turning corners

There are so many moments where I wished.  I wish I’d said this, or held on longer.  If only.  If I’d opened my mouth.  If I turned around.  If I stared back instead of away.  So many of my wishes are about what I didn’t do, instead of wishing I hadn’t done something.  I suspect that’s the case with most.  Wishing for less is regret.  Wishing for more is hope.  You can always do either tomorrow.  I guess I’d rather occasionally wish I hadn’t instead of regularly wishing I had.

Tonight, at McDangerous, on my way home, I almost met a man.  I was on line, about to order for a family of three, for just me, when we touched slightly, I whipped around and apologized.  When I turned, we stared at one another.  His eyes were so blue.  I wanted to tell him so.  You don’t talk that way to strangers, especially at McDangerous come 10:30pm on a Tuesday night.  So I faced forward, instead of looking back, working out my next decision.  His eyes were so blue.

After I ordered, I stepped aside.  He stepped beside me.  We looked at one another again.  I was older.  I stepped aside.  I watched him, though, and he knew it.  I noticed one of his flip flops was green and plastic, the other a brown Reef made of fabric.  I laughed.  He looked up, saw what I was laughing at and said, “I lost one.” 
    “Seems that way.”  We both looked at my shoes.
    “You know it’s tradition to trade.  I’ll trade you one of mine for one of yours.”
    I thought of saying he’d be trading up, but thought that meant too much, in the wrong way.  “I doubt mine would fit you,” I countered.  “But then again, I could be wrong; it wouldn’t be a first.”
    “It wouldn’t be a first, a guy wearing your shoes?”
    “No, that I’d be wrong.” 
    We both smiled, wondering what to say next.  “Oh,” he said.  Then his cheeseburger was called.  “Have a good night,” he said.
    Then my feast for a family was called.  I loaded up on ketchup.  He was gone.  When I got outside, I noticed he had crossed the street.  He was waiting for me, leaning against the traffic light.  Waiting, looking at the entrance I’d just walked through.  I knew he wanted to know where I’d go next.  I smiled, and turned the corner, knowing home was in my future, despite the almosts, and all the trades in the world.  I traded enough growing up, sandwiches, snacks, clothing at the end of camp.  In that moment, when I turned the corner, I felt like a married man.  A man with options, weighing possibilities, but who at the end of the day knew his way home.   



  1. Straight Up or Gay, a man in flip-flops, frayed jeans, and a belt that's slightly too long, is fcuking hot. The J.Crew catalog does it for me every day and twice on Sunday.

  2. (haha) Stub—-I thought the same thing! All my gay male friends wear flip flops with their trendy jeans–it looks great, but beware! You may be barking up the wrong tree!

    Great post! I hope I am wrong about him though! ;)

  3. Your post made me wince in recognition. I had a similar encounter last week in a coffee shop and walked away lamenting the missed opportunity…Alas, I'm sometimes too shy for my own good.

  4. As a straight man who has worn flip flops (Speedo brand, no less) all over the hell and gone, I can assure you that they are not indicative of anything other than a firmly casual fashion sense.

    Contemplating the roads not taken is one of the great bittersweet joys of healthy monogamy.

  5. Strangely, I never have the urge to speak to beautiful strangers, though I look when I'm sure they're not looking. Eye contact kind of unnerves me, but I do find myself regretting my timidity often.

    Perhaps some day I'll be like you, and strike up a comfy conversation with someone

  6. Hi from sunny South Africa. Read about you in the papers a couple of weeks ago and am now hooked. You go girl, and go and go and go.

  7. If you happen to live where it is hot all year round, you'll see flip-flops on gay, straight, bi, and all the rest.

    I even see 'em at work ;)

  8. In California everbody always wears flip flops – even (definitely straight) professors when they teach!

  9. Ooh baby, J. Crew catalog…love it, love it. I just know the men can't ALL be gay.

    The catalog ain't nothin' but eye candy!

    Love the men, love the clothes…love, love, love, love…

    So sorry for all this…but I can't help it.

  10. Whoa !! 40+ year flashback. 1962, Japan (courtesy of USN). Resort town, young woman, 15 min conversation, her bus comes. "Wait can I have your address?" too late, bus gone. One of my 3AM recurring 'what if's

  11. How nice!! I wish I could have an encounter like that, sounds so romantic! Also, what's wrong about guys wearing flip flops?
    Flip flops mean summertime, freedom and happiness!!

  12. 26…straight…West Village…flip flop wearin, Seven For All Mankind struttin, DAAAAAMN sweet n' good lookin…they're for everyone…

  13. The subway. That's where that happens. A glance, a glance back. Perhaps another glance, followed by a brief smile. And then my stop or her stop. (Of course, you have to find that fine line between a flirtatious glance and the cold, hard stare of a sociopath.) Missed opportunities.

  14. Here in Pinehurst, NC, the Stepford Village of the south, flip-flops and treads are the uniform of the straight, frat-boy type—not the kind that gay men emulate, but the real McKoy.

    Footwear aside, I enjoy it very much Stephanie, when you write in this voice, in this manner. The construction is sublime, and communicates the story beautifully. If this is what we have in store for us when your book comes out, you know you're going to have a bestseller on your hands.

  15. Everyone in South Florida wears flip flops. Every day of the week. Even to work.

  16. Whoa S, you struck something in me with this one. I too feel I finally know where home is. And for the first time I don't feel like I'm missing out on anything by having one. Peanut Gallery: A man in flip flops is hotness, especially my Spud.

  17. Is it still hot if the guy wearing flip flops has hairy toes? If so, I'm fcuking super hot.

  18. In my past, on a date, I a Johnny Walker black. She said thank G-d you didn't order a red drink. I aked what would happen if I did. She said the date would be over– no guy should ever order a red drink.

    Just yesterday, I bumped into that same girl with my 6-month son and wife. Still single, she asked me if I knew anyone. I said I didn't and said goobye walking away in my jeans and flip flops.

  19. In my past, on a date, I ordered a Johnny Walker Black over dinner. She said Thank G-d you didn't order a red drink. I asked What if I did? She said the date would be so over.

    A few weeks ago, I ran into her while strolling with my wife and 6-month son. Single and looking she asked me if I knew anyone. I said no. We said goodbye and we glided away– my son in his stroller, my wife pushing him, and me in my jeans and flip flops.

  20. I think to "wish" or "what if" a situation is better than to "wish I hadn't". When you wish you hadn't done something, it usually involves regret. Wishing you had done something (or what-if-ing) involves using your imagination, hope and curiosity – which I think is a healthy part of human nature. I believe that things happen for a reason, but I also believe that we each have a "destiny" that we can control…to some extent…

  21. Its always fun to think about the posibilities and then go back to your reality.

    Oh and you gotta love a man in flip-flops. Mmmmm.

  22. What is it in the U.S. with men showing their feet in public all the time???

    Men's feet are not beautiful. Most are white, cheesy and not properly groomed. Most sandals are ugly. Flip flops are nice, but the feet…ugh!

    So, I do not understand why I have to endure them
    – in the elevator of my building
    – while trying to enjoy coffee
    – while riding the subway
    – while deciding on my lunch
    – while grabbing lunch
    – while trying to enjoy the lunch
    – in business meetings (!!!)
    – from the coworker who changes his formal black banker shoes to creepy worn out sandals as soon as the clock hits 5pm
    – in the pub
    – even in bars
    – on airplanes
    – etc.etc.etc.

    Face it: most men have ugly feet! Even some women should either have a pedicure or reconsider showing their feet in public.

    But maybe some female readers can give me some feedback: do you really like to see men's feet everywhere???

  23. My every other weekend lover has cute feet – but in general, men who work in offices or cubies should keep their feet to themselves. Men who hike/fish/camp and have cute tanned feet – wear whatever you want! And women who have pedicures rule – I currently am wearing 'I'm not really a waitress' polish on my toes.

    Stephanie – getting in to work and seeing a new post is like getting in to work and seeing a good friend – brings a smile to my face every day. Keep up the good work!

  24. I wear sandals a lot … when I'm not working, or going out to somewhere sandals are not an option. I used to be anti-sandal, but since coming to Florida, I have learned the error of my ways.

    Throw on my Reefs and I'm good. You never know when you'll need to get on a boat.

  25. I think blue eyed guy must have moved to Canada because he has been eye fcuking me while waiting for the elevator for the past two weeks.

  26. Stephanie
    It's a fuss all over nohing. In Chicago, that guy is a wuse. Keep looking, you'll find better. New York's a big city

  27. I think your behavior is totally about being feminine. Not being the first to speak, looking down or away is feminine instinct. As modern and independant as we are, we still want the guy to persue us. At least that's what I think at the moment.

  28. knowing your way home- in the past, i've needed a little reminding. your post beautifully described what it's like to finally hold a map. despite mr. hottie flip flops. thanks.

  29. As a suburban raised girl spending her first summer in a city with a subway – London at the age of 18 I thought I was the first person to have fallen in love on a 15 minute tube ride. I had forgotten about that and your story just gave me a flashback. After reading the comments above I now realize that five minute love affairs on the subway, elevator, [insert location of choice here] are one of the best surprises of modern day city living.

  30. As an 18 year old girl raised in the suburbs and spending her first summer in a city with a subway – London, I thought I was the first person in the world to have fallen in love with a stranger over the course of a 15 minute tube ride. Of course I soon realized that this wasn't as unique as I thought and have come to realize that a five minute love affair in the subway, elevator [insert location of choice] is one of the best surprises of modern day city living.

  31. I just don't get that! I thought you have a boyfriend and I also thought you quit your job?? But anyway, I think it is the unknown that gets us, it is the stranger next to you who gives us goos pimples, when we know we are able to turn around the corner and nothing did happen. That safety gives us the chance to say, "What if?" If you had really taken him with you or if U really had gone out with him, probably he would have turned out to be a looser or some less adorable man… Nice blog, though. Soelli

  32. When not working or in a situation where shoes are required, my green Abercrombie flip flops are on my feet. 3 years old, the logo finally fell off one but they are the most comfortable things I have ever worn and I can't let go. No i'm not gay but yes i have ugly feet.

  33. First off, I hate that word. Boyfriend. It seems so insignificant after you've had a fiancee and husband. As I told a friend last night, I have "a blessing." Phil is a blessing in my life. Phil is home.

  34. "What if" scenarios are great for couples but when one acts upon one then "Foul Ball". Working in the divorce field I am amazed at the stories I hear and the lenghts at which some people go and the all propably started with a "What if". "What if's" are better in fantasy than reality because it doesn't wind up hurting anyone emotionally or financially.

    I love my "What if" encounters but I keep them like little stories in my head where there safe and not in my pants where they can cause damage.

  35. Forget the sandals. I am more interested in the denial of having a boyfriend. What's up Stephanie? Is Phil what others would refer to as a boyfriend? Is it exclusive? Is he cool with you flirting over French Fries? Would LOVE to know.

  36. The instant I run into a guy with extraordinary eyes, I think: 'the only way to get his attention is by not paying him any.' But then, I'm like, 'Oh, what the hell!' and eye him just as long as I please, like the all the other good folks in the vicinity. It's flattering when I get the same look back from him but I don't say a word. The looking and coveting and wondering if I am being coveted back by a cad is as good a rush as any and one that lasts forever.

    p.s: this is my third visit to your wonderful blog and I felt compelled to say something. 'Thank you' sounded inadequate (read: cheesy), so I left this instead.

  37. I totally agree with the boyfriend moniker – here I am at 38 – the term boyfriend is beyond ridiculous. I've taken to calling him my lovah. Except when mentioning him in ear-shot of parents or children, then he's 'someone I work with'. And congratulations with Phil…we'll keep our collective fingers crossed.

  38. Everything is as it should be. Every corner turned brings you where you are. No one can go back and turn the other corner because you can never 'should have done' something right now. For me, the juicy today is more desirable than the empty promise of what is past.

    Relationship and love is a choice you make – to turn the corner and go home, to forgive, to make shelf space …

  39. i love that everyone's taken a thoughtful and thought-provoking post and turned it into a discussion over whether flip flops are gay.

  40. Blessings suit you, lady. I hope you have many more. Glad shit didn't fuck up with Phil

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