Dec 182013
man's shirt collar

“Tuxedo shirt collar” © 2011, by Robert Sheie
Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

He comes by my office on Wednesdays.

He’s fit, clean-shaven, with olive skin and dark eyes. I’m terrible at guessing ages, but he looks to be in his mid-twenties. I don’t know his name. He told me once — it was a common name — but I forgot and have since made little effort to remember.

He always wears white button-down shirts. They aren’t expensive or great quality, but they’re always crisp — sometimes I spot a machine-pressed wrinkle on his collar. The fabric is thin enough that when the sunlight streams in through the window at my back, sometimes I think I see an inky shadow curling around his bicep just beneath the cotton.

When his tie is slightly askew and his hair is mussed, I’m sure I can imagine what he’d look like disheveled.

He asks if I am busy and the answer is always “yes.” We exchange pleasantries, but never more than that. I’m not sure what he does or who he works for, but he has an easy smile, he’s nice to look at, and he never overstays his welcome.

“How is it that you’re always busy?”

“It’s the nature of the work. If I’m ever really, really busy, I’ll close the door.”

“Oh. I thought you weren’t here. So, if your door is closed, should I knock?”


I grant him the slightest smile, but don’t break eye contact. I want some small reaction, and he doesn’t disappoint.

There’s an awkward silence as he decides whether to continue or to wish me ‘good day’ and walk away. He looks flustered, and in that moment, I’m quite sure I know what he’d look like if I stood up from my desk, made up the distance between us, and pulled him into my office by the tie knotted around his throat. I’m sure I would enjoy the wide-eyed expression on his face if I shut the door behind him and quietly demand that he remove his tie. I’ve already imagined what he looks like underneath his cheap white Oxford shirt.

His continued silence snaps me from my daydream and I realize I’m smiling like a Cheshire cat. I’m not good at hiding my thoughts — everything that happens in my head plays across my face, and if he’s at all intuitive, he’s just caught a glimpse of himself as I’ve imagined him.

He moves as if to enter the room and I stop him there.

“Why would you?”

“…. hmmm?”

“Why would you knock? You never offer me anything.”

He hesitates. I smile as sweetly as I’m able before I let the emotion drain from my face. The tension is already gone and I’m eager to get back to work.

He pauses for a moment in the doorway, turns, and walks away.


  2 Responses to “button-down shirt”

  1. aren’t You the tease ;~)

  2. “I’m sure I would enjoy the wide-eyed expression on his face if I shut the door behind him and quietly demand that he remove his tie.”

    This makes me laugh a little. Putting myself in his place, I could just imagine what my bug eyed, slack jawed expression would look like if I were in such a situation. Of course in my job, I don’t wear a tie, so…

 Leave a Reply