Sexual Harrassment and The Publix Deli
Don’t ever let it be said that men cannot be the victims of sexual Harassment. Yes, yes, I know we all saw that movie with Demi Moore that was supposed to convey some sort of power-harassment thing, but, let’s be honest, every man on Earth would do pretty much whatever Demi Moore told him. At least they would have in 1994. No, no, what I am talking about is having to go to a grocery store 5 miles out of your way because the deli lady thinks you’re her baby daddy. Or at least wants you to be.
Since my good friend Graig was a little bug-eyed toddler, he had shopped at the Publix on 144th and US-1. His mom bought him formula there, his dad used to take him to buy ice cream there, he bought his first 20 sack of weed in the parking lot there. That Publix held many fond memories for old Graig spanning the last 25 years. That was until one fateful day this fall, when Graig came in after a late spinning class looking for nothing more than a quarter pound of turkey with which to make his evening sandwich. But it would not be so simple.
Working the Deli counter that night was a woman who we shall call Tanya. Tanya was not exactly Graig’s type, insofar she was over five feet tall, weighed over 95 pounds and was not Hispanic. She was, in fact, the complete opposite. Unfortunately, Graig was exactly Tanya’s type and she spent the entire incident cutting his turkey using sexual innuendo like “You like it thick and juicy or skinny and dry?” Graig more or less ignored her, until he went back two nights later after spinning. Again, Tanya was at the counter, and this time asked Graig if he wanted to be her Baby Daddy as he attempted to purchase a few slices of Munster Cheese. “No, just the cheese, thanks,” responses Graig, ever the diplomat.
It was after two more episodes that involved the showing of a thong (and, man, you have never been turned on until you have seen a pink thong under a Publix Deli Apron) and a seductive handling of a Hebrew National Salami that Graig decided frozen entrees might make a better dinner selection. So, when he returned to his local grocery the next day, he made a B-line for the frozen foods aisle. Having selected his Hungry Man entrée for the evening, he walked down the aisle, turned right, and ran head-on into a large wall of humanity named Tanya. “Hey baby,” she said, “My girls told me you was here. How come you didn’t come by and get no meat? Cuz I know I sure love me some meat.” Graig, slightly frightened, swallowed hard and meekly told her that he wanted to try something different. “Hmm, well, you better come visit me when you done.” Graig nodded and proceeded to the checkout counter, bought his dinner, and immediately broke his promise to Tanya, sprinting to his car like had just stolen the entire contents of the Publix safe.
The next week Graig thought maybe he would go on a different night to throw her off. He walked in, looked over at the deli, and did not see Tanya. Whew. Still, not taking any chances, Graig opted for a Lean Cuisine bag rather than perhaps let anyone think he was going to visit his deli-dwelling admirer. As he turned on his feet to head over to the frozen foods section, he heard a voice coming form the deli. “Oh, look, there’s Tanya’s man. Yo, Tanya, yo’ man is here!” And with that, Tanya came bouncing out of the back of the deli and jiggled her way over to Graig, who was trying to pretend he didn’t see her. No such luck. The next thing Graig knew, he was suffocated in a bosom that smelled of old Pastrami and cheddar. It was during the 30 seconds that his life flashed before him in a green-and-salmon blur that he decided he would have to find a new Publix. And so he did.
Now Graig does his shopping at the Publix on 162nd. On the West side of US-1, which is, to put it mildly, a slightly less desirable neighborhood. Gone is the organic foods section, the deli the size of small hardware store, the full service pharmacy and the bank. In are people with stacks of 400 coupons who bring their 9 kids with them to the store. Gone are the rich housewives stocking up for the week. In are the throngs of construction worklers buying Gotarade and Lotto tickets. Graig can no longer shop at the Publix he loves, all because he made the egregious error of wearing a revealing wife-beater and shorts to Publix. Well, at least we know he will never sexually harass any women at his place of work, as he knows the pain of having to change your life due to someone else’s unrequited obsession.