My Horny Hump Day post is here.
I got my first job when I was 19, as a bagger at Stop and Shop. I worked there from July to October 1999, until I had to quit because it was becoming impossible to work around my school schedule. I did like the job while I was there, though, and I got an early taste of standing up for myself when I said I couldn’t work Saturdays. They didn’t hire people who couldn’t work Saturdays, which I didn’t know when I applied and was accepted. But what were they going to do when I told them it was for religious reasons?
I had my bat mitzvah on 31 July 1999, Parshat Eikev. My first time reading Torah had actually been that March, Parshat Vayakhel, but that hadn’t been a bat mitzvah. It was a small ceremony, no peers, but it meant a lot to me. I wanted to have it done as soon as possible. Everyone at that shul marvelled at how quickly I’d learnt how to read Hebrew, taking to it like lightning. I don’t think the rabbi had ever taught anyone who learnt it so quickly.
While I was working at Stop and Shop, a 32-year-old mildly retarded co-worker got a crush on me and wouldn’t stop hassling me for a date. Unfortunately, I wasn’t as forthright with him as I’d been with the assistant manager (or whatever she was) about not being able to work Saturdays. I never came right out and told him that I wasn’t interested in dating him (or really anyone at that point), and that I couldn’t date outside my religion anyway.
Even after I stopped working there, he still rode the same bus to work as I rode to community college. He still kept trying to hit me up for a date on the bus, and frequently sat next to me. I felt sympathy for him because of his mental condition, but that didn’t mean I wanted to date him. I was grossed-out when I overheard him telling some woman on the back of the bus that he was 32. WAY too old for me!
Who knows, maybe he thought he stood a chance with me because I was sort of dressing in a way not really befitting a 19-year-old in the late 20th century:
My little brother hasn’t been littler than I am in a long time!
I’m just horrified when I look at old pictures and see how I was largely dressing in clothes from the Menopause and Virgin sections. I had no reason to be dressing so frumpily and asexually when I was so young and hoping to find a husband. There’s a person in my community who dresses much like I used to, and I recognize so much of my former self in her. It was hardly a shock when I found out she’s never been on a date at 31 years old. When you’ve been an antique virgin yourself, you recognize the signs in other people. I’m proud to say I did NOT leave my twenties still a virgin!