I went over to Home Depot this afternoon for some carpet pulling supplies and a couple of light bulbs. And much like my mother, I enjoy shopping there, although I think I like it for slightly different reasons. Mom likes that she knows where everything is, that she knows exactly what she needs and where to find it, whereas in another store, such as clothing, grocery, etc., the same confidence does not always apply. For me, Home Depot is an intimidating place with all manner of constructional things, things I have never had any reason to know anything about, aside from the occasional plunger or screw.
But the thing I like about the Depot is that I always get a smile. And as much as I don’t usually like to bother sales people, or for them to bother me, there are usually so many staff people milling about here and there, that I don’t feel bad for asking about where to find what I need. I feel worse in Home Depot wandering around aimlessly than in any other store, because in a place dominated by mostly men, “handy” men, I know full well that I am already being watched. If I look lost, I become more vulnerable to the stares.
Not very many years ago, I took much pleasure from the looks of men. It made me smile if someone honked at me while I walked down the street. It was a confidence boost. Until it just became annoying. I suppose there’s nothing wrong with a guy showing his appreciation for beauty with a tap on his horn, but maybe I just outgrew some of my exhibitionist streak. I didn’t need the honks or stares to affirm my attractiveness, for a number of reasons. However, since I am no longer quite eighteen, sometimes it can be nice just to notice the subtle glances out of the corners of men’s eyes as you shop for twine. And it’s nice to make someone smile when they’re looking at you anyway just by smiling yourself.
Not only that, but I’d like to think that sometimes I get looks at the Home Depot not just because I’m a woman in a manly place, but because I might look like I actually know what I’m doing there. You know, a girl who doesn’t need a man to fix every little thing that goes wrong. And even if I don’t know exactly what I’m doing when it comes to home improvements, I’ve always felt really good trying to figure those “handy” things out for myself. I like putting together furniture, disassembling bookshelves, lifting heavy things and pounding nails. And sure, it’s nice to have a man around who likes to help do those things, too, but even if I didn’t have one, It’s good to know I’d be just fine by myself.