Ladies Lingerie

This story goes under the heading of  ‘Church’, I suppose.  This turned out to be a very early morning church service.  Something roused me out of bed on a cold winter morning in Anderson, Indiana.  It was about 4 AM and I thought to myself  ‘What am I doing up at this time of morning?’  There was something unusual about the way I woke up and could not go back to sleep.  There seemed to be a soft insistence that I ‘get up now’.    I rose reluctantly, dressed and wondered what to do with myself next.  It was as if something was driving me…  Move!  Move!  Where would I go at this early hour?  There weren’t many choices…  a couple of 24 hour diners and Wal-Mart.  That was all...
Wal-Mart was impressed on me pretty clearly.  But why?  It wasn’t my favorite place to shop and I really didn’t need anything.  Maybe I would just kill some time till the sun came up.  I entered  the store and wandered around for a bit.  Surely I must need something.  It finally came to me… socks, underwear….everybody always needs that.  I headed for that department.  At that time of the morning there were precious few shoppers.  Imagine my surprise when I found the lingerie section crowded.  More surprising…  it was crowded by men!  Well…  that’s really strange, I thought.   Maybe I’ll just wander off and come back later.  I meandered through the empty aisles for a good while and then made my way back to the lingerie department.  It was still overrun by men.    As I ducked in, squeezing between racks of bras and panties, I felt distinctly uncomfortable, like I had crashed someone’s party, but I was determined to hold my ground. I thought to myself  ‘I have a right to be here, too’.   The tension grew and I felt as though I had somehow invaded their territory.  A couple of the men glared at me while others turned their backs sharply.  What had I stumbled on?  Moments later, I was out of there.  It felt like I was going to be thrown out if I didn’t leave .
By this time I was feeling bullied…what a weird situation.    Rather than leave the store, I decided to head off to the sidelines where I could observe things.   There was something odd in the way they moved around the lacy things.  They would brush up against someone seductively while holding up a pair of panties to admire. They lingered and flirted and preened just like animals in mating season.
Oops!  I finally got it!  A gaggle of gay guys had commandeered the lingerie department at Wal-Mart!  I didn’t know if I should laugh or cry!
I could have just walked away but there was something else odd about the scene.  There was something about the similarity of the men.  They were very uniform… and not the usual suspects.  They all looked very clean cut… real conservative types and they all seemed to know each other.  They all wore suits with freshly pressed shirts, stylish ties, nicely polished shoes.  They all kind of gave off the same vibe.
On closer inspection, I saw that almost all of the men wore wedding bands.  Their ages ranged from about 15 to 70 years old.    My stomach lurched a little.   I really didn’t want to believe what I might be seeing.  But  I’ve been around enough church folks to know the look.  The way they carry themselves, the way they act.     A pretty distinct culture, especially in this town.  That would certainly explain the shame-faced ones who turned their backs on me in a hurry.  It made me angry… for their wives, their children, their congregations.
I was meant to see this.  I was dragged out of bed and sent across town without warning.  Surely there was a purpose.  I couldn’t just walk away.  I turned and strode back into the department making a few sharp remarks along the way.  I gave them no choice but to disperse.  Not quite Jesus in the temple whipping the money changers, but enough to break up their party and send them scurrying off.  I pursued a few of them, my eyes blazing.   At the last, I stationed myself near the checkout lane to watch the last of them leave, Sunday papers, bagels and frozen waffles in hand.  I could almost hear their wives thanking them for running their little early morning errands.