A friend of mine by the name of Jackson came into the Dancing Pony one evening wearing a T-shirt that read, “I Love Hips and Curves.” Now, this shirt is not intended as a joke or to rile up feminists, it’s just a shirt he likes to wear. It’s also a sentiment he believes in. He’s just doing his part spreading the love.
While he was sitting at the bar, a young woman named Resa, who works at the local Parks & Recreation department, walked in and took the only remaining seat at the bar, next to Jackson. After ordering her drink, she looked over at him and smiled. She squinted at his shirt and then grinned. “Wow, does your girlfriend make you wear that?”
Setting his beer on the bar, Jackson shook his head. “No, ma’am. I bought this T-shirt for myself because I liked it…along with some other things.”
Resa’s eyes popped wide and she nodded as she settled back in her chair. “Oh, I see.”
“Oh, no ma’am. That came out wrong. I’m not a transvestite.”
She put up a hand and shook her head. “I’m not judging, sir.”
Jackson looked to me for help and once I was done laughing I said, “I can vouch for him, Resa. There’s nothing but briefs and boxers in this guy’s underwear drawer.”
She gaped at me. “And you know this HOW, Ethan? Does Grace know?”
It was Jackson’s turn to laugh at my expense, and I said, “He doesn’t bat for the other team, and you know I’m head over heels in love with Gracie, and what’s in her drawers, as well.”
Resa choked on her drink. “That may have been too much information, Ethan.”
Right about then I wanted a shot of whiskey. Once everyone had settled down, I looked at Jackson and said, “You should tell Resa your story.”
Jackson shrugged. “I hate sounding pathetic.”
That seemed to pique Resa’s curiosity and she nudged him. “It’s been a long day and I’d love to hear your story. How’d you get that T-shirt?”
Jackson took another sip of his beer and then drew in a deep breath and let it out. “I used to have a girlfriend. Her name was Sheila, and she was curvy, and I do mean curvy. I loved that about her but I knew she was self-conscious about her shape. She was always talking about how she needed to lose thirty pounds. She didn’t like to undress with all the lights on.”
Resa nodded. “I can just imagine how she felt.”
Jackson nodded and pointed at her drink for me to make her another one as he continued. “It was a crying shame. And she couldn’t understand why I liked her body just the way it was, and I don’t think she ever accepted that I was telling her the truth when I told her I thought she was beautiful, clothed or not. I guess it was the way she was raised, or maybe well-meaning friends.”
Resa nodded again. “My mom was that way, always suggesting salads to me.”
Jackson tilted his head and looked at her, but continued his story. “I wanted to do something to, I don’t know, give her confidence a boost. I heard about this website called Hips and Curves that sells lingerie and apparel, and other sexy items in sizes that would fit her. I looked at the website but I had no idea what her actual size numbers were, or how to order the right thing, so I actually called their toll free number and talked to a person on the other end. That nice lady helped me figure out her sizes and made suggestions, and I wound up buying several different things for her. Then the customer service representative mentioned that they had these T-shirts on sale.” He pinched the collar of the black T-shirt he had on. “She said any man who appreciated curves as much as I did should have one. I liked that she actually asked for the sale, so I went for it.”
Resa brightened up. “So it was something you planned to wear to kind of speak up and support the love of women’s curves? Wow,” she said, looking considerably more impressed.
“That’s pretty much it, Resa. So I put the T-shirt on the day the stuff arrived and took the box over to her house for her. I should’ve checked in with her before just going over to her house, kind of measure her mood, you know?”
“Was she moody often?” Resa asked as she looked over at me. I gave her a surreptitious nod and widened my eyes. It’s just my opinion but Sheila had a little more than body image issues to work through but I’m not a doctor, so…anyway.
“She could be a touch moody, but I’m easy going so we got on okay. So I show up on her doorstep with a box. She doesn’t notice what my T-shirt says off the bat because the letters are gray and kinda hard to read at first, subtle, you’d say.”
“I noticed,” Resa said. “Okay, so what did she do?”
Jackson slouched a little and I knew the incident still bugged him. “She looked at the packages, and she…she flipped out. How dare I buy stuff just to make her over or feel guilty. How could I possibly think she’d look sexy in those things? It wasn’t like I’d bought her crotchless panties and a corset, either. I’d bought her soft things like a gown and a robe that would feel good to her, nothing that might make her think I was trying to change her. I was trying to make her feel good, you know?”
“I’m so sorry, Jackson,” Resa said in a sympathetic tone. “Did she notice your T-shirt?”
He shook his head. By this point Jackson’s cheeks were a little red and he shrugged and lifted his beer to his lips. “So, I don’t have a girlfriend named Sheila anymore. She never did calm down, threw everything back in the box, handed it to me, and said we were through. She needed the time to work on herself and she was thinking about having some kind of surgery so none of that stuff would fit her anyway, once she was done. I tried to explain but she wouldn’t listen. So, that’s my story.”
Resa had a soft, tender look on her face. “And you still like women with hips and curves after all of that?” Jackson made eye contact with her. I think because something in her tone compelled him to.
“Yeah, I do, especially if they have the confidence to understand they’re beauty isn’t based on a size number. Why do you ask?”
Resa smiled at him and said, “You didn’t notice my dress, did you?”
Jackson smiled as he looked at her dress, which was suitable for business but fit her plush, hourglass figure in a way that was capable of distracting Jackson from any sad memories, which was my goal in bringing up the subject.
“Actually, I was trying not to stare earlier when you came in. It looks nice on you. But am I missing something?”
She lifted her wrist toward him and said, “Feel that?”
He stroked the soft navy blue fabric with his fingetips and said, “That’s nice and soft. What is it?”
A devilish smile curved her lips and she said, “That’s girlfriend material, honey.”
Jackson chuckled, and she joined him, then he started laughing and she laughed with him. He leaned forward and chastely kissed her cheek and said, “Darlin’, I think I just fell for the oldest line in the book. Care to dance with me?”
“I’d love to.”
I chuckled as Jackson openly admired Resa as he helped her down from her tall chair. Obviously enjoying the attention, Resa stood tall and led him to the dance floor, the sway in her hips showing that she had no lack of confidence in handling her curves. Judging by the attention Jackson paid her the rest of the night, he didn’t either.
©Copyright Heather Rainier 2016
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