As I helped Mr. Blue Eyes by trying to get an idea of what scents his wife preferred, he asked me a question men weren’t supposed to ask a woman. “Do you mind if I ask you how old you are?”
I was taken aback. I wasn’t sure if he was trying to be rude or genuinely interested. I tried to come up with a clever answer, but I didn’t want to be cheesy.
“Uh no, I’m 19.” I smiled, a little confused. It was as if he noticed, because he readily apologized and tried to explain.
“It’s just that my wife is probably a little closer to your age than you might be assuming—she’s 26. That way, you’re not pointing me to ‘old lady’ perfumes,” he said, laughing as my eyes widened.
“Yeah, I’m a little older than her, as I can see by your surprise. We’ve been married for two years and dated for three years before that. And before you ask, I’m 51.” He smiled shyly after confessing his personal relationship to a younger woman. I was at a loss of words, not because of the age difference, although that was shocking, but because he just told that bit of private information to a complete stranger.
“Oh, wow! Well, I’m certainly not pointing you in any direction because of any assumptions I may be making, which I’m not. This is one of our bestsellers and these, right here, are similar in the sense that they also give off a strong rich fragrance,” I said quickly. I was trying to maintain my professionalism, make the sale, and dwell over the man after he left. Whether or not he was in a 25-year age gap relationship was his own business and most certainly not mine.
“Oh ok, I’m just making sure. She really likes the more creamy vanilla smells as well. Is there one that’s kind of like a combination of both?” he replied, a little embarrassed and ready to stick to the topic of making a purchase.
Happy to oblige, I pointed to one of our new fragrances. “This one here should be the perfect one for her then. It just came in this morning. It’s got a vanilla bean mixed with a deep cinnamon smell.” As I handed him the bottle to see for himself, he agreed and took the matching body spray and shower gel set. The rest of the sale went quickly. I rang him up and asked if he needed it to be gift wrapped. Already knowing the answer, I brought out the gift basket and the minute I tied the bow, he thanked me and was out the door.
Even now, this story always makes me smile. Mr. Blue Eyes looked to be a confident, charming, well taken care of man in his steady declining prime. Along with the black American express card that he handed over to me in a rush, it was obvious that he felt embarrassed. Regardless, if I was just a young sales girl, I struck a chord in him enough that he needed to brag about his relationship. Because one thing was for sure, he loved his wife and my apparent “put-offness” with him made him want to let me know that he’s still “got it.”
What he didn’t pick up on is that regardless of his age, he was still attractive and as he left that day, all the girls were swooning and complaining about how I was the lucky one that he went to ask for help. For me, it was like something went off in my head, almost as if I all of a sudden realized what I had been missing out on while I was with Jared. For some reason I felt better about the breakup, because Mr. Blue Eyes was a sign that there was more out there for me.