As I walked into the restroom at the movie theater, two barely-teenage girls happened upon me. That’s the only way to describe it, because while they were shy, they didn’t say “excuse me,” but they weren’t loud or sudden or anything. They were tiny, with braces and lip gloss and long shiny hair and Abercrombie & Fitch baby tees. They couldn’t have been a day over thirteen. Anyway, I walked in, and one said, “Can I have a dime?”
My first instinct was to ignore them and keep walking, since most strangers who start conversations with questions want to tell you about Jesus, but then I realized what she’d said and decided to be coy and playful. “That depends,” I said. “What are you going to spend it on?”
They both got a strange look on their face, and one turned pink and pointed to the tampon and pad machines on the wall.
“Oh,” I said, and opened my purse. “Wait, do you just want one? I have one, if you want. Which one were you going to buy?”
They got an even stranger look on their faces, and looked at each other, then back at me.
“You can say,” I told them, smiling. “It’s okay; I’m a girl, you know.”
I thought they both might just die of embarrassment at this point, so I handed them the dime and walked on. As I went back to my seat, I recognized the look on their faces while I was talking: it was that look you get when your mom says anything, and you’re thirteen. You could die of embarrassment from anyone talking, including yourself. And then I realized: to those girls, I was a Lady! As in, Go ask that lady. I’m too young to be a lady! I still call moms in turquoise ski jackets ladies! I can still remember the feel of lip gloss and braces! I’m only 24!
No use. To them, anyone out of high school may as well be 35. Was it wrong of me to offer a tampon? Was that creepy? I was just trying to help a sister out! I bet they ran out of the bathroom and shrieked to Tiffany and Jamie, Oh my God, there was this crazy lady and I told Amber to ask for her a dime and she did, and then the lady tried to give us a tampon! Out of her own purse! Oh my God!
I will never be cool.