“Blind Date” – Gurmit K. Rai

After three years of being shut up in the house today I was stepping out; not just for the bare necessities, but for a real date. With a guy who sounded pretty decent, at a nice restaurant. When was the last time I had eaten out? I couldn’t even remember. For a while the idea of going out to eat seemed ridiculous, but now… now I was ready to be out in the world. I was twenty five pounds lighter, waxed, polished and had on a great pair of suede pumps and a stunning new handbag. Nothing could stop me, not even the elevated terror alert.
Jack, my neighbor, stood in my way. I could see him through the crack in the heavy curtains on my front door. He had been sitting outside for hours, beer in hand, watching people walk by. He especially liked to watch women when they were out jogging. He once said he liked his women with some meat on their bones, something a man could hold onto. Luckily I was now thin enough that he wasn’t interested. His flirting was only half-hearted, but that didn’t make going out any easier.
I hesitated, hand on the doorknob. I could stand there all day or I could peel off my bra and head out into the world. I debated with myself. Was I ready to be out and dating? I missed my ex boyfriend, though it had been years since that ended. He’d left as soon as the State of Undress Act had passed, claiming it was all a ruse to flush out Muslims. Ghazib had been on the first plane back to Lebanon, unable to believe that the government would do something as stupid as mandating nudity as a way to fight the terrorist threat.
I had tried to leave the country after the first year of the new law. But it was next to impossible. Immigration laws were getting tighter everywhere to stem the flood of Americans leaving the country. My only hope was marrying a citizen from another country, but those men were being snatched up fast. Recently I had heard about these catalogues popping up that were supposed to be effective, but I wasn’t ready to be a mail order bride.
I breathed deeply and finally opened the door, making a beeline toward my car clutching my handbag close to my body hoping to cover my naked breasts. I couldn’t of course, since the new handbags were all regulation size. Only big enough for a regulation size wallet and cell phone. I hurried over to my car and fumbled with the keys.
“Hey Nina!” Jack called out from his front yard standing up, unashamedly I might add.
“Hi Jack! Just heading out to do some chores!” I called back, praying he wouldn’t come over. No such luck. He started across the yard and I tried to keep my eyes averted from his penis.
“You look nice. Going somewhere special?” Jack asked.
“Just some errands. Shopping, and um… dry cleaning… that sort of thing.” I didn’t want to answer questions about my date.
“Dry cleaning?”
“Oh… yeah, you know… stuff I wear around the house.”
“Well it’s a nice evening. Nice and warm out.”
I nodded in agreement, and glanced up from the ground just for a second to find Jack’s eyes trained on my left breast. This is what I hated about Jack – you were not supposed to stare! I cleared my throat…. “Well, you have a nice evening.”
“Oh I will, I will…” He said, still staring as if mesmerized. I gritted my teeth and adjusted my bag. His eyes snapped up to mine and he grinned. “Good thing it’s not too cold Nina… you wouldn’t want to… pucker.”
I wanted to scream but just slid into the car instead and closed the door. I had my name on a waiting list for a new condominium complex that was going up, just for women. I hoped it would be easier there.
I drove away and instead of feeling relief felt nervousness welling up inside me. All the usual nerves. Nervous about when the car would stop and I would have to get out. Nervous about walking up to the restaurant. Nervous about walking in and sitting down before a stranger. Whether the table would be a glass-top or not. I hoped not. I hoped there would be a big tablecloth and a vase full of flowers that might shelter me a little bit.
The psychologists who had helped form the State of Undress Act had claimed that after a few weeks, a few months at the most, people would revert to the kind of behavior you used to see in nudist colonies. They would lose their sense of shame and clothing would become provocative instead of nudity. This hadn’t happened yet, for reasons that no one could figure out. Oddly though, people still managed to shock. I mean, the younger girls today were walking around with their bikini lines waxed to almost nothing and lipstick applied in unusual places. I myself was very conservative with how I waxed. I didn’t want to come off as that sort of girl. Of course, the tattoo belied that. But no one was supposed to have ever have seen it. One crazy night in college and here I was, constantly giving explanations about how I had a little too much too drink, and one thing led to the other. I had told my blind date, his name was Richard Pilozo, about it right from the beginning. Pilozo sounded promising.
Maybe he was an immigrant.