Home > Bitching, Harlem, New York > The Time Someone Threw Underwear In My Face

The Time Someone Threw Underwear In My Face

September 27, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

Street Underwear

I lived the past three years in Harlem as a tiny, freakishly pale white girl. I’ve been compared to a translucent cave fish, and you can actually see my irises through my eyelids when they’re closed. When I was born, doctors thought something was seriously wrong with me since I was red. Bright red. As it turned out, you could simply see all my capillaries through my waxy skin, and I was “normal,” at least in a medical sense.

Anyway, weird shit always seemed to happen to me in Harlem, and to nobody else. I’ve lived with a variety of roommates, but nobody else ever got almost pissed on by a hobo. Or witnessed a woman clutching a fifth of whiskey and vomiting on the steps of the 125th St 4/5/6 stop at 8 am on a Tuesday. Or saw blood pooled on the platform of that same train station while cops swarmed around waving onlookers away. Or was proposed to in a liquor store while paying $3 for wine through a bullet-proof barrier. Or had french fries flung at her by a giggling businessman clutching a briefcase in the other hand. Or had a man creep up behind her on Lenox Ave in the middle of the afternoon and whisper, “I’m going to fuck your cunt.”

Maybe it’s just something about me as a person? Do I look approachable? Abusable? Who knows, but at least the stories have been mostly amusing.

One night, I was walking back to my apartment on Lenox Ave while carrying an electric guitar. My brother was moving to Las Vegas and wanted me to keep it for him, so I dragged it from Inwood for storage under my bed. It was around midnight, and suddenly a woman appeared at my shoulder, shoving underwear in my face.

“Bras and panties, $20, $20!”

She was selling sets of underwear out of a tattered backpack, and none of the underwear had any tags, or labels. I’m pretty sure I saw some stains. “No, thanks,” I muttered, and kept going.

She followed me for six more blocks, urging me to buy her mysterious underwear. “It’s really good quality, only $15!” Oo, she was trying to sweeten the deal. I kept shaking my head, but she was persistent. She finally gave up on the underwear and started asking for money.

“Come on, if you aren’t going to get the underwear, at least give me a few bucks.”

After dragging a heavy guitar and having underwear thrust under my nose, I was not in a charitable mood.  I said no and kept shuffling along.  But she wouldn’t give up, and I realized that a few dollars would be worth peace and quiet. I stopped and pulled some cash from my wallet, but as soon as the woman saw the money, she threw the panties in my face.

My face. Panties. Oh, god.

“You touched them, now you gotta buy them.”

Fed up, I flung the underwear right back at her, where they rested, dangling on her outstretched backpack. I hobbled off as fast as I could with the guitar, and the woman melted into the darkness, never to be seen again.

She will always be the Underwear Lady to me. I wonder where she is now? Still plying her wares? Throwing garters and corsets into another girl’s face?

The world may never know.

  1. October 3, 2011 at 8:13 pm

    Harlem sounds a little bit like Dakar on a bad day.

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