meet arthur


Meet Arthur.



Arthur is grocery shopping at about 8:30 pm. 
He is out of things.
He has come to get some things.

Arthur sees a woman standing in the freezer aisle, rubbing a very, VERY round belly as she stares at frozen pizzas. 
Arthur likes women. 
Arthur likes round things.




Arthur says to himself, “I would like to approach that woman, touch her body, and tell her about things.”

So Arthur does.

He walks up behind an 8-months-pregnant woman 
(who is deeply immersed in the frozen pizza decision-making process)
(and who is this close to landing on spinach and mushroom)
(because she can add some pecorino when she gets home.)

Arthur says nothing, because why would he need to?

Arthur puts his arm around the woman’s body. 
He cups her shoulder with his large hand. 
He likes this.

He pulls her in close to the side of his body, and he chuckles into her ear, 
“Is it twins?”

The woman drops her basket.

Arthur feels her shoulders stiffen.

Arthur doesn’t let go of her and step back. 
Of course not! 
Arthur is a nice guy who would never hurt a pregnant woman alone at night! 
Arthur wonders why she’s so nervous, poor silly thing.

Arthur knows what she needs.

She needs to know she’s safe. 
She needs a firm hand and a clear, loud, deep voice to tell her that even though she feels scared when a stranger walks up to her unannounced and holds her against his body, she’s actually in the middle of a charming encounter!

Girls like strong men.


Arthur squeezes her shoulder tighter, and chuckles warmly to show her how fun this is, and then, because sometimes they just need to hear it, he says, 


“Eeeeeasy girl.”




The woman pulls away from him and steps back, looking up and down the aisle as if she’s looking for a scary guy. But she doesn’t need to worry. 
Arthur is a nice guy!
She can trust Arthur.

She isn’t looking at him, but she is kind of smiling. 
Arthur knows he’s doing a great interesting job.

Arthur feels certain he should keep talking.

“I saw you earlier, by the olive bar,” Arthur says, to make sure she knows how much he respected her privacy when he saw her scooping marinated artichoke hearts into a cup. Arthur is proud of himself for not talking to her at the olive bar. 
Arthur is respectful.
Arthur is a nice guy.

Arthur keeps going.

“And when I saw you, I just thought, WOAH, that has to be twins, she is HUGE!” Arthur laughs.



The woman laughs a little too but not as hard as Arthur. 
But that’s because women are shy and Arthur is TOO MUCH FUN. 

The woman smiles, crosses her arms over her chest, takes another step back, and says, “No, it’s just one baby in there.”

Arthur does not believe this. Not for one second. 
And where is she going? 
Arthur has many things to say and the right to say all of them to anyone.

Arthur takes another step toward her and points his fingers at her like guns.

“Are you sure it’s not twins?”

The woman cocks her head at him.
Oh boy!
Arthur knows what that means! 
That head-tilty expression? 
That means that Arthur is a nice good man 
and she needs him to keep explaining to her. 

Arthur keeps going.

“Because you are huge. And not just in the belly. I mean, you’re… huge. Twins huge.”

Arthur cups his hands over his own chest, smiles, and nods. 




Arthur hopes she understands. 
He knows how much women like to be complimented on their huge breasts, especially when they’re wearing gym clothes at the grocery store, alone, at night, pregnant.

Arthur is the nicest guy. 
But this woman clearly doesn’t understand how nice he is, 
because she takes another step back, angles her body away from him, 
and holds up one of her hands in a stop motion.

Jeez. Women.

“Yes, I’m sure, it’s not twins,” she says. Kind of snippy, if you ask Arthur.

Arthur is just trying to let her know things about her 
that he knows more than she does. 
Arthur is generous like that.

Arthur has an idea.




Arthur is certain that she does not understand what the word “twins” means.

He must explain it to her. 
He will explain it kindly and simply,
and he will keep explaining it until she understands. 
He could never forgive himself if he didn’t.


"pepper"
"pep
per"


“No, it looks like twins. Two babies. You know, in there. At the same time.”

The woman stares at him.
Silence is permission.
Arthur keeps going.

“I mean, really, your entire body is very round.
When I saw you at the olive bar, and then later when I was watching you, or when I saw you by the cheese counter, both times I just couldn’t believe how giant your belly was, and your... other parts. So there must be two babies in there.
You know, twins.”

Nailed it.




Arthur is proud of himself for working so hard to teach this poor thing.

Arthur is also proud of himself for making sure that she knows that he actually saw her twice before he decided to walk up to her and have an enchanting conversation and some pleasurable physical contact, which Arthur feels is a normal thing for people to do to other people they do not know at all.

I mean, not for men to do to other men, of course.




Arthur gets scared just thinking about it. 
Arthur wants to run away or maybe hit someone.

Arthur thinks about the woman again.




 Arthur feels better.

She is a nice soft lady and Arthur can hug her.
Everything is fine and normal again.
She makes him feel happy.

But she doesn't look happy. 
Arthur is confused. 
She has made him happy, but she looks... mad?
How can this be?




“I was there at both ultrasounds, sir, it’s one baby. Good-bye.”

She turns to walk away.
Now Arthur feels mad.
Arthur wants to run.
Arthur wants to fight.

Why is she being so mean?

It’s not Arthur’s fault that he was shopping and she showed up with her giant round belly and boobs and butt and made him wonder about warm pregnant skin.

I mean, what is Arthur supposed to do? 
See a curvaceous pregnant lady three times in an otherwise empty grocery store
and NOT talk to her? 
If she wanted privacy she could have ordered pizza. 
If she wanted to be left alone all she had to do was say so.




Arthur shakes his head. This makes no sense.
Everyone knows that pregnant ladies are nice.
Everyone knows that pregnant ladies need nice guys like Arthur
to reassure them that they’re still good things.

Of course she wanted him to hug her.
Of course she wanted to know what he thought about her body.
And if she didn’t want compliments on her cans she shouldn’t have been wearing that clingy gym shirt that was still a little sweaty between the shoulder blades.

Arthur wonders when chivalry died.

Arthur feels certain he was born too late.

Nice guys really do finish last.

He notices her basket on the ground. The basket is full.

“Hold up!” 
Arthur hears his voice saying “hold up” 
and thinks he sounds a little like Dwayne Johnson. 
Arthur thinks that guy’s cool.
The woman stops at the end of the aisle and turns around.

“Your groceries.”




Arthur is so fucking chivalrous.

The woman stands there. She looks at him. She looks at the basket. She doesn’t move.

Arthur wonders if she heard him. It’s not the first time tonight that she didn’t understand a simple concept like “twins” or “groceries.”

Arthur wonders if she understands the unspoken subtext of what he just said – does she think he was just identifying objects in the aisle?

Arthur is so nice and misunderstood.
He must make sure she knows that he is nice
and how much she misunderstood him.

“You forgot your basket,” Arthur calls, pronouncing the words clearly, and pointing to the basket on the ground.

The woman doesn’t move.

Arthur thinks that it’s almost like she’s an animal, wrestling with whether she should risk proximity to a predator in order to retrieve food that took time and energy to collect, or whether she should run, and keep running.

Women are so sensitive.

Arthur picks up the basket and walks it down the aisle to her. She reaches out a hand as far as she can reach.

Arthur laughs a little. Why would she do that?
Girls are paranoid.
It’s not like anyone would want to touch her anyway, she’s fat.

She puts her hand on the handle and says, “Thank you.” 
She pulls on the handle.

Arthur doesn’t let go.

“You’re welcome,” he says. 
She tugs on the basket again.
He is stronger than she is.
Arthur feels good.
This is fun.

“You’re welcome,” he says again, very warmly, and lets go.

He lets her walk away and makes sure she’s gone before he goes to the checkout because he is nice and because he’s scared she will tell someone he did something bad. Arthur knows he didn’t do anything bad but women make things up all the time, after.

_ _ _


Meet Tyler. Tyler is working the checkout stand at 8:40 pm.

A pregnant woman walks up with her basket.

“Hi,” the woman says.

“Hey how’s it goin’,” says Tyler.

“Oh fine,” says the woman.

Tyler notices the woman is very round.
She is pregnant.
She has big boobs.
She is wearing gym clothes.
Tyler starts ringing up her groceries.

“Need a bag,” asks Tyler.

“Yes please,” says the woman.

Tyler scans a cereal box.

“I like this cereal,” says Tyler.

“Me too,” says the woman.

Tyler rings up the woman’s groceries and makes pleasant chit-chat.

He might be thinking about those big pregnant boobs.
He might want to hug her or tell her what he thinks about her body.

We will never know.

Tyler does not hug her.

Tyler does not tell her what he thinks of her body.

Tyler does not explain things to her.

Tyler says good-night.

Tyler lets go of the bag when he hands it to her.


wow
look at that self-control


Be like Tyler.


And Arthur?


Dude?


You're not nice or interesting.
Everything you did was
creepy
inappropriate
and so
so
so
boring.

So boring, in fact,

that I illustrated every single thing you did
and what I imagine you thought
with stock photos
that I found when I searched
"generic white man grocery shopping."

So Arthur,

the next time you have the urge to
do
any
of
that
again.

Instead why don't you just





Until you have the self-control to do that,
pretend all the women around you are men
and leave them the fuck alone.


Writer's Note:
This actually happened to me when I was pregnant with Buster. The whole incident was both hilarious and incredibly creepy, and I was angry about it for a long time without being able to put my finger on why. 

This blog post has been in my drafts folder since the week it happened. The dialogue written here is intact from the week it happened, so while it may not be word-for-word accurate, it's pretty damn close. 

Last week I found it and started rewriting it, from the point of view of the Creepmaster General, whom I have named Arthur for obvious reasons. 

No, I am not 8 months pregnant right now.

No, I did not make this up.


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Thank you for reading/sharing/liking/commenting/laughing/crying/farting/eating cake and dropping a slice on the ground for your homey, Katie.

xoxo

Katie

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