I left Victoria’s Secret, having secured what I needed for someone else who couldn’t shop for herself.  I had bent my mind around getting some in Medium and some in Large, because I just wasn’t sure which size was right.  I had made peace with knowing that meant I would be back soon.

I had sucked it up and compared the bras for comfort and practicality though I (an online lingerie shopper) was in uncharted territory.  I had de-coded the questions of the fast-talking young check-out person (efficient, beautifully groomed, clearly in her comfort zone and really trying to help).

I had breathed my way into less anxiety and cleaned out my wallet while she went through the endless process of sorting, scanning, removing those security thingies, folding, tissue-ing, getting it all into the pink shopping bag and explaining the Secret Rewards card that would not be active for a few days.

I was spent.

On the way out the woman security person caught my eye.  She looked tired but alert.  She looked like someone I would talk to at a wedding.   I smiled and said, “Have a really nice day.”  I meant it.

On the way home I thought about that good-bye.  What compelled us to connect?

I have to believe it was a shared understanding born of gender.  No matter what our situations, we each are familiar with work, we both know what it is like to do something because you have to, not because you want to (as, admittedly, almost all men do), but my guess is that security guard and I both know what it is like to want to do something you don’t exactly have to do, but must—because you are a woman.

That thing can be garden-variety difficult, like shopping for underwear that isn’t exactly in your wheel house —- or very difficult, like dealing with hospitals or phone representatives or insurance companies.  That thing can require cleaning someone else’s home (or, once, I remember, a pregnant friend’s car), or supporting their walk to the bathroom.

t can be just listening or being willing to talk.  It is women’s work, I think.  It is how and why we connect.

How often have we heard the phrase “Every man for himself?”  Perhaps we need to give front-of-the-mind awareness to the reality that life pretty much is “Every woman for each other.”  We are what we pay attention to.  I’m grateful the guard, this phrase and that truth caught my attention today.

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