If I Stare at a Woman's Body, Does That Make Me a Lesbian?


 I watched as she stepped on the scale. After she dropped the large white towel that our health club provides, I continued my gaze while she studied the digital numbers roll, and then settle.

 She's in her 30's; I thought to myself, for if she were any older, certain body parts would've begun to plunge. The tush was delightfully rounded, unlike my flat one - an unfortunate gift from my mother's side of the family.

 Trying not to stare in this early hour, I faced my own image in a mirror over the sink. From this vantage point, without appearing a creepy, old lady stalker, I could surreptitiously continue to admire the remainder of her assets.

 I didn't desire this young chick, which I realize would have been a clue to my on-site pondering of my gender preference. And I wasn't envious or jealous when I went on to compare her buoyant breasts to my own flopping ones.

 I think it was her lack of shame, her don't give a fuck attitude about geezer gawkers like me. As for us older women, chirping to each other like morning birds, we are all encased in towels, robes, or other shielding covers. I doubt that any of us, even if the temperature soared to 110, would shed our wraps.

 So I have a question for those of us over 60, where did this modesty, or displeasure of our frames come from? Let me speak for my generation (I was born in 1938), when we were girdled, scanned daily by our anxious mothers, and then dosed amphetamines by docs with dubious degrees. As for mymom, she worried that the pinchable roll creeping atop my waistband would doom any chances of an engagement ring following my college graduation.

 Although I did lure a mate after my B.A., someone who valued my mind and sense of humor, Mom was not mollified. Something about my spouse rankled her; perhaps if now alive, she wouldn't have been surprised at the end of my marriage, and my partner's transformation.

 The young woman I was ogling, let's call her Claire, tiptoed off the scale, seemingly unperturbed by its electronic message. She lifted the towel from a nearby hook, and swaddled her lower body into it.  Her eyes, which gratefully never met mine, were now drawn to her cellphone, with zero concern that her chest remained uncovered.

 Despite my concentration on Claire, and with no additional evidence of lust for ladies, I doubt I've shifted from heterosexual to lesbian. With Tommy dead six years, and the field of potential male suitors narrowed to those needing assistance, I guess I've settled into a no-sex zone.  But, would a woman better understand my desire for emotional intimacy, hugs rather than thrusts, praise rather than gripes?

 Since we're just pals here, trying to be honest about our feelings, I suppose this might be a good time to air a confession: I once had a three-way. (I'm sorry you had to read all the way to here to discover this salacious tidbit, but I wanted to get you invested before the risqué.)

 It was sometime between my separation from my first husband in 1990 and my marriage to Tommy in '98. The heterosexual couple, whom I adored, had offered a respite from my loneliness. We shared a movie, then a prohibited, but inhibition-loosening cigarette. This led to their king-sized bed and a carefree cruise between their bodies. (Truth be told, I enjoyed her ports of call over her partner's.)

 So let's consider, if I owned up to the above, does that push me over the spectrum to gals rather than guys? Or did my rogue experience simply signify enjoyment of a secure, generous gift by friends and succor in my time of need?

 And does my porn-like observation of Clair's body mean I'm switching sides, or is it more that I'm attracted to her lack of shame, and her devil-may-care attitude?

 Speaking of Claire, she's just left the make-up area and is slipping away to her locker, which is in a different section than mine. Although curious about the wardrobe she's chosen to adorn a body I'm come to think of as familiar to me, I have no excuse to show up in her aisle.

 Perhaps tomorrow, instead of silently stalking, I'll introduce myself and learn her real name. Of course, I'll have to catch her ahead of, or after her shower, before her fawn-like sighting scrambles my thoughts. "Hi, I'm Elaine," I'd say. "Since we're both here at the same time every day, I thought it a good idea to get acquainted."