There’s a store that had a profound and important role to play in my life. It’s one nobody has heard of. Run by an elderly lady way past retirement on a high street, I was sure she was doing it just to keep busy.
It sold all sorts of clothes and bric-a-brac.
Neil likes his women tall, slim and blonde. But when he meets Femi, a small, curvy Nigerian woman, his world is turned upside down.
This was where I bought my first tight clothes.
I was 14 and puberty was a nightmare. Bullying, medical problems, issues with parents, the works. I found comfort in tight clothing. Specifically, leotards and exercise tights.
When I was walking past the shop, I saw a set of plain leotards and tights on display in the window. These weren’t fashionable things, they were simple, black and cheap. Nervously I went in.
I was sweating buckets as I asked if she had some “for my girlfriend”. Would she laugh at me? Chase me out? Spread rumours around the small, tight knit community where I lived? She smiled and said yes, and that was it. In and out in about 5 minutes.
About every six or seven weeks I’d have saved enough from my Saturday job to nip in and buy something else “for my girlfriend”. I guess I made 5 or 6 visits in total. A couple of times she suggested things my “girlfriend” might like.
She introduced me to a soft, shiny green catsuit and we know where I went from there!
That shop kept me sane for half a year while I got through the worst of growing up. It closed eventually after the lady died and I still have fond memories bubble up every now and then about her.
Looking back, she was a small but important part of my sexuality. I knew she knew full well there was no “girlfriend”. I think she knew I was struggling to understand who I was. She never questioned or judged, just asked me what I’d like this time.
So not a “big brand” store, or one anybody had heard of. Just an elderly lady running a shop for a hobby in a time when that was possible, helping a young man make sense of his place in the world.