Sex and Gender

The price of kindness

If everyone is a whore and it’s just a negotiation over price, I learned I have a total value of one cold beer.

It took me a while to figure out how to tell the wife.

I was away for part of the week. Cycling and drinking beer in the cool pines and local breweries of Flagstaff with my friend, the liar and dissembler, Mark (aka Rogue 2). His wife was away, and it was time for the boys to “play.” Which at our age consists of riding bikes for 3 hours in the morning and drinking beer for 5 hours in the evening. We fell asleep before 10:30 p.m. Get up the next day and do it again.

Mark gets the brilliant idea to go to the Flagstaff museum “Thirsty Thursday.” And there I met — her.

I was minding my own business, sitting on the low stone wall next to the steps. I’m not sure who offered first, but she took my hand as she went past the first time and held onto it for a little too long.

This is my kind of crowd at a Thirsty Thursday party… Stole the image from here. https://musnaz.org/about/campus/museum-exhibition-building/

Within 20 minutes she was back. This time I definitely put my hand out first. Her large rings caught my eye.

She returned to the steps again and again. Now she was making eye contact with me before she left her seat as she slowly walked toward me.

“Can I buy you a drink,” she said. In my 60 years on this planet this was the first time a women who I was not married to (or who didn’t give birth to me) ever bought me a drink.

I laughed. Life has taught me to expect nothing.

Marci, a cycling friend and partner with Rick, disagreed. “She likes you,” Marci said, like we were at a 7th grade dance. “I can tell she is getting a little thrill.”

10 minutes later, Marci was proved right. The woman was back with two drinks in her hand. The cold beer was for me.

“I’ll see you, next month,” she said.

There I was holding my reward for services rendered, and the opportunity to expand my venture in the oldest profession. The “Midnight Cowboy” would have been jealous. It wasn’t that much of a reward, but my services are not that good.

The confession

When I descended back into the hell of Phoenix in July, I knew I had to tell the wife. If she didn’t pick up on the perfume, she would smell the guilt.

“I have a confession,” I said. “While I was in Flagstaff, a woman bought me a beer.”

“Really,” the wife said in a way we all knew she didn’t believe me. “What exactly were you doing for this beer?”

“All we did was hold hands,” I swear.

This detail caught the wife by surprise, and she began to probe with questions about where I was sitting, why the woman took my hand, how long it lasted, how many times, how much did the beer cost ($6 — cash only).

And finally.

“How old was she?”

I’m terrible at guessing women’s ages. I can kind of guess right at plus or minus 40 and plus or minus 80. But everything else is a blur of hair dye and makeup.

But I’m going to go with plus 80, since the beer-buying woman probably would not have made it safely up and down the steps without me. I was sitting on the stone wall everyone used to balance on the uneven flagstone steps.

Sticking out my hand was the absolute least I could do, and I did it well enough to earn $6.

Don’t tell the wife, but I’m thinking about going back next month.

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