Monday, February 19, 2007

The Gap, Saturday, Santa Cruz, CA

So I'm hanging out with one of my good friends at The Gap in downtown Santa Cruz. It's a beautiful, balmy afternoon and Pacific Garden Mall is packed with surfer/hippie/yuppie types. Shorts, skirts and sandals abound.

I'm struggling in the dressing room trying on several pairs of jeans. It's a bad time to be looking for jeans because a serious project like that can take at least five hours and this is a relaxed, catch up kind of shopping trip. My friend is out in the main part of the store also looking at jeans.

None of the jeans fit, of course (which is why this is considered a serious hours-long project), so I exit my dressing room. I almost run into a Fetching Young Man who is in front of the three way mirror. He is wearing a button down white shirt with needle thin stripes, a pair of dark charcoal slacks and white worn gym socks. He is dancing quite energetically in front of the mirror to a hip hop song and when I almost ran into him, he blushes beet red. I laugh and say something like "Don't worry." He smiles shyly at me. He has dark curly hair that needs cutting, dark eyes and dimples when he smiles. He is tall and very lanky, about 5'10" and can't be more than 16 years old. He has a wonderfully shy, slightly clueless air about him.

Every once in a great while I run into a Fetching Young Man. These are young men (under 21 years old), cute and for some reason feel very comfortable talking to me. I always enjoy these little encounters. There's something very compelling about watching a boy become a man even if you only get to witness it for a few moments.

Fetching Young Man: "Do you think these pants are too short?"

He is looking at himself in the three way mirror, skeptical. I look down carefully at his white socked feet, noting length of the pants and how they would fall if he were wearing shoes.

Me: "I think they look fine."

Fetching Young Man: "Hmm."

At this point, Another Young Man comes running in. He is wearing a black and white sports jersey, orange and black striped basketball shorts and expensive looking white sneakers. He glances at me.

"The pants look fine," I repeat just so his friend knows nothing strange is going on.

Another Young Man: "Dude!!! You can't wear pants halfway down your butt to a FORMAL!!! You have to wear slacks. SLACKS!!"

Fetching Young Man: "I guess so." He's back to checking himself in the mirror.

Me: "The pants look great on you and they are definitely not too short."

Another Young Man: "No pants halfway down your butt to a FORMAL!!!"

The Fetching Young Man has apparently tired of this discussion about the pants and looks at me again. He smiles (cute dimples!) and then starts dancing energetically to the music again. I dance too. We bounce around for a few minutes and then I say goodbye with a wave and a good luck.

I find my friend who is still looking at the stacks of jeans that run all the way up the wall. I'm so happy about this little encounter that I don't tell her about it until we are in the car on the way back to her house. Although she wanted to know where she was when all this was happening, I wanted to keep it all to myself for just a little while longer.

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