There are moments when I feel less than aesthetically pleasing, but the moment in which this is most pronounced is when I depart the gym– sweaty, sticky, and quite literally a hot mess. I make a mad dash down the block to my apartment, avoiding eye contact with the few individuals who grace the New York sidewalk at 6:45 in the morning. And 99% of the time I am successful in this dash.
Just not in this specific instance. On a Friday in mid-August the sanitation department was out and about doing what they do best, disposing of trash. And while they often begin their shifts early in the morning, as to avoid rush hour traffic, they usually pay me– the literal hot mess– no attention.
But on this particular morning an unfortunate amount of attention was paid in my direction. And I– not yet caffeinated– actually responded. Yes, while making the turn onto my block, Cher Lloyd on full blast, a sanitation engineer began screaming, “You are the most beautiful woman in the entire world!”
Now me, being in my least aesthetically acceptable form, could hardly believe he was referring to me so I kept walking– wondering where this beauty he spoke so highly of was. But then the engineer tapped me on the shoulder and repeated the same sentence. And I, for perhaps the second time in my life, was rendered speechless.
Apparently he interpreted my silence as his cue to continue this pseudo-conversation. “So, chica, you married? You single? Is it complicated?” And I, for some illogical reason decided to perpetuate this absurdity and said, “I’m not married.” At which point I continued walking, and the engineer followed.
“Chica, you Puerto Rican?” I shook my head and continued towards my front door. “Hey, it makes no difference. I could make you very happy. I’m good husband material. And you are so beautiful… so marry me, yes?”
And after one swig of my Brita-filtered water bottle, I said, “Sadly I have to decline.” But the engineer vowed to not give up so easily. “I’m on your block each Friday at this time if you change your mind. Which I know with time you will do.”
The goods news, of course, is that I was proposed to by a man enamored with my post-gym “beauty”. The bads new is that said man is a sanitation engineer who makes a living throwing crap in a truck.