It was a sunny day. A glorious autumn afternoon in a line of glorious long weekend afternoons. A wonderful day to do laundry and dry it the eco friendly way.
I could hear the sound of cheerful chattering float in to the house from the backyard, as I transferred my damp clothes from the washing machine and into a white laundry basket.
I wander out into the backyard and marvel at the sunshine that immediatly warms my face. My housemate sam is sitting at the outdoor table with two friends. Beer bottles stand glinting in the shifting sunlight. A carton of beer sits on the grass torn open.
”I like cold beer,” Sam was saying. ”But not enough to be bothered walking to the fridge every time I need a new drink.”
The older man and a young women made agreeing sounds and drank from thier beer bottles. I recognized the older man and felt my stomache do an uncomfortable tumble. I placed the basket at my feet and picked up an item to hang on the hills hoist; my favourite red flannel shirt.
”Love the flanny.” The older guy commented loudly, ”That is hot.”
‘You going to do a running comentary of all my wardrobe items?” I said.
”Yes.” He said. ”I saw you walking down Johnston street the other day, babe.” He leaned over to the torn open carton of beer and placed the unopened bootle in front of him as he spoke. ”You were walking the shit out of those legs.”
”I do like to walk.” I busied myself hanging up my a pair of jeans and a green hoodie. I could see my underwear and bra at the bottom of the basket and considered not hanging them up in the yard. As if reading my mind the man spoke. ”Any underwear and bras to be hung out?”
”Yes.” I said. He cheers. ”Over the shoulder bolder holders, titty traps.” He says happily.
I turn whilst still holding my bra to the wire of the hills hoist. ” Those are terrible names really unattractive.” I comment before returning to my task. I peg my pairs of socks up in pairs so as to limit chance of odd sock syndrome. All the while this is going on Sam and the female friend are not saying anything. It could be because they think this is all cheery good humored banter, I do not feel that is what it is. I am annoyed and disgusted. Am I supposed to be flattered by this attention? Should I feel special?
It can no longer be avoided. If I go inside with damp clothes still in the basket I will seem snotty and as if this creep has got the better of me. This is my goddamn backyard. I pay rent I should be able to hang my clothes out without a bleeding leery bastard salivating over my delicates. I knew what was coming it was not unusual or unique. My underwear is small because I am small. I usually source my underwear from those cheap asian stores in Footscray or from the kids section in Target. Recently I got six pairs from a stall at the Footscray market for 20$ TOTAL BARGAIN. It was these particular pairs that I had to hang up now in front of drunks. How was the girl sitting with this guy feeling about all this? She seemed fine as she was laughing along with him as he objectified me openly and without guile. Was she just relieved it was not she who was the focus of the lecherous gaze at this point in time?
”That underwear is hot.” He said. ”I would happily remove those from off of you.”
I am finally finished there is nothing left to hang out to dry. I pick up the empty basket and stride back inside. ”My boyfriend feels the same way.” I throw over my shoulder.
”He is a lucky man.”