Luke admires his silvery 5-o-clock shadow, which makes the dark streak in his silver-white hair look indigo. If he was just a decade or two younger, he would do a somersault. Perhaps add a few more decades. He’s never really been limber, even when at 21. Last year when he buried his dear mother and a week later, celebrated his 70th birthday, he felt like a butterfly that finally shed its cocoon. Farewell, Lucia. Welcome, Luke.
Now that he’s completed his hormone treatment to realize his true self as Luke, he’s ready to hit the club tonight and try out his new look. The blue jeans encasing his long legs and button down plaid shirt hugging his wiry torso give him the appearance of an aging Marlboro man, with a punk look since he spiked his newly cropped hair with styling gel.
Luke strides over to the bar and catches the glance of a woman playing with her pearl strands. Luke winks at her and smiles. She reciprocates. Encouraged, Luke joins her.
“Buy you a drink?” Luke signals the bartender to give the woman another of what she’s having.
The woman’s eyelids appear weighted down with layers of false lashes. Her red-painted lips separate into a smile, revealing ivory-colored veneers. “Hey, cowboy, tell me what else you can give me.”
“I’m thinking more along the lines of a back rub?” She clutches her purse, ready to leave.
“I live right around the corner.” She takes his hand and they both walk a block.
Once inside, she pounces on him and starts to take off his shirt. By this time, Luke realizes how quickly he’d gotten into a situation he didn’t expect so soon. His end game was to flirt and do some heavy petting with clothes on, but this woman is turning out to be hornier than a toad, and he doesn’t have all the equipment quite yet to give her a full ride. He gently pulls away from her and says, “Whoa, why don’t we sit down for a bit? I didn’t even catch your name . . .”
Breathing hard, the woman stays standing and looks disappointed. “I guess I mistook your cues. Every man I meet at that bar has only one thing in mind and that’s why I go there. I’m sorry but I’m not into name sharing. What we have here is a failure to copulate. Nothing at all just isn’t that cool, handsome.”
[With thanks to Paul Newman’s 1960s prison classic, “Cool Hand Luke”]