing. No, it’s that I believe the act of charging someone for absolutely nothing is, in fact, illegal in the state of Kansas. (I think. Correct me if I’m wrong in the comments.)
Up until this point, I’d always thought that it was the person going into the liquor store that was going to rob it, as opposed to the other way around.
Up until now, I’d always thought the person going into the #liquor store would be the thief. #KansasShare!
Post-transaction, I quickly escaped to my far-too-small-for-these-parts car. As I did, a rather oafish gentleman with a salt and pepper beard that hung nearly to the nipples that were showcased proudly on either side of the bib of his overalls sized me up. (I believe in this case, the ‘all’ in ‘overalls’ would more accurately be named overall-but-the-nips.) He walked in front of my car, on his way into the liquor store. Pausing, he appeared to be recoiling in disgust (not an uncommon reaction) by drawing his head back on his neck. Little did I know he was simply charging up what was to become the most epic collection of spittle that I’ve ever had spat in my general direction.
I decided to make my exit as my tires squealed and wipers whipped as furiously as I could make them.
Welcome to Kansas
First, let me say that I love Kansas. I consider myself to have lived in both Kansas and Nebraska. Two states that, prior to my ever entering Kansas on a long-term basis, I simply thought were the topographical equivalents of a run-on sentence. The southern part of Nebraska is flat and very boring. I just thought that the flatness and boringness simply extended down as far as the northern part of Oklahoma, and that Kansas was the boring, flat state caught in the middle.
I was wrong. Topographically, it’s really beautiful. It’s far more hilly than southern Nebraska. There are way more trees and wild parts, which I love. It seems Kansans, at least in this part of the state, value mother nature at little more than the how-much-corn-can-I-possibly-produce-per-acre breed of my home state of Nebraska.
Having said that, we really are currently living in a very small town. So small that the reasonably polite chap behind the counter at the local grocery store (our local haunt thanks to our insatiable demand for food and supplies) went so far as to blurt out, “Why are you here??” Not as small as my original hometown, which had a population of around 400. This one has nearly double that, but you can’t really tell. In small towns, things get a little bit… familiar. That familiarity will, oftentimes, breed contempt, as the saying goes. However, what it also tends to breed is contempt for anything that isn’t familiar, and in this case, that means my long hair, and my wife’s incredibly short hair.
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When given so many eyes full of suspicion simply for the way one looks, it can have a detrimental effect on the psyche of the person in question. As such, I’ll often attempt to hide my flowing locks behind such apparatuses as hair bands (man bun) and baseball caps. I always try to stroke as many conservative bones in their bodies (and there are many) by making my caps as ‘Merican as possible. That’s why my go-to fave is a camo trucker hat with an American flag plastered right on the front.
(How do I know they’re conservative? Oh, it’s not hard to guess. My neighbor, literally across the street, has six flags a’flying in his driveway. Let’s list them: (1) American (2) Republican Party (3) Confederate… Need I go on?)
Still, that man bun won’t fit underneath my cap, and therefore needs to poke out the back. This gets a little bit awkward when, at the grocery store, the incredibly large, overall-clad local men standing in line behind me will completely ignore my personal space and flick it to see if it’s real, recoiling in both disgust and horror when they find that it is.
Leaning into me (after I’ve smiled politely at their bulldozing of my boundaries) to whisper such harsh, yet gracious (as if my long hair has simply never been brought to my attention) sentences as, “Wut’s with yer long harrr, woman-man?”
My wife gets no better treatment for her short hair, I can assure you.
Short Hair on a Woman
Short hair (not funky short hair that’s little less than a bob – but really short hair, like buzz cut) on a woman is, apparently, about the most detestable thing a woman can wear to a man in these here parts. But, I really don’t blame them for this. Here’s why:
My wife is, according to Carol Tuttle’s Energy Profiling system (a.k.a. Live Your Truth & subsequently Dress Your Truth) a Type 4. Type 4’s will often have quite striking features that leave them less feminine, less masculine, and more androgynous. These are your cover models. People that, according to facial features alone, could go either way in terms of what sex they are. If you were looking at just a cut out of her face, you’d probably think she was either a woman, or a teenage boy. That’s just according to her face.
She actually had a photographer stop her on the sidewalk, and say, “I have to shoot you. When can we get together?” (Long story, short: They got together, he shot her (ack!) and the photos came back completely androgynous. That’s what he saw in her. High fashion stuff. Not my cup of tea for photos, but whatever.)
Back to Kansas.
So, because my wife doesn’t wear much, if any make-up at all (because, neither she, nor my son, nor I, particularly like it on her), without big red lips, rosy cheeks, eye shadow and liner, the menfolk have even more difficulty in figuring out if she’s a boy or a girl. Next? She has small, perky boobs. (*Gasp! He said “booooobs”!) That’s the way God built her, and she’s fantastic. Plus? She’s petite. She’s simply of slender frame.
Now, you throw an androgynous face, no make-up, reasonably flat chest (and, may I just say, that Midwestern females have an abundance of boob-flesh) in the grand scheme of things, and a buzzed haircut, and you’re looking at a less-than-world-travelled man of these parts easily mistaking her for a boy.
No big deal. Neither she, nor I, particularly care if she’s mistaken for a boy by complete strangers we’ll never see again. Not at all.
However, I’ve left one little attribute out, that ain’t so little after all. Petite as she is, she’s got an ass that just won’t quit. It’s a walking Levi’s advertisement. Curves? Curves like a backroad. Plus, she’s got this wiggle that she does when she walks. (Is it the walk in your wiggle or the wiggle in your walk? I don’t care!) And the legs of a thoroughbred, whatever the hell that means.
I’d have posted a picture of her booty in some jeans, but she said I might offend people. What do you think? Leave a message in the comments.
Because she feels it’s her most feminine feature, she’ll show it off. Tight yoga pants (yes!), short miniskirts (yes, yes!!), teeny-tiny underwear that, while the public doesn’t see it, sure drives me wild (yes, yes, yes!!!), etc.
But, here’s the deal: Where do you look first when you see someone? Their face! Then, you move in concentric circles out from there, making sure that everything else attached to that face makes sense, and is congruent with the face. Right? So, these good ol’ boys do that, and this is their thought process.
- “Hmmm. Tharr’s a fine, young man. I think I’d like some black coffee.”
- “Nice, short harr on that young man. Whar can I get some black coffee?”
- “Kinda scrawny.”
- “Wut in tarnation? That boy’s warrin’ fangernail polish!”
- “And wut’s he warrin’ dresses fer? That ain’t natch’rel.”
- “Look at the BEhind on that boy!”
- “Mah Gawd! That boy has one of the fahnest booties I ever seen.”
- “What does this mean?! Tell me Gawd! Am I a…a… HO-MO?”
- “Sum-body git me some dang black coffee!!”
And on, and on it goes from there.
Make Life Easier For Me
This is why it’s upsetting to them. The menfolk feel hoodwinked. Hoodwinked first into thinking my wife is a boy, then into thinking that they’re gay, then into feeling relief at their not being gay, then into rage at being confused in the first place. As far as they’re concerned, life would be a lot easier if my wife grew her hair long, caked herself in make-up, got implants, and continued wearing whatever she was used to wearing from the waist down. (To be fair, her own father feels this way, too.)
Then, they’d feel totally at peace to oggle her, as they might any other woman. Though, she is a little skinny. A classic line from the re-up of The Beverly Hillbillies movie comes to mind: “I betcha you couldn’t hit ‘er with a handful a’corn! Hee hee!”
Well, I guess it all depends on how close your own revulsion would allow you to be to her, in all her androgynous glory.
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Most of this story is a fabrication. Some parts are not. You don’t get to know which ones are which. You must use your imagination. Having said that, I will say that the townsfolk where we’re at have genuinely been nothing but kind to us. Having said that, I grew up in Smalltown, Nebraska, north of here about six hours, and I know what the townsfolk there actually thought when a fancy newcomer who wasn’t “from ‘round these here parts” swaggered into town, despite what may have been said to their face. Is that the case here? Who knows. I’m not going to lose sleep over it. I’ll just lampoon the whole silly thing in this blog post, and hope that you’ll share it with someone you feel may appreciate it.PS – I drink black coffee, and I wear my ‘Merica cap because I love it.