Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Sweet and the Shameless

I’m proud of being a pretty good listener. If I had stuck with my late-adolescent ambition of becoming a child/adolescent psychologist, the couch I would have carefully chosen for my office would be plush, pastel, and the talk of the professional community.

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. 


  1. LOL! I can't imagine looking at pics of scantily clad women and having to give my opinion on them... that's just inappropriate.

  2. I got a good chuckle out of this posting. My first year in New York (fresh from the Midwest) was what I call my "meeting characters" year. It seemed as if almost every day I met someone with whom I had an amusing and/or slightly wacko conversation. The first one turned out to be a pimp, which I didn't realize until later in the day. He was a dignified gentleman in a suit and tie, wearing a standard fedora. I was seated on a bench outside an office building, after a discouraging job interview. He saw a young woman looking tired and "down," and sat down to talk, asking me all about myself. Where was I from? What kind of job was I looking for? And the kicker..."But what will you DO if you don't find a job?" I said, "Well, I'll just go home. My parents would be THRILLED if I returned home." I guess it was very obvious that I was nowhere near the necessary (from his point of view) level of desperation to fall into his clutches. He excused himself immediately and left. As he was leaving me, Jackie Kennedy Onassis walked past me into the building behind me. Just your average first day in New York City.

  3. Luckily, he wasn't a crazy person who followed you home .lol

  4. Wow, you're just like me - I always get people that I don't know telling me their stories that I don't necessarily need to hear. Consider it a gift, obviously there's something about you that makes people gravitate towards you :)

  5. Thanks for taking the time to support a stranger in need. Often those of us who are inappropriately candid have miles of therapeutic journey ahead whether it be on a couch, with loving friends, and on ocassion with compassionate strangers.