Category Archives: strangers in New York

Pregnant Women: Everyone’s Property

First, a disclaimer: I’ve never been pregnant.

Ergo, I don’t know what it’s like to have another gym member grasp my belly and murmur prayers or whatever to the fetus inside. But that’s something I witnessed when I walked into Bodypump class this week. This poor pregnant lady was standing there, just wanting to get her workout on, while another woman smiled and stroked her tummy.

Which begs the question: What makes it okay for strangers to randomly touch pregnant women? Like, if someone came up to me and rubbed my tummy, I would cry bad touch. And I would imagine a parent would do the same if someone did that to his or her child. Why is it okay when it’s a combo of the two?

Maybe I’m wrong, and pregnant women really like having their bellies caressed by distant acquaintances, so if you’ve been pregnant and enjoy that, feel free to let me know.

Really Bad Service and Eternal Damnation

On Father’s Day, we took my dad to a horrific speakeasy in Soho. To clarify, the food was fine, but the service was so horrifying that we didn’t tip—something I don’t think any of us has ever done. I mean, when the service is bad, I tip 15% and call it harsh.


We were escorted downstairs, where the hostess told us to walk “that way.” We walked through a sweltering hot kitchen where the chefs were shaving meat from stakes. As a vegetarian, I did not appreciate that, but to each her own. On the other side of the kitchen, we waited to be acknowledged, which took some time. Eventually, a hostess came over and told us to “wait here.” We stayed where we were, and she huffily commanded, “Sit down!”


Finally, another hostess came over and took us to a table for two crammed against a wall.

“Is this also ours?” my father asked, pointing to the table for two next to us, which was less than an inch away from ours. There were four of us.

“No,” said the hostess.

Immediately, our waitress came over and told us they had sparkling, still, or tap water. “Can I start you with sparkling or still?” she asked rhetorically. We asked for tap. Then she began rattling off appetizers at lightening speed. “Can we have a minute?” we asked. She said yes, and gave us an extra 19 minutes for free.


Twenty minutes later, the waitress returned to take our orders.


The waitress delivered our drinks and appetizers. Interestingly, the guacamole we had ordered seemed to be of the deconstructed variety: some chopped tomatoes accompanied by slices of avocado. Later, we were charged separately for these items.

Approximately one minute later, a server came to deliver our entrees. Remember, we were four people sitting at a two-person table. “Are you finished?” the server asked my mom.

“No,” she said. She took a bite, and as her fork was raised, the server took the plate out from underneath her.

“Are you finished?” he asked my brother and dad.

“No,” they said.

The server sighed. “I don’t have anywhere to put these.”

While shoving plates around, he held a wet cutting board over me and dripped water in my lap.

“Excuse me,” I said.

He looked over. “It’s just water,” he said.

Well, I did prefer that to hot lard, but even better would be if he could drip nothing on my lap.

After the server slammed down the rest of the items, he walked away in a huff.


…was something we did not order. However, the waitress presumptuously brought over four plates and forks and set them on the table.

After she brought over the check, she stood over us and watched us pay. We paid exact change in cash, because no way were these people getting a tip. As we stood up, the waitress reached across us and scooped up the money, before we had even walked away from the table.

Other Notes

°This restaurant has a bouncer.

°Every employee who passed our table gave us side eye, like we were going to steal something.

°My plate had crap on it, but since that has happened at other restaurants, I decided it wasn’t crucial to the story.

°We went to a lovely whiskey bar and sat outside after this. A homeless man came over and asked us for money. When we said no, he threatened us with eternal damnation for approximately five minutes, until the bartender chased him away.

Strangers dry-humping on the subway

It was a crowded train. Like, the kind of crowded where I almost considered waiting for the next one, but also really wanted to go home. So I braved it, and found myself crammed next to a young couple.

I didn’t know it was a couple at first, but that became obvious imminently, when the guy maneuvered his arms around the girl prom-style as she grasped the pole—a tremendous fete, I assure you, considering how packed the train was.

At the next stop, someone got up from a seat, and the guy made a beeline for it to hold down the fort for his lady friend. She sat down, and he stood above her as they continued to hold hands. They also continued to hold hands as he shouted into his phone. Somehow, he gets service underground, and I never do. Also, I don’t dry-hump my boyfriend on the subway. Two ways in which we differ.

She briefly let go of his hand to run her fingers over a minor scrape on his wrist. Then she brought it to her lips. Understandable—he had clearly suffered greatly.

He pulled her up and sat down in her seat, but lest you think chivalry is dead, he pulled her down on top of him. She sat in his lap for the next three stops.

By the way, it’s not like they were fifteen. They were in their early twenties at least. Maybe it’s understandable that they needed the closeness after spending their days apart at their respective offices. That’s like eight hours.

Beauty and the Beast - strangsonthesubway

A trip to the movie theater and a reminder about misogyny

Last week, two friends and I went to the movies to see Beauty and the Beast, a charming childhood tale of bestiality and Stockholm Syndrome. (I still love you, Belle!) The cartoon version is the first movie I remember seeing in a theater, so it holds a special place in my heart. Also, in spite of the message it sends about how if you are kidnapped it’s actually pretty cool to fall in love with your captor, because then you will become a princess, and also how if your captor is a dangerous animal he is probably really a handsome prince with daddy issues, and also how Stranger Danger isn’t really a thing and you should invite crazy old women into your house the way I did when I was 11 (hey, just like the Beast!), and it happened to be a Jehovah’s Witness who tried to convert me, and when my parents came home my mom was like, “Why do you have this brochure about Jesus? What exactly did you do while we were gone?” (starting to realize this movie is actually very problematic)…it’s actually a pretty awesome movie. Just ask my brother, who had to listen to me play the theme in a loop two weeks ago.

We met the very charming ticket taker, who gave us each once overs, because he was all about inclusion.

“Wow,” he said, like he’d never seen anything with two X chromosomes before. “I’d take any one of you.” Lucky us!

He also hinted at a potential foursome, which was super tempting, but one of my friends is married, and also we had a movie to see. If only we hadn’t each shelled out $20 for the tickets. While we’re on the topic, when did movies get so expensive?

Unfortunately, by the time we left the theater Prince Charming was gone, so we weren’t able to take him up on his generous offer.

Trump adds anti-semite to his merry band of bigots

I was trying not to be fatalistic. Okay, I wasn’t trying super hard. But by Friday I had calmed down a touch and was trying to channel my fear and grief into productivity. I watched Hillary Clinton accept what happened and encourage us to do the same. I watched Barack Obama remind us to stay strong and give our new president-elect a chance. As usual, his words hugged me like a warm sweater, and I, too, was almost ready to give him a chance. (I recognize that the fact that I am unable to type his name here detracts from my claim of full acceptance a touch.) With newfound hope (okay, not exactly hope, more like resignation) I posted this heartwarming message on Facebook:

After watching Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama handle themselves with the grace and dignity we’ve come to expect from them, I’m feeling at least a modicum of the hope that led me to support them in the first place. Neither of them will be our president come January 20, but we can still count on them to lead us by example. And for that I’m grateful.

Then I set up recurring donations to Planned Parenthood and the ACLU.

So I was pretty proud of how maturely I was handling all this. So my candidate didn’t win. So we’d have, at the very best, a loose canon with no political experience in office for the next four years. Four years will fly by! Actually, no, it won’t, because that takes me to 32.

Then Trump decided to drive a giant tractor through my newfound peace.

This week, charming anti-semite/wife-beater Stephen Bannon entered our lives. Doesn’t he sound mild, like yogurt? His name rhymes with Dannon; that’s why I thought of that. He will be Trump’s chief strategist and senior adviser, while Reince “This is my name and I’m sticking to it” Priebus will be his chief of staff. I’m going to set aside my dislike of Priebus and his name for a second, because compared to Lord Bannon, he is like a precious downy baby duckling.

During his reign at Breitbart, which is basically a website full of Trump adoration porn (check it out–you’ll see what I mean), the “news” site spewed some truly memorable quotes:

“Bill Kristol: Republican Spoiler, Renegade Jew”

“Political Correctness Protects Muslim Rape Culture”

“Birth Control Makes Women Unattractive and Crazy”

There are some that are far more hateful, but I just can’t retype them.

There is also a picture of Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger doctored with a Hitler mustache. Wow, those guys at Breitbart really know their way around Photoshop.

So yeah. He seems like a stand-up fellow. By the way, Bannon is a father. He has daughters.

Additionally, Bannon’s ex-wife accused him of physical abuse, including grabbing her by the neck and pulling her into a car. I say “accused” because the case was dismissed, but I’m ready to take sides in this one.

I can’t wait to see whom Trump selects next for his really stellar administration. I’m seeing David Duke as Secretary of State. Just as long as he stores his email properly. Apparently that’s the number one priority in that position.

Let’s blame the liberal bubble

Yesterday, I stood in line at my polling place filling out my ballot. I didn’t wait for a private booth. I didn’t care who saw it. I live in Brooklyn. As I walked to work, I actually thought that maybe someday I would have a daughter, and I would tell her how I voted for the first female president.

Today, there was silence on the subway. One woman grasped a poll, a single tear running down her cheek. My office was half-empty, shrouded in an eery stillness.

I keep saying, “I can’t believe it.” And people keep telling me, “We live in a bubble. That’s why this happened.”

I don’t accept that. No, I don’t live in racistland. But the people who live there apparently weren’t willing to admit they voted for Trump either. I haven’t lived in New York for my whole life. I’ve lived in some very blue states, true. And now I live in a city that Trump calls home, too.

More than half of this country did not vote for a reality television star with no political experience. Does more than half the country live in a bubble?

I don’t just associate with people who agree with every word I have to say. I respect other opinions. But I’m very, very scared. I can’t respect opinions that value hatred of other cultures, religions, ethnicities, sexual orientation, and so on. I don’t respect people who have been endorsed by the KKK and the NRA. I can’t.

So did Trump win because I was caught up in the bubble? Were the pollsters and forecasters caught up in the bubble, too? Is that why they predicted this wrong for the first time since Truman?

It’s not the bubble’s fault. The bubble did this right.


This is not a drinking game

Since there are already a million drinking games about tonight’s FINAL presidential debate in place, I thought I’d do something a little different based on one of my personal vices: sugar. Lord knows there’s not enough wine to get through these final three weeks as it is, so why not treat yourself to some ice cream? I restrict my dessert intake because I have deep-seated body issues, so I plan on spicing up this debate by treating myself to some mint chocolate chip.*

One spoonful each time:

-Trump lurks behind Hillary like a serial killer (yes, I realize this is not a town hall, but it could still happen. I don’t put anything past that man.)

-The camera pans to Tiffany sitting in an isolated section away from the rest of her family

-Hillary mentions her close friendship with one of the Obamas (two spoonfuls if it’s Malia or Sasha; three spoonfuls if it’s Bo or Sunny)

-Trump uses his share of time to complain that he’s not getting his fair share of time

-Trump interrupts Hillary to complain that he’s not getting enough time

-Hillary mentions Russia or Putin

-Trump forgets which Clinton he’s running against

-Trump finds some more Clinton accusers to sit in Tiffany’s spot

-Trump brings up the emails

-Hillary aggressively takes notes while Trump speaks

-Trump discusses a topic completely unrelated to the question posed

-Hillary recycles “Trumped-up, trickle down economics”

Two spoonfuls whenever:

-Hillary introduces a new catchphrase that she’s been practicing in front of the mirror since the last debate

-You miss Anderson and Martha

-Trump fights with Chris Wallace (three spoonfuls if it’s a physical, rather than verbal, altercation)

-Trump mentions someone besides Sean Hannity to whom he told his secret about not supporting the war in Iraq

Finish the carton whenever:

-A Republican withdraws support from Trump

-You donate to Hillary’s campaign (if you donate to Trump’s campaign, you don’t deserve ice cream. Give it to someone who does.)

-You register a voter in a swing state

-Trump apologizes for sexual assault

-Trump apologizes for anything

-A new assault allegation comes to light

-You find yourself liking Chris as much as Anderson and Martha

-Anyone in the same room as you still pretends to be undecided

-Lester Holt finally remembered what he was going to say from a month ago

*Just kidding. I haven’t had ice cream in like a month. Do you really think I’m sacrificing all this hard-won gym work for Trump?

Keeping it classy on the B63

Buses in New York are a special kind of hell. Unlike trains, they force us to deal with annoyances like traffic and stops that are two blocks apart. But like trains, they provide us with many colorful and exceeding obnoxious characters.

This past weekend, my friend and I rode the bus back from the movies and had the pleasure of sitting in front of a gentleman who leaned halfway out the window for most of the ride calling to various women “Hey girl,” in rapid succession. Of course, these women were flattered and eager to have sex with him.

Next, he turned to the unknowing woman who sat down next to him and asked, “Can I borrow your phone? I wanna call my baby mama.” (For the record, she agreed, but at least had him dictate the number before she handed it to him.)

The lady who procreated with him must be very lucky indeed. I can’t wait for the poor child who shares genes with him to grow up with a father who calls his or her mother his “baby mama” and learns to leer at women on the street, too.

It really helps the train delay when you swear at MTA

I was already having a bad day on Monday. Then there was a flash flood alert, and I, umbrella-less, braved the ten-minute walk to the train station. Quick shoutout to all those people who stared at me like I was a disgusting mess when I entered the station, because apparently the cause of my being drenched was perplexing.

On the way home the train stalled for a very long time. As every New Yorker knows, this is the worst thing that can possibly happen ever.

You know what definitely helped? That guy next to me who “muttered” louder than a yell, “Jesus fucking Christ. Goddamn worst train system EVER.”

It was really important that he said that, because otherwise I would have assumed that he, like the rest of us, was totally excited by the delay. I was really glad to know his feelings. And I’m sure the many children around were happy to learn some new words. The best part? His expression of feelings made the train start again!

(Well, not really, but I’m sure when the train eventually did start moving, it was because of him.)

Strangers making noise at the subway

The other day, I entered the subway station and a man was playing an erhu. No, I didn’t know what it was called before, and I’m not about to confess which search terms I entered to find out because they won’t make me sound very smart, but congratulations, now you know what it’s called, and I know you were wondering. Anyway, an erhu, a thing you now know about because you just Googled it, sounds deeply annoying. I walked a little further and discovered a trumpeter. You all know what a trumpet is, and how annoying it sounds. Can you imagine these two competing musicians occupying just one small station? Get your shit together, guys. Also the train was late, so I had to listen to an erhuist (yup, I made that word up)/trumpeter mashup and it was not okay.