I was having lunch with a friend when he noticed that the waitress was wearing a shiny diamond ring. He told her congratulations and she shrugged it off and replied, “Oh, it’s from Claire’s.” Which I understood immediately as, “This is fake! So weirdos don’t hit on me!” But my friend, being a dude who had never stepped into the plastic toe ring/Twilight makeup palette mecca/sunflower bellybutton stud mecca that is Claire’s, pressed on and asked when she would be getting married which made me cringe because the word Claire’s ended that line of questioning. She stammered a bit and said, “My boyfriend has commitment issues,” and then continued with our order which was probably easier to talk about than why she was wearing a fake ring. I know the answer! Because of dudes!
My friend had never worked as a young woman in a customer service position, so I understand. Years ago, I worked the front desk of a fancypants gym where my fellow coworkers and I had to deal with men being too friendly sometimes, mistaking our smiles for invitations to give us their phone numbers. It got creepy at times and I remember one of my coworkers showing up with a fake ring. Unless you were a jeweler, you couldn’t tell that the tiny diamonds were fake. I don’t know if it worked, but it armed her against any dudes who might try their awful one-liners. One guy said to me, “I”m Jim. At a gym. HAHAHA!” How is that funny? I still don’t know and I’m a comedian.
I feel really fortunate to not be working at that job anymore, especially since I had to wake up at 4:30 AM at the very latest so I could get to work and open up the gym by 5, where people stalked outside the glass like I would open up early just for them. Then they would push past me like their lives were quickly slipping away and unless they plopped themselves on the row machine at exactly 5:01 AM, their days were ruined.
My body can’t handle that kind of work anymore and even though I’m not above any job, especially one where I could study on the job and wear yoga pants every day, I’m too old for it. Also too out of shape and being at a gym five days a week with my body the way it is would not be my favorite thing in the world. My favorite thing in the world is not folding tiny towels and building a hand towel pyramid. My favorite thing in the world is not hearing some megarich guy telling me the air is too cold then coming downstairs after running and complimenting me that I had changed the temperature to suit his needs when I didn’t do anything at all, your body did it, dude. It’s called exercise. I love not turning on the work computer and clearing out the browser history because whoever had the last shift kept searching for “Exotic Dancer College,” like that’s a real place of higher education, accredited by your parents’ disappointment. I also love not having to pretend that the salesguys and the barely legal front desk gals were making out in the laundry room. I love that it has been years since I’ve had to say, ” I’m just trying to wash towels here guys! Not watch you perform mouth-to-mouth when there is clearly no medical need!”
Most of all, I love wearing a diamond ring and there’s no need to explain where it came from. It works.