Trader Ho's

I do most of my grocery shopping at Trader Joe's. No, it's not because I'm a crunchy, granola kind of guy, it's because there really aren't any major supermarkets in my neighborhood. The Telegraph Hill Dwellers tend to keep out any sort of major chain. This produces a mixed bag of results...on one hand, North Beach is one of the most charming, old-San Francisco neighborhoods you'll ever see. On the other hand, if you don't have a car, it's a royal pain in the ass to get groceries, with liquor stores being your major source of milk, cheese, slimy lunch meat, and butter. Not to mention 40-oz bottles of the finest malt liquor money can buy.

At least there is a amazing butcher shop and an Italian/French bakery within walking distance.

But sometimes I need something more than a stick of butter and bottle of St. Ives. This is when I trudge the 10 blocks down to the Fisherman's Wharf Trader Joes, which opened less than two years ago. There is quite an eclectic mix of folks milling about in there, both patrons and employees. You have your North Beach wierdos, you know, the ones who have lived in the neighborhood for decades and whose families stopped checking up on them years ago, allowing them to morph into quirky, yet interesting individuals. You have the Marina ladies in there as well...the Barbies of the Bay, bouncing around in there, chatting on their cellphones, and thrusting their titties toward any man they think might pay attention to them.

I get a lot of titties thrust in my face. People, especially women, generally assume I'm straight when they see me walking down the street or rummaging through freezers looking for packages of Organic Vegetable Medley. Thing is, I'm usually furtively glancing at their boyfriends' butts. I admit it. I'm a big 'ol butt-looker.

That's "looker" and not "licker" so just hose your mind out. This is a family blog, goddammit.

Then you have the Marina Guys who shop in there as well. You see, the Marina is a predominantly straight neighborhood filled with young, fit, pretty, professional, enthusiastic young people. And when they're not shopping at the Marina Safeway (the cruisiest goddamn supermarket I've ever been in...more so than the Castro one) they're buying frozen burritos and organic frozen pizzas at TJ's.

Now here is where it gets interesting. Those Marina boys are the biggest bunch of Cruisy Suzies I've ever seen in my life. Thing is, they aren't cruising women. They're mostly with their girlfriends. They're cruising EACH OTHER.

It's hysterical.

So I'm in there last night, basket in hand (shopping basket...stop it), just about ready to check out of there. I was trying to decide what kind of cheese I wanted (eventually decided on sharp cheddar), when I saw this hot guy wearing sweatpants, a sleeveless T-shirt, and a sweatshirt tossed casually over his shoulder (but I'll bet he spent at least 5 minutes in the parking garage getting it to drape just right). He was the Gayest Looking Guy I have ever seen outside the Castro. He was strolling down the aisles as if they were some sort of runway and he was the diva. He was getting a lot of looks, actually. You could HEAR the boobies being thrust towards him (I think that's some sort of straight mating ritual). However, the strongest looks were coming from the other guys in there. Let's just say there was a lot of discreetly-implied buttsniffing going on in TJ's. I was standing there, amused at the scene playing out in front of me, when we locked eyes. I wasn't going to look away first...I am the Alpha Male of Trader Joe's, goddammit. Finally, after about 7 agonizingly-long seconds, he looked at the floor.

Heh. Bottom. I own you, boy.

I grinned to myself, made my final cheese selection, and made my way to the checkout. The pierced, tattooed, and multicolor haired girl who rang me up had the sweetest, cutest smile I've seen on anyone in a long time. I brought my canvas TJ bag with me to carry home my groceries, but it was buried underneath everything in the basket.

"Hey," I said, "my canvas bag is in there. It's a little dirty."

"That's okay," she replied with a grin, "they're cooler when they're dirty."

"The only reason why I bought it was to look cool. Screw the planet," I said, deadpan.

"They are the only way to look cool," she said, equally deadpan.

"I have to try so hard to be cool, I really do. Goddamn self-esteem!" I sobbed.

"Well, these frozen halibut filets will do the trick," she giggled, rolling her eyes.

"Halibut filets are the new black."

She snorted. "They'll make people want to be you."

She finished ringing me up, and bagged up my food in my trusty canvas tote. At that moment, Really Gay-Looking Guy walked by, runway-style. We both looked at him, his supple, muscular butt, then back at each other.

Then we both giggled.


About a dozen people have inquired about the owner of the khaki-clad booty a few pictures above. Said booty belongs to a porn star nicknamed "Stretch" and I photographed said booty last summer at a Pride party in the Castro as he did drunken yoga on the sidewalk in the middle of 20th Street.

So there you go.

Mom, I'm sorry you're subjected to all of this. I'm glad we had that discussion earlier about the word "motherf**ker" and why I use it so much. It's all Noble School's fault.

© 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 by Chad Fox. All rights reserved.