Savage Love

Hey, Faggot: Here's the dilemma: I'm attracted to a woman who works at Safeway, but I have no idea how to make my feelings known. This is my neighborhood Safeway, and I'm in there at least twice a week.

The first time I went in, I was in the express checkout when I noticed the cashier. I was immediately struck by her laid-back, self-assured attitude. There were about eight people ahead of me. She said nothing as she rang in their items. I approached and she spoke: "Hi, how are you?" I felt honored -- out of all the people in line she actually spoke to me! I told her I was fine, paid for my things, and left. At the time I felt euphoric. Now I'm confused.

I always feel like I'm getting "signals" from her. When I'm in her aisle I can see a small smile on her face when she notices me in line. I play it cool by not deliberately looking her way, but by taking "sideways" glances. When our eyes do meet, we quickly avert our gazes. The conversation remains in the "Hi, how are you?/ How's it goin'?" vein. I don't always go through her checkout aisle -- I don't want to look like I'm after her. Silly, isn't it?

Do Safeway women get asked out all the time? How do I ask her out for coffee while avoiding major trauma? Any advice? Lay it on me.

Grocery Store Blues

Hey, GSB: On your behalf, I called the Safeway nearest your return address, which I'm assuming is the Safeway nearest your home, and shared your letter with the manager, Mark. Do Safeway checkers get asked out all the time? "Well, it happens," said Mark, "but we discourage it." Why? "For obvious reasons -- stalking and all of that stuff." Does Mark, a 17-year Safeway veteran, know checkers who've been stalked? "I've been at stores where it happened, where a guy was harassing one of the cashiers. It was awful."

So, if you promise not to stalk, would it be all right for you to ask this checker out for coffee? "No." But what about her seeming interest in you -- the smiling, the eye contact? "He needs to understand that she's just doing her job. She's trained to make eye contact and smile, checkers are paid to do that -- she's not flirting, she's working."

Are there any circumstances under which it would be appropriate for someone to ask a checker out? "Only if he met her outside of work." But wouldn't arranging to meet her outside of work require finding out where she goes after work, and then arranging to be there -- which sounds a lot like stalking? "Yes, that's why I think it's best that he do nothing." Does he know of a checker who successfully dated a customer? "No, never."

Hm. Pretty grim -- a little too grim, methought. So, I walked over to a grocery store near my office and asked a checker -- the lovely and talented Steph -- if she knew of any fellow checkers who'd successfully dated customers. "It happens, god knows," said Steph. "But most of the people who find love in the grocery business usually find it with other folks in the grocery business." Perhaps you should fill out an application -- you could be her bag boy, and sack your way into her heart. If you don't have the time to pick up a few shifts at your local Safeway, Steph felt you could go ahead and ask her out. "Ask her to coffee. If she says no, she says no. Don't send a note or flowers -- that's too creepy, and it would embarrass her in front of the other checkers."

Hey, Faggot: Why are you so mean to the people who write in to you? Every week I read your column and literally want to throw up! You think you know every goddamned thing, but you don't. Why don't you be courteous to the people who write you, and then maybe, just maybe, the world will except [sic] our kind.


Hey, M: People who send me letters have read my column, so they're aware of the risks -- they know I'm mean. And, hey, we might have better luck getting what we want from the world if we ask for it properly. "Except" us? I may be mean, but I would rather be mean than stupid.

Hey, Faggot: A few weeks ago, I came across Savage Love. It was hard for me to believe this type of material is offered to the general public, or that a person could read this stuff in good conscience. I know the lifestyle you choose is just that, a choice. God gives us this choice. I have chosen to place my trust in Christ. I am a 22-year-old student, studying to be a preacher at a Baptist Bible college. I base my beliefs on the Bible, and the Bible tells me to love everyone. That is why I am writing you. Not to condemn you and your lifestyle, but because I'm concerned about you.

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