The other night my date asked a question that seems to be on everyone's mind: "Are you gay or just well-spoken?"
I've been taking this grief since elementary, when other kids wondered aloud whether I was a boy or a girl. Evidently, I have some feminine properties. For starters, I'm nice to people (you can see how that might throw them off). I cross my legs wrong and own a melon baller. I love my cat.
But the thing people can't get past is the messenger bag. Barney's assured me that it wouldn't look womanly if I strapped it across my chest like Chewbacca.
The bag still had its tags when I sat down to poker with my buddies.
"Nice purse," said Ernie. "I like how it matches your shoes."
I've done everything to skirt -- er, get around -- the man bag. I carried a backpack but always felt like I was on my way to the bus stop, looking to trade my PB&J for a Twinkie. I also tried a tote bag, a laptop case, a toiletry kit, and then just stuffing my pockets like a hamster.
Ernie asked what's so important that I have to carry it on my person. To be exact: digital camera, mp3 player, appointment book, wallet, cell phone, bank ledger, notepad, pens, cartoon book, glasses, sunblock, Chapstick, hand sanitizer, gum, business cards, harmonica, and a condom that may have expired.
We also found toenail clippers, but I'm pretty sure they were planted.
I will have you know that when the gang went to Mexico and got stranded without sunblock, they sang a different tune about my "purse."
I used to be so normal. I spat and surfed and used dirty socks for oven mitts. Now when I vacuum, I back out slowly so as not to disturb the carpet triangles. When buddies use the bathroom, I say, "You didn't pee standing up, did you? It splashes."
I've developed an urgent need for symmetry. It bothers me, for instance, when Michael Jackson wears only one glove or Pisa doesn't fix that stupid tower. If I ever lose an arm, I'll have to seriously consider removing the opposite leg.
People also accuse me of liking clothes. If they only knew. Sometimes I press against the store window and talk dirty to myself ... "I'm gonna buy the hell out of that jacket."
Regular guys don't think about matching. They're happy so long as their clothes say something about them. Like "Nike" or "NASCAR."
My recent date said that she doesn't trust a man who jogs all the time. Her exact words: "If you can fit into my pants, you can't get into them."
How do I keep finding these women? I must have terrible depth perception.
Gay men sometimes hit on me. I'm flattered, gosh, but never know what to say. In the supermarket, a man followed me, vaguely, for three aisles before cornering me in the deli.
"My name's Peter." He shook my hand. "Nice grip."
Um ... Um ... I'm just well-spoken.
I find myself acting tough to offset the attention. At the gym I stick out my chest and talk like Keanu Reeves: "Hey, dude. Nice shoes..." (applying Chapstick in a manly fashion).
In case you're concerned that you yourself may be metrosexual, I have compiled a list for you to carry in your wallet.
You might be metro if ...
-- you prefer bubble baths to showers.
-- you speak in semicolons.
-- you carry your own salad dressing.
-- you've been "meaning to have sex."
-- you refrigerate your face-care products.
-- your ringtone is "Fur Elise in C minor."
-- you've ever had a chopstick callous.
-- you watch Hugh Grant movies on purpose.
-- you avoid unflattering light.
-- you know about unflattering light.
-- you get anxious when your belt and shoes don't match.
-- you read while stuck in traffic.
-- you have an opinion about thread count.
-- you floss before bed no matter how drunk you are.
-- when someone slurps at a restaurant, you pause significantly.
-- the wallet where you store this list is inside a bag strapped across your chest.