TW: sexual … something?
Five months out of my parents’ home, five months since the first time I wore jeans in public.
It was a Sunday, and I was home all day. I wore yoga pants.
I stood in front of the mirror a few times and looked at how the fabric hugged my legs. I felt naked. Exposed. On display. But I could wear this in my own apartment, right?
There had been numerous problems with our pipes, and the plumber had said he would come earlier in the day, when my roommate was still home. By the time she had to leave, he still hadn’t come. But I planned to continue lazily reading on the couch, so it was fine – I stayed home and waited for the plumber.
He came in the evening, and I let him in, then basically ignored him as he worked in the bathroom. At some point, he called me in to ask me some questions.
He was sitting on the side of the tub, and I stood in the doorway.
I continued standing there as he continued working, and now we were chatting. He mentioned his wife and kids in Queens. He asked me if I had a boyfriend, and I lied and said yes because I hated the inevitable next question: “What, why not? What’s a pretty girl like you doing without a boyfriend?” Like, shut up, thanks. So I lied this time and said I had a boyfriend.
But then he asked me to take a look at the drain, and I leaned over. I was uncomfortable and immediately stepped back, away from him, but he beckoned me closer.
And then his hand was on my leg and he said, “I like your body.”
I froze, thought I must have misheard, said “what?”
He asked me for my number. He said something like “we could have fun.”
I choked out “I have a boyfriend,” thankful now I had told that lie.
“So? He’s not here now.” And suddenly the lie became useless.
I unfroze and backed away, smiled politely and retreated to the couch where I texted my roommate: “Are you almost home?”
The plumber left before anyone else got home. He tried to coax me into agreeing to “have fun” as I ushered him out the door and shut it firmly in his face. I knew I wasn’t being so polite anymore, but I didn’t care, I just wanted him out.
I sat on the couch, knees pulled up to my chest and felt like the world was crashing in. But I also felt like I was overreacting. So he hit on me, so what? Big deal. Didn’t I want that now? Now that I was out of the frum world, didn’t I want people to be interested in me sexually? But this felt wrong. It was wrong. He said “I like your body.” But why does that bother me? Didn’t I want people to like my body? Didn’t I shed the frum ideas about hiding my body?
My roommate came home and I told her what happened. She got furious on my behalf and swore to speak to the manager of the building.
It was another three months before I wore those yoga pants again.