He roamed the market carrying a homemade plastic basket. The way people stared at him, both sexes included, had no effect whatsoever in his rounds. Considering the various negative looks on their faces, a weakling could have retreated home, never to repeat a similar practice again. He wasn’t one.
“What? Never seen a guy buying groceries before?” he told somebody who had the nerve to confront him. “You sell. I buy. It is that simple.”
As a cook, he always wanted to choose his ingredients personally. His mother or any other female relatives often proposed to do the shopping for him but he turned them down every time. His explanation was valid: items on a list could be bought by anyone but quality could only be judged by the cook himself.
One time, he saw a beautiful vendor standing in front of a vegetable stall. More than anything else, he began to inspect the goods. Attracting the girl was only secondary to him.
When he started to have a small chat with her, an old lady arrived at the scene. Her comments were biting.
“If you will marry, pick someone who is straight,” she alluded the importance of choosing a macho man. .
“That’s correct,” he agreed, interpreting the word straight as upright and responsible.
“Really?” the mother raised her eyebrows, surprised of his approval.
“Ma, I know that,” whispered the girl, trying to downplay her meddling. She added, “By the way, he is …”
“Can’t you understand, I mean straight!” she cut off her daughter’s introduction with a nagging tone. “Don’t waste your time with questionable people.”
With her quick glance at his basket, he finally deciphered what irked her.
“I think your mother is mistaken,” he tried to defend his manliness.
The old lady was not impressed. She eyed him from head to foot twice. Then, she immediately shook her head once to confirm her suspicion.
“I am a mother so I believe I know what I am talking about.”
So as not to prolong the argument, he paid the items he chose without further ado.
However, before taking a step away from the stall, he decided to clear the air.
“If ever I become your son-in-law, I will show you what a real man looks like.”