Republic of Georgia, Village Life

Solicitors Allowed

I witnessed an amusing event in the teachers’ lounge yesterday. It was somewhere in the long afternoon stretch when my eyes drift into space regardless of what I am doing. The door opened and a woman bustled in with a big bag—not a teacher —and started pulling articles of clothing out and laying them on a table. An impromptu sale! This was the second time I had seen someone come into the teachers’ lounge to sell clothing. The first time was nice slacks and wool skirts—very teacherish—but I was on the way to a lesson and did not get to stay for the fun. This time I was front and center.

First off, this was a very female event. I would have been interested to see reactions if one of the male teachers happened to walk in. My school only has a few and they do not often brave the teachers’ lounge, dominated as it is by many loud, powerful specimens of the female kind. Surely a somewhat uncomfortable place for a Georgian man. Probably one of the few where they do not have automatic precedence.

The wares, now displayed on the table, consisted of a number of sweaters and long-sleeved stretchy tops in black, red, and stripes. Some women’s underwear and footed leggings rounded out the collection. At the time, there were a number of teachers in the room, all sizes and ages. Two of the larger ladies were carefully examining the panties, holding them up and testing out the stretch capabilities with the unspoken question of whether they would be capable of girding their queen-sized loins. Sweaters were passed around and held up to chests and waists. Another teacher stretched the leggings over her back and was pulling at both ends. An interest in socks was expressed. Soon socks were appearing out of a bag onto the table. A teacher quickly cornered the market and stacked them in front of her. An easy sell apparently.

Without any hesitation, another teacher stripped of her top and started trying on sweaters. Once a sweater was on, the other teachers provided feedback on its fit and color, whether it looked good on her, etc. Of course I understood only a bit of the actual conversation. But I think dressing room conversations are pretty much universal among women. One was discarded because it was too big. One she did not like the color. She lingered on a gray long-sleeved sweater and the sales lady stepped up the compliments. The teacher hesitated, but with the support (or coercion) of her fellow teachers she took it off and indicated she would keep it.

Panties were still being passed around. There was some indicating of crotch to waist dimensions which I found amusing. A teacher tried to interest me in some. Very good, she said. No, no, I said. I don’t need any. Although I thought it would be funny to buy something this way.

A long-sleeved black and gray striped sweater was being discussed as suitable for the young secretary. When she came in, it was insistently dangled in front of her. She was initially dismissive, but she went away to try it on (apparently not interested in stripping in the teachers’ lounge) she came back with a surprised, but pleased look on her face. Another sale.

Sales seemed to taper off. Sweaters were being folded and put back in their bags. A few lonely pairs of rejected red panties were put away. All the other colors had been sold. Devil’s panties apparently. A few new teachers came in and in a twinkle the merchandise was back out on the table, a gleam in the sales lady’s eye. A teacher picked up a beautiful teal sweater-and-shell combo and surprised me by buying it. Her normal clothing palate is brown, brown, and brown.

No money had been exchanged and I was starting to wonder how this aspect was handled. My question was answered when the sales lady pulled out her cell phone (all Georgians have a cell phone) and started making notes in it: Nestani, 20 lari; Maya, 35 lari, etc. Some money changed hands, but others seemed to be buying on credit. I supposed in a village this size, you can’t really hide from your creditors. Although I have been told that Korbouli is largest village in the area, emphasis on largest. A booming metropolis of over 200 families! So maybe you could hide for a little while.

I have to admit, although the selection was small, it sounds sort of nice to have the clothes come to you instead of you having to go to the clothes!

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