Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Story: More Androgynous than Bowie

An acquaintance's story. Note: not her real name.

Late one Saturday night, Alexandra Belknap* and her two best friends flagged down a cab just north of Union Square. They were 19 and going to meet more friends at a Lower East Side bar.

Loud and tipsy, the three girls giggled and gossiped about guys they hoped to run into. They were in a party mood. And they needed music.

“Someone has to ask our cabbie to turn the radio on,” one of Alex's friends said.

“You do it!”

“Alex can do it!”

“Okay, okay, I’ll do it.” Alex peered through the plexiglass divider. She gasped and leaned back in her seat, eyes wide, giggling.

“Oh my God!” She whispered. “He looks like Pat!”

Her friends glanced through the window. It was true. He had the same unflattering short curly hair, big glasses, and nebulous shape made famous by the unattractively androgynous Saturday Night Live character. He even wore the same type of uncomfortably tight button-down shirt.

Alex composed herself.

“Sir?” she said through the window. “Sir, could we please turn on the radio? Sir, to 104.3?”

The driver stared ahead, saying nothing.

“Sir?” Alex said, louder this time. She tried to ignore her friends who were giggling and making faces at her. “Could be please turn the radio on?”

Without turning to face her, the driver angrily shot back, “It’s not sir, it’s ma’am!”

Pat indeed.

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