I knit, right? We’ve established this. And I know, I’d like to pretend that everywhere in the States this is standard, that we have arrived as a nation to a place where knitters can be knitters. But let’s be real, you see a dude flailing his needles and trailing a wad of string, and most anyone still has to suppress that urge to think him queer. James Franco, can you just let some paparazzi snap you with your half-finished hand warmers? It would do a lot for the XYers with a proclivity towards small time productivity. And also for those of us who like hats.
Still, I feel fairly certain I could wander into any ol’ coffee shop in the States, whip out the needles and go to town, and no one would give me the stink eye or start whispering to their friend.
Even in Yerevan I can walk into the yarn store, Tel, without so much as a sideways glance. Rather, the staff tend to ignore me. Better yet, sometimes they help me find what I’m looking for and then over-enthusiastically cheer for my choices. The manager of the place greets me like an old friend every time I go in for a skein.
Yesterday, however, I was in Stepanavan with a knitter’s quandary. You may remember that it get’s cold in Armenia, especially without central heating (re: I can see my breath when I wake up in the morning). So, believe it or not, leg warmers make sense. And, like Veruca Salt, I want them now. Problem: I didn’t have the right needles. Since I’m not going into Yerevan soon, yesterday I grit my teeth and walked right into the only store in town with needles.
First, the girl on the floor recognized me. She hid her smirk VERY poorly, I’d say. I asked patiently for needles. A boy standing with his girlfriend watched me, shocked, and then without breaking his line of site to my guesturing hands, shout-whispered to his girl, “Does this boy knit?” She actually laughed.
Then, the shop girl led me to where they keep the needles. And of course, THAT’S where they keep them: with the panties.
Shop girl couldn’t find them and eventually I had to point to the one pair that sat on top of what I think were millions of panties. I then endured another girl giggling at me all the way through check out.
You’d think I was about to walk around this town in drag.