Real Life in the Shower at the Y

from by Thadra Sheridan

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In real life, this
sixteen year old boy
snuck into the women’s shower
at the Y.
I, naked, covered in soap suds,
he, in 3/4 length
dark green winter coat, walked
right up to me, stood
two feet away, said,
Hi, how’s it going?

You can say,
and someone did,
heh kid,
implying they’d like to see me
naked too,
disregarding this fucking kid
assaulted me
in a place I pay
$39 a month to stand
naked and soapy,
confident and unmolested,, until the day
when he
walked through
frosted glass door with
prominently displayed in
block black capital letters;
leered me up and down,
pricing meat
at a butcher shop,
smiled smugly, like he was
incredibly clever and proud
of his invasiveness,
and spoke to me, like
I was wearing clothes, and
we were at a social mixer.
To him I’m not
a woman;
a fellow human being.
To him I’m a
naked woman,
which makes me a
romanticized object to be
ogled and
tell your friends later.

By now I probably
arched my back,
slicked long wet honey blond hair with both hands,
displaying perfect size D lathered breasts.
By now I smiled,
slipped off his backpack,
caressed his sporadic
peach fuzzy adolescent cheek,
and whispered,
Take me,
right here,
right now!
By now I look like a super model, which
angers me more
than my
shattered privacy.

I’m not the cover of some
fashion magazine,
expertly lit, airbrushed, and painted for your
masturbating pleasure.
I’m a real live girl
with scars and stretch marks,
washing off after a mile swim,
cooling down, cleaning
chlorine out of my hair,
so it doesn’t wreck the color,
planning the rest of my day.

Real women don’t
like to talk to
strange teenage boys
in the shower.
Real people think about
that sort of thing
for a real long time.
Real people bleed
when you cut them.
Real women anxiously watch
white tiled entryways
long after little boys
confront them.
They wash up quick,
keeping an eye out for a green coat sleeve
poking out from behind every wall.
In real life that sort of thing
changes a woman,
whether she admits it or not.

I don’t think he
realized that;
didn’t see me
in three dimensions.
He's not the only modern adolescent who
lacks such depth perception.

I pointed him out to the desk clerk
the very next day, as he
sauntered through the weight room,
like he was a
law abiding health nut with
every right to wear a
white t-shirt and
grey sweat pants after he’d
violated me the day before and
two other women
the day before that.
I don’t want to
know that kid at 25 without
teenage consequences.
I pressed charges.
I guess in real life,
when he gets out of jail,
he can tell all his friends
he talked to a
real live naked woman.


from Poems My Rat Didn't Eat, released June 23, 2014



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Thadra Sheridan Minneapolis, Minnesota

Writer, Performer, Humorist, Teacher Thadra Sheridan has performed her works on stages from HBO's Def Poetry Jam to San Quentin Penitentiary. She writes a regular column on, and tries very hard to avoid waiting tables. Her recent film, "Waiting" recently went viral when it was picked up by Upworthy. ... more

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