This afternoon, I grumpily drove to the Laundromat. I was looking forward to two hours with my ipod and a good book. Although I looked like Miss Celie’s prettier cousin, an older man hit on me. And not just ANY man. It was the man who had pushed his dirty clothes into the laundromat in an old, red Sav-a-lot cart.
Really? A grocery store cart? I was impressed with the ingenuity of hood folks, but equally ready to escape back into a world where everybody, myself included, has a washer and dryer. Naturally, the man started to talk to me.
“Do you have a husband? A boyfriend?”
I considered lying.
“No, I don’t,” I answered, honestly.
“With that body?!” he yelled.
I was in the unfortunate position of bending over to pull out my granny panties, giving this man an opportunity to see my measurements. I was desperate to be in a burqa, in any country where strange men don’t talk to women they don’t know–either that, or have one of Drake’s bodyguards.
I awkwardly tried to place my clothes in a dryer without him seeing my underwear or my butt. I don’t think it worked.
“I like your teeth!” he said emphatically, opening up his own mouth and tapping his teeth.
“My dad paid a lot for them,” I responded.
“You’re big!” he yelled.
I knew it was loud in the laundromat, but did he have to yell that?!?! And just this morning, I could have SWORN that I had lost weight.
“How tall are you?” he asked.
I realized, then, that he meant I was tall, with a bit of relief.
“5’8,” I said.
I leaned into the conversation. I actually love talking to strangers–I had a strange desire to be the next Barbara Walters as a child, and perfected an interview technique.
The man told me everything. He showed me his Toyota–“I’m a clandestine taxi driver!” he announced, proudly. He also showed me his truck for selling scrap metal. He had an SSI check. He was a delivery man for a Chinese food store. He lived in an apartment across the street from the Laundromat, a place I always associated with the drug addicted woman who once asked me for cash a few months back.
He was bragging about his apartment, his two cars, and his sons, who all sounded ridiculously successful–a lawyer, a business owner, etc. (They were also all married.) And that’s what I didn’t understand–that this man was sitting in front of me, throwing his hat in the ring for my hand. He told me about his divorce. He told me he wanted to date, that he was lonely. He told me that he was a Christian, that he used to sell and use drugs 20 years ago, but God delivered him.
I love Jesus, so I felt so much better once we started talking about Him.
“I can see light in you,” he told me. “Are you a Christian?”
He beamed when I told him I was.
“Can you see demons?”
I sighed. “No.”
I will never understand the diversity of the men who approach me. Black, White, Puerto Rican; atheists, Buddhists, and lapsed Christians try for me. In my romantic history, business owners with stock options in late model BMWs and Mercedes sit right next to men who are collecting money from the government and rolling around in 1993 Toyotas. This means that I’m both flattered and perpetually confused. What am I doing to get all of this attention? My hair was a mess. I had on no makeup. But still, I was on the receiving end of this man”s attention.
At the end of our conversation, the man told me he hoped he’d see me at the Laundromat again sometime soon. I never had the opportunity to ask him why, if he lived across the street, he needed that Sav-A-Lot shopping cart.