I exchanged pleasantries with a boy who could pass for a late adolescent the other night. He’d been sitting on a bench near a sidewalk I turned onto, and when he stood up to nervously approach me I thought he was going to ask for money. I would have given him as much as one dollar - reward money for his spectacularly sweet disposition.
He pulled out his phone, held up a picture of a young woman, and asked if I thought his girlfriend was beautiful.
I’d rather have been asked for that dollar. She is beautiful, but what sidewalk stranger is going to come back with “not really” to such a question?
He and the 24-year-old girlfriend are two of the new kids in town. They moved to New York to build her street cred as an actress. She has been turned down from the fourth Broadway show she’s auditioned for, thinks it might be due to her recent weight gain, and fears she has no future. (Sometimes I feel so honored to no longer be 24, or any age before rolling with the rejections became second nature.)
The boyfriend is distraught about the girlfriend being distraught. He followed me home and told me everything. I was fine with it until the photos he insisted on sharing went from tasteful to scantily clad. I tried getting rid of him by tiring him out, walking faster than usual, taking him up and down stairs and hills. He barely lost his breath.
All in all, we had a constructive session. He thoughtfully listened to my advice on how to remain a source of emotional encouragement. He also ate up my "This Is a World That Hates Women" sermon, which I delivered from the top of a hill we climbed.
They’re considering therapy. So am I, after some of the pictures I saw.