New York, US (BBN)-“Excuse me, are you handy?” I said to a 60-something man at my local Goodwill.
“May I ask you a quick question?”, reports the Wasington Post.
He seemed confused, turning his head side to side, silently asking himself: Me? Is she talking to me?
I nodded yes and explained I had a question about a piece of furniture, a cabinet with a roll-top slider that needed a makeover.
He reluctantly ambled toward me, peering over his shoulder several times.
Oh, dear Lord, I thought.
Like most things in life, being solo at 60 has its advantages but downfalls – one of them being the lack of a handyman around.
Most things I can handle myself, but sometimes I have a simple question requiring knowledge I just don’t have.
For example, I wasn’t all that confident on how to remove the roll top from this cabinet.
One of the slats was bowed and I wanted to know if it could be repaired.
“I’d just pop the back piece off here and then it should slip right out so you can fix ‘er on up,” my Goodwill acquaintance said.
“Should come out pretty easy. Then, when you’re done, you can just pop it back in and put the back panel back on. That should do it.”
Great, I thought to myself, I can do that. I looked up to thank the nice man only to realize he was sweating nervously.
His eyes finally found what they had so been searching for – his wife!
She bustled over hurriedly to assess the situation.
I smiled and quipped: “I borrowed your husband for just a moment; I had a furniture repair question and he looked to me like the ‘handyman’ type.”
She placed her arm through his to prove ownership: “Yes, he can be quite handy. We’ve been married 43 years, I ought to know.”
I knew better, but I wanted to say, “I promise, I am no threat. I’m just single. I am not here in my paint-covered, torn-out-knee, one-size-too-big jeans and oversize Jimi Hendrix T-shirt with no makeup and my hair looking like I just got out of bed to steal your husband of 43 years.
I have the utmost respect for marriage, particularly those lasting so long.
Kudos to you, and I wish you 43 more.”
This has happened to me on more than one occasion.
I would say it baffles me, but it doesn’t.
There are so few available men in my age group that when one separates from the herd and wanders off aimlessly, panic ensues – particularly when it appears a she-wolf is sniffing about. (Even though my inquiry was quite innocent and not at all flirtatious.)
I understand, truly, I do.
But I will say to the protective married senior women out there: Please, don’t worry. Should I approach your husband at Goodwill and ask his opinion on how to take apart a roll-top cabinet, I don’t want him permanently – only for a moment.
If I were on a man hunt, it certainly wouldn’t be at the Goodwill on a Wednesday afternoon after completing another little furniture project.
I mean no harm, ladies.
I just need a loaner sometimes.
He will be returned to you unscathed and in the same condition I found him – yours.