Monday, May 23, 2011

Girls Who Stand on Corners

Photo by Eugène Atget, 1940

It was around this time last year when an old French guy accused me of being a prostitute.

But let's back up.

I had taken yet another impulsive jaunt under the guise of professional necessity, but I can now admit, I was blatantly there to see a boy. While there, we decided to take a road trip to Normandy. We woke up early and strolled up his street on the Ile St. Louis.

Before hopping onto the bus, G dodged into a tabac and I lingered on the corner.
Okay, I supposed I might have leaned against the sign post on the corner, and it's possible my posture may have suggested that this was, in fact, my place of work. Suddenly, an old French man (long white beard, fisherman's cap, pipe in mouth, paper in hand) approached me, eyes sparkling with mischief. I waited to see what kind of Frenchism he was about to unleash on me.

"Back in my day," he laughed, "if a woman stood on the corner..."

I was on the verge of coming up with some incredibly zingy comeback, when G came out of the store and swooped me away.

"What was that?"

"Oh, just an old guy who thought I was a whore." Nothing new there.

Although, I was wearing a very demure navy and white striped mariner dress, and looked more like I was about to board a schooner than commit some lewd sexual act. But I suppose girls who stand on corners are inherently suspect, no matter how stripe-ily they're dressed. Lesson learned.


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