Remember how I told you I find that life is more than willing to offer lessons in humility from time to time? What follows, is a perfect and humorous example of that lesson.
At a feed store a few years ago, I was looking for a gift for a friend. I noticed an attractive, tall, older cowboy browsing the store as I looked for that gift. I love cowboys. I love their dirt crusted boots, the swoop of their hats, the pearl snaps of their shirts. An added bonus is that they are usually so damn polite. I took a break looking for a gift and used the restroom, then returned to the clothing section to pick out a shirt for my friend.
As I took one last look at the dress shirts, the cowboy walked from behind me and passed me at an angle. We made eye contact. I gave him a friendly smile which he returned with a flirty smile of his own. He paused then turned back toward me. My cheeks flushed. I felt bad for the inevitable awkward conversation that would ensue. I would have to explain that even though he thought I was beautiful and wanted me to come live on his 1000 acre ranch, another cowboy had already stolen my heart and I was off the market.
He leaned close to me and said in a low voice, “Ma’am, I don’t mean to be rude, but you’re tucked in back there.” He tipped his head toward my derriere.
My face, oh my face was on fire. He wasn’t coming over to tell me what a lovely and attractive woman he found me to be. He was coming over to tell me my ass was hanging out of my skirt. My swishy red skirt which I’d stupidly tucked into my stupid underwear in my stupid trip to the bathroom.
“Oh, thank you so much.” I yanked that skirt back into place.
My flirty, flippy little skirt got “tucked in back there” and my right cheek made its public debut.
I was mortified. I grabbed my shirt selection and got the hell out of the store before I had to see that kind man’s face again.
As soon as I got in the car tears burned my eyes. MORTIFIED! I was mortified. I thought he was going to hit on me. How could I be so utterly unaware of the reality of the situation?
I was supposed to be going to lunch with friends. I called them and told them to come pick me up from the parking lot; I was not going back into work. I told them the story through tears of humiliation while they howled, HOWLED, with laughter. I thought they were cruel. They thought I was dramatic.
The level of embarrassment wasn’t so much about the public viewing of my derriere, but more about the absolute opposite communication than what I thought I was about to receive. I felt good that day, I looked good. I thought I was hot shit.
Hearing from a very attractive stranger that you’re “tucked in back there” is far from the message you think you’re going to get.
Humility is an amazing learning tool. I don’t believe there is ever an end to the humbling lessons we are set to learn throughout our lives.
I can laugh about the skirt incident now, kind of. But the thing that I take away most is that any time, absolutely any time, you are riding a little high on your horse, proceed with caution. If you’re like me, a little humor and a lesson in humility are on their way.