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Not Acting Your Best

, , , , , | Working | July 25, 2022

I just started dating a guy. We’ve gone out maybe three times, and we’re both college-age. For our next date, I recommend a play at the local theater. Every summer, they do a play for free for the local community, and they’re quite the talented troupe.

The two of us arrive and wait in the queue. At the door, there’s a student who is filtering people into the auditorium itself. He stops me.

Guy: “You’re not allowed to have purses in here.”

I look at my purse. It’s maybe slightly larger than the standard size, but it’s not huge at all by any definition.

Me: “It’s never been a problem before. I just put it on my lap.”

Guy: “You can’t bring that in here. It’s a fire hazard.”

Me: “It’ll be on my lap the whole time.”

Guy: “You can’t bring it in here.”

Me: “It’s not like I’m smuggling in snacks. See?”

I open the main pocket and show him the inside.

Guy: “You can’t bring it in here. It’s a fire hazard. You’ll have to lock it in your car or something, but you’re not going inside with that.”

Me: “But I need my purse!”

Guy: “You can’t bring that in here.”

By now, everyone is staring, and we’re holding up the queue. I’m getting flustered. You see, it’s “that time of the month,” and my purse has all of the supplies I’ll need for it. Since I’m on a date, I’m wearing a nice pair of slacks that, of course, have no pockets.

Boyfriend: “It’s okay. I’ll let you borrow my car keys so you can run it out there.”

I’m semi-panicked. I don’t know what to do or say because I’ve never been in this situation before. I’m on the young side, and I don’t want to reveal to the man I’ve barely started dating — let alone total strangers — that it’s “that time of the month.” Looking back on it, having had more life experience, I would have waved the feminine care products under the worker’s nose and demanded he hold them for me until I needed them.

However, I am rather shy and don’t know how to stand up for myself at the time. It doesn’t help that every single male in my entire family moans and groans so loudly any time “that time of the month” is brought up that they drown out any conversation on the topic. It has made me feel, for years, that periods are something majorly embarrassing. And I know I’ll need the items in my purse, including pain killers, just to make it through the entire performance.

Boyfriend: “It’ll be okay. We didn’t park all that far away.”

He hands me the keys, and I leave to stash my purse in his trunk, still feeling so mortified over becoming the center of attention that I need to take a breather outside to keep myself from crying.

I have to borrow my boyfriend’s car keys again during intermission to run to his car, get my purse, run into the theater bathroom, and then run back out to his car to stash my purse. It’s not like I could even keep a hold of his car keys during the first act because, hey, no purse and no pockets.

The play is very good despite any physical and emotional discomfort. To top it all off, however, the troupe closes with their usual request for donations. This time it is that very same guy who was gatekeeping purses who pitches the need for contributions!

Guy: “Thank you for all coming out. If you enjoyed what you saw today, please leave a donation in one of our boxes. Our plays are only possible through donations like yours, and we appreciate you supporting the arts.”

I wonder how he expected many donations when he forced 50% of the audience to lock their wallets in their cars.

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