It’s difficult for men to visit No Man’s Land

It's difficult for men to visit No Man's Land By Bob Karolevitz Actually the seat was sort of soft and comfortable.

However, I sat there like a condemned man waiting for the chaplain before they took him to the scaffold.

Other men had experienced the same thing, but this was my first time. I didn't really break out in a cold sweat, although I noticed that the palms of my hands were wet.

I wondered how long it would take. I had only been there five or six minutes, and already it seemed like hours.

Needless to say, Phyllis had led me into the women's department of a mega-store. They had a dress she wanted to try on, and she wanted me there for my approval or disapproval.

That's how I happened to be seated in the midst of all that femininity, in the cushioned chair in front of the dressing room door.

My wife had finally found the dress she was looking for; and without so much as a look of encouragement to me, she had disappeared into that scary chamber, leaving me alone to wonder if I'd ever see her again.

There were racks of skirts and slacks and blouses everywhere. I tried not to look at the lingerie because I remembered what Phyllis had done with my Victoria's Secret catalogue. Mostly I kept my eyes down, as I fussed and fidgeted in that perfumed No Man's Land.

I must have sounded like a stupid idiot when the lady sales clerk walked by and greeted me cheerily. I muttered something in response, but I don't remember what it was.

Phyllis could have let me wander around in the fishing section or even where they sold car batteries and other macho stuff. But, no, I had to sit there in the middle of all those feminine frills, as out of place as a dirty sweat sock in a punch bowl.

Finally, at long last, Phyllis emerged, clad in her new dress. "How do you like it?" she asked, and I could tell from her tone that I was supposed to gush, "Oh, that's lovely."

In honesty, I thought it made her look a couple years older, but in true husbandly fashion, I kept my mouth shut. After all, the sooner I gave my approval, the quicker I'd be out of there.

Phyllis walked over to the three-way mirror, turned this way and that, surveying what women do when they try on a new outfit. "Just buy it," I wanted to say, but that would have disrupted the ritual.

After what seemed like an interminable time, she went back into the dressing room, and once again I was left alone in the middle of all those damsel dainties. At least I was on the downhill run. It wouldn't be long now, I said to myself with great relief.

When Phyllis came out with that dress over her arm, I could tell that all that gawd-awful waiting was for naught. She wasn't going to buy it after all.

She gave it to the clerk as they exchanged smiles, which is apparently what women everywhere do instinctively after rejecting what they had just tried on. I just lurked in the background, secretly thankful that my torturous ordeal was almost over.

As we left the store, Phyllis said: "There's a ladies' boutique down the street which has another dress I'd like to try on. It'll just take a minute, and they have a nice place for you to sit by the dressing room."

I hate it when grown men cry!

© 2000 Robert F. Karolevitz

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