By Susan Winter
He stood proudly, mounting the window in his leopard colored G-sting. Today, my exhibitionist neighbor decided to express himself and alter my otherwise tranquil morning ritual.
Where do men get these types of outfits? It had frayed edges resembling a Tarzan loin cloth. Was it left over from a wild Halloween party? And why, today of all days, has he chosen to give this performance?
Taking a seat on my terrace to enjoy the outdoors has always been “me time.” Having access to a slice of nature comes at a high price in Manhattan. My 30-foot Juliette Terrace is one such small luxury. I’m able to enjoy a view of trees and skyline while sipping my morning coffee or taking a break from writing. I have the only terrace on the entire block.
It’s one thing to choose to pay for this type of entertainment. Should I care to see a man in a leopard G-string I’d rather pay at the door and have the ability to leave when I like. With an exhibitionist neighbor, this option isn’t included.
As an avid gym enthusiast, I’ve known my fair share of male strippers. They’re normally regular guys who have extraordinary physiques. They have day jobs, but choose to make extra cash at night entertaining women at bachelorette parties. I’ve gone to see a few of their male reviews. Some are top drawer, and others are downright pathetic.
Since Ann Lander’s is dead, whom do I consult? Call a girlfriend? Ask a guy? My mind starts racing as to my possible options. Exhibitionist’s get their thrill from creating upset, shock and fear. Should I just wave and give him a thumbs up? No, that might encourage further performances. Hold up a sign that says, “My thug boyfriend’s gonna neuter you!” Hmm. I turn my head and look at the crystal blue sky, determined to finish my coffee for the moment.
Even a professional relationship expert can find herself on new turf in this case. And some say it’s hard to meet people in NYC. Obviously, not.
In the mid–1980’s I went to look at a new condominium across the street from my apartment. The man selling his apartment had a huge collection of telescopes. When I asked about them, he told me about the couple across the street who were bodybuilders. He liked to watch them exercising. He said, “It’s an incredible feeling… to enter the lives of others.”
He went on to explain, “They do something where she’s on his back, going up and down. It’s highly erotic.”
I was that woman!! He’d been watching my pro bodybuilder boyfriend and myself doing our workout routines. The “erotic” exercise was seated calf raises. I’d hold a 100-pound weight while sitting on his back.
I said nothing. Amazingly, with all his high-tech equipment he failed to recognize my face as I stood directly next to him. I wasn’t going to additionally reward him for this “hobby” in buying his apartment. I left that day realizing there are neighbors I’ll never know who enjoy taking a covert glimpse into my life, and the lives of others.
Today, I have a new twist to that awareness. While living my private life assisting others in their emotional lives, I have a man who’s having his own emotional experience while viewing me in private.
Is this act a desperate need for human connection? For validation, power or recognition? It’s strangeness to me is that while it’s invasive, it’s also separate. All these questions are running through my mind. But it’s early. And right now, I’m just a woman who wants to sit on her terrace and enjoy my morning coffee.